Monday, February 13, 2012

Heart Health Month

Heart health month

February is American Heart Month (see here). Many of us set goals at the New Year to eat healthy and exercise more, but by now those resolutions may seem like a distant memory. February is a great month to recommit to heart health. The danger of not caring for the heart has deadly consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day.” Clearly, ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

What can you do to start caring for your heart? A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology gives us a clue to a simple yet effective first step in recommitting ourselves to caring for our hearts. In this article, researchers examined the work of past researchers targeting the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and its connection to heart health. Their summary of the results is rather remarkable. The minimum dose for effectiveness is 500 mg (EPA + DHA) and depending on the aspect of cardiovascular health you are targeting, can increase to as much as 3 grams. The benefits are as follows:


Time frame

Anti-arrhythmia (reduction in irregular heart-beats)


Lowering of triglycerides

Months – years

Lowering of heart rate

Months – years

Lowering of blood pressure

Months – years

Anti-thrombosis (reduction is blood clotting)


A key statement from the lead author of the review punctuates the power of omega-3 fatty acids: "This isn't just hype; we now have tremendous and compelling evidence from very large studies, some dating back 20 and 30 years, that demonstrate the protective benefits of omega-3 fish oil in multiple aspects of preventive cardiology," said Carl Lavie, M.D., F.A.C.C., Medical Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention, Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, LA, and lead author of the article. "The strongest evidence of a cardioprotective effect of omega-3s appears in patients with established cardiovascular disease and following a heart attack with up to a 30 percent reduction in CV-related death."

In addition to this evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that, “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary disease.”

To see more information from one of the original discoverers of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, Dr. Jorn Dyerberg, click here to watch his video.

The Basics

What are omega-3 fatty acids and where can I find them? Omega-3 fatty acids are unique because of their characteristic double-bond at the third carbon from the fatty end of the molecule. Omega-3 fatty acids, like docohexaicosanoic acid (DHA) or eicopentaenoic acid (EPA) are found in a variety of food sources, including fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna to name a few. Omega-3 fatty acids can also come from plant sources like chia. Plant sources are rich in alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) but not DHA or EPA. Research has shown our bodies do not readily convert ALA to DHA or EPA (<5% conversion). The overwhelming evidence demonstrating benefits comes from EPA and DHA.

The First Step

We should aim to regularly include more fish in our diet like mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon. However, regularly shopping for and cooking fish may not be everyone’s cup of tea (especially when the strong post-cooking fishy smell lingers). An even simpler first step to improving heart health is adding fish oil as daily nutritional supplement. But be careful; quality matters. Fish oil supplements are the number one product sold as a dietary supplement. Quality matters because fish oils have been known to be contaminated with high levels of toxic heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic. This is why we recommend Unicity’s OmegaLife-3. Our capsule form of pharmaceutical grade fish oil has been molecularly distilled to remove the heavy metal and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB’s) contaminants. With the Bios Life seal of approval, you can rest assured that OmegaLife-3 is safe and contains high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (800 mg and 400 mg, respectively) and can be recommended by nutritionists, doctors, and researchers.

With the overwhelming research connecting a healthy heart with fish oil, and the ease and availability of OmegaLife-3, your healthy heart resolution is one New Year’s resolution you can be sure to keep.

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