Fatty fish and camelina oil are beneficial for your HDL and IDL cholesterol

Eating fatty fish increases the size and lipid composition of HDL particles in people with impaired glucose metabolism, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. These changes in the size and lipid composition of HDL particles make them beneficial for cardiovascular health. Published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the study also found that camelina sativa oil decreases the number of harmful IDL particles.

The researchers studied the effects of camelina oil and fatty fish intake on the size and composition of cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins. The HDL lipoprotein is commonly known as “the good” cholesterol, although the health effects of HDL particles actually are dependent on their size and composition. Earlier research has shown that large HDL particles are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, whereas a small HDL particle size may increase the risk. The IDL lipoprotein, on the other hand, is the precursor of LDL, which is also known as “the bad” cholesterol. Previous studies have shown that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have a beneficial effect on lipoprotein size and composition. Camelina oil, on the other hand, is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid whose associations with lipoproteins aren’t well understood yet.

The study involved 79 Finnish men and women aged between 40 and 72, and with impaired glucose metabolism. Study participants were randomly divided into four groups for a 12-week intervention: the camelina oil group, the fatty fish group, the lean fish group, and the control group. People in the lean and fatty fish groups were instructed to eat lean or fatty fish four times a week, and people in the camelina oil group were asked to use 30 millilitres of camelina sativa oil daily. Participants in the control group were allowed to eat fish once a week, and the use of camelina oil and other oils containing alpha-linolenic acid, such as rapeseed oil, was prohibited.

The researchers found that eating fatty fish increased the size and lipid composition of HDL particles, and that the use of camelina oil decreased the number of harmful IDL particles. Both of these changes can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Eating lean fish, however, was not associated with changes in the number, size or composition of lipoprotein particles.

For further information, please contact:

Suvi Manninen, Doctoral Student, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, suvi.manninen(at)uef.fi

Research article: Suvi M. Manninen, Maria A. Lankinen, Vanessa D. de Mello, David E. Laaksonen, Ursula S. Schwab, Arja T. Erkkilä. Intake of fish alters the size and composition of HDL particles and camelina sativa oil decreases IDL particle concentration in subjects with impaired glucose metabolism. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, published online 12/04/2018, DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201701042.

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The University of Eastern Finland, UEF, is one of the largest universities in Finland. The activities of the UEF underscore multidisciplinarity, and the university is especially strong in research related to forests and the environment, health and well-being, and new technologies and materials. The UEF offers teaching in more than 100 major subjects. In addition to the high standard of teaching, the university offers its students a modern study environment, which is under constant development. The university comprises four faculties: the Philosophical Faculty, the Faculty of Science and Forestry, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. The university’s campuses are located in the heart of beautiful eastern Finland in Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna. The UEF is home to approximately 15 000 students and nearly 2 800 members of staff.

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