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Does Fish Oil Raise Your Cholesterol Levels?

[21 May 2009 | 6 Comments | 612 views | Author: Xtend Life]
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Question: from Jenny

Is it true that fish oil raises your LDL? Does your product do that?

Comment: from Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

No, not in the sense that it is of a concern! LDL measurements can be quite misleading as they are generally calculated as oppose to being directly measured. Also the tests do not take into account if the LDL is oxidised or not. It is the oxidised LDL that is the worry. Not all LDL is bad.

We sometimes have customers who contact us in a panic because their LDL has gone up…usually accompanied by a substantial reduction in triglycerides (which the Omega 3 helps) plus an increase in HDL. Any increase in LDL levels under these circumstances is nothing to be concerned about because of the way they are calculated.

Joanna gives a more detailed explanation below. And…Jenny the difference in the impact on LDL between different brands of oil would be negligible.

Answer: from Joanna (Medical Nutritionist for Xtend-Life)

This is not generally true, no. Good, pure quality, high DHA fish oil helps to significantly lower Triglyceride levels, and can also help to raise HDLs as part of a cholesterol balancing process. We recommend our Omega 3/DHAs in conjunction with our Cholest-Natural formula (when necessary, as well as our Total Balance formula) as a full and optimum protocol for cholesterol balancing.

However, there are circumstances where the LDL value may appear to increase. This may happen when calculations are based on NMR lipoprotein analysis, not conventional lipids (HDL, calculated LDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol). So if, say, a person has an excess of intermediate-density lipoprotein, or IDL, and very-low density lipoproteins, VLDL, fish oils can effectively clear IDL and VLDL, thus very helpful. But, sometimes it also causes a shift of some IDL and VLDL into the LDL class. Thus, the apparent increase in LDL.
Conventional LDL is a calculated value, not measured. The calculation for LDL is thrown off by any reduction/increase in HDL or rise/fall in triglycerides. So, if a rise in HDL from 48 to 54 occurs, for example, it means that calculated LDL will become more accurate and rise towards the true measured value. Calculated LDL is therefore approximating measured LDL more accurately as HDL rises.

So although it is a rare occurrence, if you did find that LDLs were rising significantly on fish oil intake and you haven’t had lipoproteins formally measured, there may have been a substantial postprandial (after eating) abnormality like IDL that was unrecognized.

Omega 3 / DHAs are highly recommended because of all of the above benefits in cholesterol balancing and in overall health, so this occurrence should be recognised for what it is, a difference in calculation, rather than detrimental to health.

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