This month, we feature a series of articles on heart health to observe American Heart Month, a health observance sponsored by The American Heart Association.
For American Heart Month 2018, Million Hearts® is calling on younger Americans to spread prevention messages. We believe young adults have the power to engage their parents in crucial conversations about heart disease prevention that can result in heart-healthy behavior changes.
An important aspect to this goal is to change the perception that heart disease is a “man’s disease”. Beginning with National Wear Red Day®—Friday, February 2, 2018 —millions will help spread the critical message that “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear—It’s the #1 Killer of Women.®” The Red Dress®, the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness, was created by The Heart Truth® in 2002 to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women.
Because cardiovascular disease is largely preventable, understanding the role that diet and lifestyle plays is particularly beneficial. In particular, Omega-3 fats, the kind found in certain types of fish, have garnered significant attention in recent years due to their role in supporting cardiovascular health and function. Given their importance, it makes sense to better understand the role of Omega-3s and their association with heart health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Naturally Healing the Body & Mind
Omega-3 fatty acids are more than just good for you – they’re critical to your health and well-being. While omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for healthy heart function, their benefits reach much farther than just the heart. In fact, research over the past three decades indicates that omega-3 fatty acids dramatically reduce inflammation and are significant factors in the prevention of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, depression, and even cancer.
How Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Work?
The two major types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are absorbed in cell membranes. EPA reduces blood clotting and decreases tissue inflammation, and DHA increases the reception of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Together, the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA team-up to improve the heart’s blood pressure, electrical activity, and vascular tone, as well as enhance eye-hand coordination, sustained attention, vision, and mood.
Our body can manufacture these compounds but the process is not very efficient. The modern diet, which emphasizes Omega-6 fatty acids, also hampers this process. So, these important fats need to be consumed either by eating fish such as tuna, halibut, mackerel, trout, salmon, sardines, oysters, and herring, or by ingesting fish oil supplements that contain these two omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fish or Supplements?
According to the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, with regards to toxic impurities, taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements are safer and therefore preferable to consuming fish. Why? Because fish contain high levels of mercury, pesticides, and other chemicals—all of which may counteract the otherwise positive results of eating fish.
As Consumer Labs has pointed out, the vast majority of fish oil supplements are toxin-free, while still providing the same high level of prevention against heart disease and many other maladies. Besides, from a practical standpoint, not everyone likes fish and omega-3 fatty acids supplements are easy to take in just a few seconds on a daily basis.
The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The evidence on omega-3 fatty acids is in and, needless to say, it’s staggering. From the heart to the brain, omega-3 fatty acids are proven to be effective in keeping healthy people healthy, as well as reducing incidences of people afflicted with heart disease and many other serious medical conditions. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include:
– Preventing heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, asthma, psoriasis, clinical depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
– Lowering cholesterol and decreasing abnormal heart rhythms Indeed, the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are being discovered every day. For example, the Journal of the American Medical Association recently agreed that even a small increase in omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of coronary death by 36 percent.
Get Your Omega-3 Fatty Acids from a Safe and Trusted Source
The best alternative to getting your omega-3 fatty acids from fish is from a premium provider such as VitaMedica. VitaMedica’s Super EPA/DHA Fish Oil delivers one of highest levels of EPA and DHA currently available in a fish oil supplement.
– Provides 750 mg of pharmaceutical-grade Omega-3 fats per capsule
– Perfectly formulated with an optimal 500/250 ratio of EPA/DHA
– Ultra-refined and molecularly distilled to eliminate contaminants and ensure no after-taste
– Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, VitaMedica’s Super EPA/DHA fish oil includes natural vitamin E to protect the oil from oxidation
– Each 1 gram softgel capsule does not require refrigeration.
Last updated February 2, 2018
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.