How effective are omega-3 supplements?

How effective are omega-3 supplements?

BioCertica Content Team

Written by: Jonine Möller, M.Sc. in Sport Science

Omega-3 fatty acids have been widely researched and studied for their potential health benefits, including reducing triglyceride levels. However, the question remains, do genes play a role in determining how effective omega-3 supplementation is for lowering triglycerides? The answer is yes; genes can play a role.

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the bloodstream and stored in fat cells. High levels of triglycerides can increase the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been shown to reduce triglyceride levels. However, the effect of omega-3 supplementation on triglyceride levels may vary between individuals due to genetic differences.

Genes involved in lipid metabolism, such as the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene, can impact the effectiveness of omega-3 supplementation for reducing triglycerides. The FADS gene influences the conversion of short-chain fatty acids to long-chain fatty acids, including EPA and DHA. Individuals with a certain variant of the FADS gene may be less efficient at converting short-chain fatty acids to EPA and DHA and, thus, may not experience the same reduction in triglyceride levels with omega-3 supplementation compared to those without the variant.

Additionally, genes involved in inflammation can also impact the effectiveness of omega-3 supplementation for reducing triglycerides. Inflammation contributes to high triglyceride levels, and individuals with certain variants may be more susceptible to inflammation. Omega-3 supplementation may not be as effective for reducing triglyceride levels in these individuals compared to those without the variant.

The same is true for insulin sensitivity. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may also affect insulin sensitivity. Genes can influence whether omega-3 supplementation has insulin-sensitizing or desensitizing effects. 

In conclusion, genes largely determine whether supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids will benefit your health or not.  It is important for individuals to understand their genetic background and how it may impact their response to omega-3 supplementation for reducing triglyceride levels. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice on omega-3 supplementation.


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