One of the many detrimental effects of smoking is the harm it does to the arteries. When smoke enters the lungs, many of its harmful compounds enter the bloodstream damaging the arteries and leading to a condition known as endothelial dysfunction (dysfunction of the endothelium, or the artery lining). This is the main way smoking leads to poor heart health, since endothelial dysfunction is how heart disease, and even high blood pressure, begins.

Despite the negative effects of smoking, many people still smoke. You likely know a few people who do, and you may even smoke yourself. If so, you can at least take some solace in knowing that omega-3s may help protect the arteries from the damage of smoking. A recent study published in the International Journal of Cardiology found that people who had taken 2 grams of omega-3 fish oil daily for 12 weeks had improved endothelial function after smoking than those who took placebo.

“These findings suggest that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids inhibit the detrimental effects of smoking on vascular endothelium,” stated the researchers. “The cardio-protective effects of omega-3 PUFAs appear to be due not through a single mode of action, but to a synergism between multiple, intricate mechanisms involving anti-inflammatory and anti-atherosclerotic effects.”

So if you smoke, please take omega-3 fish oil. If you know someone who smokes, tell them about this study. And then tell them about this study. And then think of a really good reason for quitting and go for it!