28 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Cod Liver Oil and Heart Disease

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Westernized countries, and many medical professionals are warning people to change their dietary choices because the common foods that are eaten can contribute to a person’s risk of heart disease. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, heart disease accounts for 26% of the deaths that occur in the United States.

Diet and Heart Disease

The reason that heart disease is such a concern for developed countries is because of the fact that the modern diet doesn’t provide the nutrients that beneficial for preventing heart disease. Common foods that are eaten in the standard American diet include things like meat, processed foods, junk foods, and fast food. All of these foods contain saturated fats that lead to higher levels of cholesterol. Additionally, it has been found that saturated fats may cause inflammation to increase within the body, and increased levels of inflammation may actually damage the heart and blood vessels.

On the other hand, there are food-based sources of nutrients in products like fermented cod liver oil that may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. We often hear that fish should be eaten twice a week for a healthy heart, but most people don’t follow this advice for one reason or another. Sometimes it can be too much work or too expensive to prepare and cook fish each week, and other people simply don’t like the taste of fish.

The truth is that there is so much evidence linked to the fact that diet plays a major role in the prevention of heart disease, which means that each person should be taking a proactive approach to decrease the saturated fats and increase healthy fats that include omega-3 essential fatty acids. Fermented cod liver oil supplements are the easiest, and one of the most effective ways, to include omega-3′s into your daily habits.

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and Heart Disease

When a person is getting enough omega-3′s in their diet, there are several reactions that occur which help to reduce the risk of heart disease. It has been found that omega-3′s effectively reduce the inflammation that may contribute to heart disease. Omega-3 essential fatty acids also improve cholesterol by improving triglycerides. Other heart benefits of omega-3′s are lower blood pressure and reduced blood clotting in the vessels.

Vitamin A: Antioxidants to Prevent Heart Disease

One benefit to taking fermented cod liver oil supplements is the fact that they contain high levels of food-based vitamin A. There are many supplements that have vitamin A in them, but many of the grocery store and drug store supplements actually have synthetic types of vitamin A. If you are looking for the health benefits of vitamin A, then synthetic forms should be avoided because they do not provide the health benefits that are available in food-based sources of vitamin A. Additionally, synthetic vitamin A may actually cause toxicity, because it accumulates in the body.

There are several reasons why vitamin A may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. First of all, it is an antioxidant, which helps to protect the body on a cellular level. Free radicals are present in every person, and those free radicals can damage cells and lead to things such as heart disease and cancer. The only way to get rid of the free radicals is by consuming antioxidants on a regular basis. When antioxidants are present, they seek out the free radicals and destroy them before they can cause more damage within the body. Antioxidants can even work to reverse the damage that has already occurred as a result of free radicals.

One type of cellular damage that may occur as a result of free radicals is that the artery walls may begin to build up fatty plaque because of the cholesterol levels in the blood. When there are higher levels of free radicals, it can cause an increase in “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDL) which can slow down the flow of blood to the heart. When high levels of cholesterol are left untreated, the plaque build-up in the arteries can even block the blood flow to the heart.

So, in order to prevent the cellular damage and prevent high levels of bad cholesterol, it is necessary to be sure that you are getting a sufficient amount of antioxidants, such as the vitamin A that can be found in fermented cod liver oil.

Vitamin D and Heart Disease

Studies suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be a factor in an increased risk of heart disease. Researchers are still working to discover more details about the connection between vitamin D and heart disease, but preliminary reports are showing that increasing vitamin D consumption may be an effective way to reduce heart disease risk.

Most people are deficient in vitamin D, because they stay indoors for most of the day. Vitamin D can be synthesized by the body when the skin comes into contact with direct sunlight, or it can also be gained through a few food-based sources of vitamin D. Because many people in our modern world don’t get the sun exposure that is needed for vitamin D synthesis, it is important that natural vitamin D is gained through food sources such as fermented cod liver oil

Synthetic vs. Natural Nutrients

Fermented cod liver oil is an excellent source of naturally occurring vitamins, and when you are consuming a brand that was produced through a fermentation process you don’t have to worry about the toxicity that may result from taking synthetic forms of vitamins. When a person is taking synthetic vitamins, they do not receive the potential health benefits of the natural form of the vitamin, and larger amounts of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D may actually cause toxicity within the body because the body begins to store the synthetic compounds.

The best way to reduce your risk of heart disease is by taking fermented cod liver oil on a daily basis, because it will provide you with food-based sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids as well as the vitamins A and D.

Fish vs. Cod Liver Oil

One of the main benefits of using fermented cod liver oil is the fact that it provides the essential fatty acids and other health-boosting nutrients without the higher levels of heavy metals and other contaminants that may be present when fish is eaten. Many people are concerned about the mercury levels in fish, and using a high quality brand of cod liver oil can help you to avoid those contaminants because the company tests for the contaminants before the oil is sold.

Resources:

Heart Disease Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Omega-3 in Fish: How eating fish helps your heart, MayoClinic.com

Antioxidants, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, and cardiovascular disease, Cleveland Clinic

Cod Liver Oil: The Number One Superfood, Weston A. Price Foundation

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