There is now strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce triglyceride levels in the blood.
Triglycerides are a type of lipid or fat and are an important measure of overall heart health. Triglycerides are used to store excess calories in the body which are not needed for current energy demands.
When triglycerides build up in the blood, they can start to thicken the walls of blood vessels leading to an increased cardiovascular risk.
EPA and DHA forms of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce triglyceride levels depending on the initial triglyceride level and dose of omega-3 fatty acid. Those with higher triglycerides seem to respond more to treatment compared to those with slightly elevated or normal triglyceride levels.
It is important to take an adequate dose of omega-3 fatty acids when looking to decrease triglyceride levels. There seems to be a dose-response relationship between these fatty acids and triglyceride levels. Meaning, the higher the dose, the larger the impact. For example, a dose under 1g of omega-3 fatty acids can decrease triglycerides levels approximately 4%, whereas a dose of 4 g can decrease levels by over 30%.
Reduction in triglyceride levels should begin in less than 4 weeks but continue to decline for approximately 12 weeks. Continued supplementation is needed to maintain lower levels.