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Eating Fat for a Healthy Heart

February is American Heart Health month and our focus over the coming weeks will be on how you can care for your cardiovascular system. Your heart is a very important system to overall health—second only to your brain and nervous system. To reach optimum health it is necessary that the heart be functioning properly to deliver nutrients and oxygen to all the tissues of your body. This week’s topic is the relationship between heart health and the presence of omega-3 fats: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The best and easiest source of these types of fats is wild fish. In order to reach optimum levels most people must supplement with a fish oil supplement—you should have at least 1500-2000 mg of EPA/DHA per day!

Your omega-3 index (the % of your cell membranes made from omega-3) is inversely associated with the risk for dying of chronic heart disease. It was found that if at least 8% of your cell membranes are made of omega-3’s, it provides strong cardioprotection, whereas an index of less than 4% had very low cardioprotection. As the amount of omega-3s in your cell membranes goes up, your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease goes down.


           Lower risk of fatal cardiac events

           Reduced triglyceride levels

           Increased HDLs (“good” cholesterol)

           Reduced inflammatory biomarkers

DHA alone

           Lower risk of atrial fibrillation

EPA alone

           Lower risk of nonfatal coronary events

If you are not supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, it is never too late to start. If you are wondering if you get enough from your current diet or supplementation, then we recommend taking our Brainspan test. We are offering this kit at a discount through the month of February.Based upon current evidence, increasing consumption (preferably of both EPA and DHA) would be advantageous for a variety of reasons. They lower risk of many cardiac conditions from arrhythmias to chronic heart disease, improve the traditional lipid/cholesterol panel, and lower systemic inflammation. Omega-3’s additional effect on inflammation is not only good for the cardiovascular system, but also for those that suffer from many kinds of chronic pain as well.

Eicosapentaenoic Acid Versus Docosahexaenoic Acid as Options for Vascular Risk Prevention. American Journal of Therapeutics. May/June 2016.

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