What if your doctor tells you to lower your cholesterol, what are you going to do? Most people will take the prescription for a statin and go on their way to the pharmacy. They won't think twice about it - until they begin to lose muscle strength.
If you're not one of those people, then what natural treatment will you use? Many will turn to fish oil. But a new study suggests that might not bring the result they're looking for. The good news - another oil, which you may not know about, could be a better choice.
In the study, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland compared the cholesterol-lowering abilities of fatty fish and lean fish to camelina oil in prediabetics. Camelina oil is an edible oil that comes from the seeds of Camelina Sativa - also known as false flax. That's because it's similar to flax seed in its structure and health benefits. That means it's rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid.
To find out how effective the fish and camelina oil were on cholesterol levels, the researchers found 79 Finnish men and women who had impaired fasting glucose concentrations (a marker for prediabetes). All of the participants were between the ages of 40 and 72. The researchers divided the participants into four groups. They instructed one group to eat fatty fish four times per week. The second group was to eat lean fish four times per week. And the third group took 30 ml of camelina oil every day. The fourth group served as the control and ate fish only once per week if they wanted to, but not to take any fish oil or camelina oil.
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After 12 weeks, the researchers measured the cholesterol levels of all four groups. They found that those taking the camelina oil were the only ones who experienced any positive effect on their blood cholesterol levels. The fish groups didn't see any change in their cholesterol levels.
While fish oil is effective at reducing inflammation and can increase HDL cholesterol, there's no evidence that it lowers cholesterol for anybody, whether they're prediabetic or not. This study confirms what other studies have found about fish and cholesterol. This study also confirmed that certain vegetables oil, including camelina oil, flax oil, and others can reduce high cholesterol levels.
Camelina oil is one of the better cooking oils, as it has a higher smoke point than flax oil. But finding a good camelina oil supplement is hard. That's why I recommend sticking with flax oil for supplements. It's less expensive and is virtually identical to camelina in its health benefits. You can find flax oil in Advanced EFA Formula, which also has other healthful vegetables oils. These include evening primrose oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, pumpkin oil, and extra virgin coconut oil. All of them are organic and non-GMO. If you have any cardiovascular disease, or want to avoid it, these parent essential oils can be far superior to fish oil at protecting your heart.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.