Heart disease is the number one killer in America. When you think of heart disease, you might automatically think of high cholesterol. But did you know that about 50% of the people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol? Cholesterol is just one risk factor. There are other markers that might be just as important, and maybe even more important, as total cholesterol. One of them is your Omega 3 essential fatty acid index. A marker of the relative amount of Omega 3 fats in your cell membranes. It’s estimated that you can lower your risk of having a heart attack by 30-50% by raising your omega 3 index to the optimal range.
There are two omega 3 essential fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). They’re called “essential” for a reason. It means that your body needs them, but can’t make them. To get EPA and DHA, you have to eat foods that are sources of omega 3 oils like salmon and herring. You might take a moment to think about how often you eat fish. I talk to a lot of people who don’t like fish. It’s pretty hard to get those omega 3’s your body needs if you don’t eat fish.
The Omega 3 essential fatty acids are critical for brain, mood, cardiovascular, and joint health. They contribute to immune function and are anti-inflammatory. Sadly, the typical American is deficient in Omega 3’s. That deficiency likely contributes to our high levels of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, mood disorders, and joint pain. But you can do something about it, reduce your risk, and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
I’ve told you about the simple test that’s available for vitamin D. Well, the lab that’s doing the D3 test is also doing an Omega 3 index that’s just as simple and accurate. It only requires a finger prick and one drop of blood. Given how important it is, there’s no reason to not do it. It’s so important, I highly recommend that everyone test their omega three index. You don’t know where you stand if you don’t do the test. Ask your health care provider to test your omega 3 index. If they don’t, or won’t do the test, I’d be happy to help you get set up.
I recently ran my own Omega 3 index test. I’m pleased to say that it came back in a very good range. I like salmon. Although I don’t eat it as often as I should. So I routinely take 4-8 high quality Omega 3 capsules a day. It’s estimated that you have to eat fatty fish like salmon and herring almost daily to have optimal levels of Omega 3 through diet alone. Most of us need to supplement to have the omega three levels that are cardio protective.
I mentioned “high quality” when I talked about supplementing with an omega three product. You might wonder what that means. The two most important considerations are purity and quality. Quality means you’re getting a product that contains what the label says it contains. Purity means you’re not getting contaminants. You want a product that is regularly tested for quality and purity. In my practice, I use nutritional products from a local company, Nutri Dyn. I highly recommend their omega three products. Another brand that I like is Nordic Naturals. Either is a good choice for purity and quality.
Do yourself a favor. Get your omega 3 index tested. Then, if needed, alter your lifestyle to maximize your omega 3 status and improve your health.