I always like it because it gets beyond the hype that we all hear when a pharmaceutical rep comes to the office to educate us on their wares. This is one newsletter that does not even allow pharmaceutical company support, and they will often tell you what is wrong with the info we get from reps.
That said, the July issue of Prescriber’s Letter starts with some information on fish oil supplements.
It seems that mainstream medicine is finally taking Omega-3 fatty acids more seriously than before. (Western, mainstream medicine is slow and conservative!).
Here are some facts and recommendations:
- Eating fish at least once a week cuts sudden cardiac death by half (American heart association)
- Recommendations include 1 gram per day of fish oils from diet or supplements for those who already have heart disease. It seems to decrease risk for further events by 15%
- If you have high triglycerides, higher does (2-4 gram/day) of fish oils can lower those levels by up to 45%!
- Which fish is good? Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, herring, etc.
- If you don’t eat fish or enough fish, find a good fish oil supplement. Look for USP-verified seal on supplements.
- Consider the toxicity of the fish, an artificial coloring (farm raised salmon are apparently being colored), etc. Some fish oil supplements may have less contaminates it is still something to consider.
Of course the pharmaceutical companies will be coming out with prescription medication that will contain omega 3s. However, if you can get your levels down with fish oil supplements, fiber, and proper eating¦you are ahead of the game.
Fish oils also seem to have antiplatelet and anti-inflammatory properties and a mild blood pressure lowering effect – all good things.
Be aware that flaxseed and some nuts which also contain omega-3s, alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), but it seems to be different that one ones found in fish.
Alpha-linolenic acid may also help decrease heart disease and arthrosclerosis (gunky vessels) but does not seem to affect triglycerides.
In order to boost levels of ALA try eating a handful of walnuts, almonds or pecans daily. If you’d rather, have 1-2 tablespoons/day of ground flaxseed or ½ to 1 teaspoon/day of flaxseed oil.
I personally use ground flaxseed on lots of things. I sprinkle it on oatmeal or other cereals, fruit salads, yogurt and cottage cheese dishes I make with fruit, etc. I even throw some in the blender when making up smoothies.
Another side note. When you are looking for supplements, make sure you are getting more Omega-3s. Many products have both O-3s and O-6s. You need only a few 6s. You want the O-3s. And, remember not all products are equal, and if you purchase a 90 day supply for $5.00 you probably paid for nothing.
Here you have it, another tool for you to use to decrease your risk of heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in women. You’re already quit smoking and are exercising – right?
Barbara C. Phillips, MN, NP