Vitamins: Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Cardiovascular Health
Omega-3 supplements (fish oils) are designed to help maintain a healthy heart. No nutritional program is complete without a
high-quality source of beneficial omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are lacking in the typical Western
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the biosynthetic precursors of a family of compounds called eicosanoids
(prostaglandins, thromboxins, and leucotriens). These compounds are hormone-like substances that help retain
normal health processes in our bodies. It is important to maintain an appropriate balance of omega-3 and
omega-6 in the diet as these two substances work together to promote health.2 Yet despite the clear health
benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids, dietary surveys indicate that most of us do not obtain enough
omega-3 fatty acids from our diets.3*
American Heart Association findings
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is
not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
In 2002, the American Heart Association issued new guidance on fish and fish oil consumption,4 because
results of large-scale epidemiological studies and randomized controlled studies showed that omega-3
fatty acids in fish oil support cardiovascular health. In addition to the heart health benefits, studies have
shown omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of fish oil supplements, to be effective in supporting healthy
joints,5,6 promoting optimal neural development and function, and maintaining good bone health.7-9 Finally,
DHA is also an important structural component of the retina and is, therefore, essential for eye development
Early Childhood Development
It is important that women of childbearing age who are pregnant or may become pregnant get proper nutrition
to ensure the best possible development for their baby, including getting sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty
acids. DHA is one of the dominant fats in the nerve cells of fetal and infant brains, and research is beginning
to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids are critical to the development of the brain before birth and during
early childhood.11 Most commercially prepared infant formulas are now fortified with DHA to support health
and nervous system development.12*
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acid supplements are available in both capsule and liquid form.
1. Bourre JM. Biomed Pharmacother 2007;61(2-3):105–12.
2. Benatti P, et al. J Am Coll Nutr 2004;23(4):281–302.
3. Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71(1 Suppl):179S–88S.
4. Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Circulation 2002;106:2747–2757.
5. Volker D, et al. J Rheumatol 2000;27(10):2343–6.
6. Curtis CL, et al. Proc Nutr Soc 2002;61(3):381–9.
7. Uauy R, et al. Lipids. 2001;36(9):885–95.
8. Hogstrom M, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(3)803–7.
9. Weiss LA, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(4):934–8.
10. Stordy JB. The Lancet 1995;346(8971):385.
11. Helland IB, et al. Pediatrics 2003;111(1):e39–44.
12. Salem, Jr, N, et al. Wrld Rev of Nut and Diet 1994;75:46–51.
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