How to Improve Artery Function the Natural Way
Dr. Michael Greger
Nov 9, 2018

Hint: Eating fish isn’t the solution.

Endothelial dysfunction is the initial step in the development of peripheral artery disease, heart disease, and stroke. As I discuss in my video Plant-Based Diets and Artery Function, the remarkable finding is that progressive endothelial dysfunction—the decline in the functioning of our arteries—is not an inevitable consequence of aging. We can retain the arterial function we had in our 20s into our 60s, like the elderly Chinese in my video Tea and Artery Function. This may be due in part to green tea intake, but “[o]ther important dietary differences relating to increased consumption of vegetables and fish, with lower consumption of [other meat and dairy] in the traditional Chinese diet, may be contributing to the protection observed in older Chinese arteries.”

It’s probably not the fish. Pooling all the best double-blind, placebo-controlled studies found that fish oil supplementation has no significant effect on endothelial function. In by far the largest study done to date, a comparison of doses of fish oil equivalent to one, two, or four servings of fish per week found no effects of these long-chain omega-3 fats. This is consistent with studies that have looked at whole fish consumption as well.

Overall, there was no significant association between fish intake and endothelial function. In fact, in women, those eating the most fish had the worst arterial function. Women who ate fish more than twice a week had significantly impaired endothelial function compared to those who never or only rarely ate fish.

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