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Study: Does Omega 3 Protect Against Thrombosis?

Omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce the risk of developing venous thromboembolism (closure of a blood vessel). This was the result of the 16-year Tromsø study. With thromboembolism, a thrombosis develops into an embolism.

Omega-3 fatty acids for vein health

Our veins work hard every day. Finally, the blood has to be pumped back to the heart against gravity. We often only realize how important a healthy vascular system is when vein problems occur.

If the veins and venous valves are weakened, the blood can no longer be completely returned. There is a weakness in the veins.

A health-threatening event in the context of venous insufficiency is thromboembolism. The blood platelets clump together as a result of blood congestion in the veins. A blood clot forms break free, floats with the bloodstream, and eventually clogs the first vein, which is too narrow for the clot to pass through.

However, to ensure that the veins remain elastic and efficient, the body can be supported in its natural ability to regenerate, e.g. B. through a comprehensive supply of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an important building block of every single body cell and are therefore urgently needed for their maintenance.

If the body is not provided with enough omega-3 fatty acids, it can damage the inner blood vessel walls and, as a result, lead to thrombosis in the long term.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of thrombosis

A Norwegian study (Tromsø study) published in the Journal of Nutrition in June 2014 showed that participants with a high fish consumption of 3 servings per week had a 22 percent lower risk of developing venous thromboembolism than a participant with a fish consumption of only 1 – 1.9 portions per week.

According to the scientists at the University of Tromsø, those who consumed omega-3 fatty acids in the form of dietary supplements in addition to their fish consumption could even reduce their risk of thrombosis by 48 percent.

Omega-3 fatty acids as blood thinners?

In fact, omega-3s are sometimes considered to be naturopathic “blood thinners,” and it’s recommended that you simply ingest 2-3 tablespoons of flaxseed oil (which is also rich in omega-3s). However, other studies have not found any effect in this regard.

For example, a 2020 study showed that flaxseed oil (25ml daily) had no effect on blood clotting compared to sunflower oil after 7 weeks of intake; only one inflammation value could be improved.

Linseed oil contains short-chain omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid). What about the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), which are particularly found in fish and algae oils?

In a 2015 study, these fatty acids helped thin blood at least in healthy participants, but not in participants who already had cardiovascular disease. They had all taken 1 capsule of 320 mg long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (260 mg DHA and 60 mg EPA) twice a day for four weeks – a total of 640 mg a day. This reduced the amount of circulating thrombin in healthy participants and increased fibrinolysis at the same time.

Thrombin is an enzyme that initiates the formation of fibrin from its precursor, fibrinogen. Fibrin is the glue that joins platelets to form blood clots.

Of course, you should always be well supplied with omega-3 fatty acids. However, do not expect miracles in terms of thrombosis protection from omega-3 fatty acids alone.

A healthy diet and lifestyle help with thrombosis

Of course, just taking omega-3 fatty acids is not enough to keep blood vessels healthy all around. In many cases, sedentary everyday life, obesity, or hormonal influences are triggers for venous diseases and thrombosis.

So get active in this regard in good time and ensure regular exercise (walks, sports, trampoline, etc.).

In addition, a base excess diet helps to prevent venous thrombosis from developing. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates, and drink water or herbal teas.

This natural, healthy diet rich in vital substances and fiber harmonizes digestion and helps to prevent constipation. Straining hard because of hard bowel movements can increase the pressure in the leg veins and gradually lead to the formation of varicose veins.

Foodstuffs such as fast food, ready meals, frozen foods, sweets, lemonades, coffee, or alcohol have a strong acid-forming effect, in contrast to healthy alkaline-forming substances. These acids are deposited in the connective tissue and reduce blood flow there. This means that the support function of the connective tissue for the veins is steadily deteriorating and their work is increasingly hampered.

Excessive amounts of saturated fatty acids from sausages and meat, but also from fried foods, also lead to increased blood fats, which make the blood thicker and more viscous and impair venous circulation in this way.

In addition to an alkaline diet, the exercise above all maintains your vein health. The rule of thumb here is: walking and lying down is better than sitting and standing.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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