Fish Oil to Increase HDL
Using fish oil to increase HDL levels has not been proven effective. However, two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease triglyceride levels. Lifestyle changes (such as losing weight or quitting smoking) are better places to start rather than taking fish oil to increase HDL.
Fish oil comes from the tissues of fatty fish, such as:
- Lake trout
Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids -- eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA and DHA). These omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have several health benefits, including:
- Decreasing the risk of arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms), which can lead to sudden death
- Decreasing triglyceride levels
- Decreasing blood clots
- Decreasing atherosclerosis
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improving the health of arteries.
Because of these benefits, foods with omega-3 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as fish oil supplements, can have labels that state their ability to reduce heart disease and the risk of sudden death.
Despite all of the benefits of fish oil, one thing that fish oil does not do is increase HDL (good cholesterol). It also does not appear to lower LDL (bad cholesterol). Other natural ways of raising HDL include:
- Losing weight (if you are overweight)
- Quitting smoking, if you smoke
- Drinking alcohol in moderation.