A combination of fish-oil supplements and exercise may help improve cardiovascular health in overweight people, an Australian study suggests.

The Study

The study included 75 overweight men and women, ages 25 to 65, who had at least one of the following cardiovascular risk factors-mild hypertension, elevated total cholesterol and elevated plasma triacylglycerols.

The volunteers were divided into groups that received either six grams fish oil (including 260 milligrams docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 60 milligrams eicosapentaenoic acid (EPAD; six grams fish oil per day and an exercise regimen of 45 minutes of running or walking three times weekly, six grams sunflower oil (placebo/day, or six grams sunflower oil/day and the exercise regimen.


The study found that the use of fish oil resulted in a larger decrease in plasma triglycerides, a larger increase in plasma HDL ("good") cholesterol and greater improvement in opening of the blood vessels) than the sunflower oil. Exercise improved small artery flexibility, and the combination of both exercise and fish oil reduced fat mass.

The study confirms the findings of previous research: exercise and fish oil benefit cardiovascular health. The study authors suggested that fish oil could be a useful adjunct to exercise programs designed to improve body composition.

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