The Little-Known Lab Test That Measures Heart Health
Have you heard of omega-3 fatty acids and how they help with heart health?
There are two main omega-3 fatty acids:
1. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
2. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
Omega-3s are incredibly beneficial for heart health.
But how do you know if you’re getting enough?
There’s a little-known lab test called the Omega-3 Index. One of the studies that inspired the creation of the Omega-3 Index was based on blood collected from patients who experienced a sudden cardiac arrest.
When comparing the omega-3 levels of cardiac arrest patients to those without heart attacks, they found those whose levels were highest were 90% LESS LIKELY TO BE A CARDIAC ARREST CASE!
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!?? 90% less likely for cardiac arrest!!?
Our nutritional expert Dr. Bruce Daggy considers the Omega-3 Index a very important measurement tool when it comes to heart disease and many other conditions. Although not part of the usual diagnostic routine, this index is a result of 30 years of research.
The omega-3 index is a measure of the percentage of EPA and DHA combined in the membranes of your red blood cells. Red blood cells have different types of fatty acids – omega 6, omega 9, and omega 3s are the main ones. We get a lot of omega-6 in our diet from corn oil and sunflower oil as they are in a lot of processed food and restaurant food we eat.
So this is a measure that you can control with simple adjustments in your diet. If you don’t get a good result, you can either increase your intake of EPA and DHA or decrease your intake of omega-6, to improve your omega-3 index.
One study categorized the participants by their baseline omega-3 index and followed to see if they developed coronary disease. Participants who had an average omega-3 index of 4% or less were at the highest risk of cardiovascular disease.
Those who were between 4% and 8% were at intermediate risk, but 40% lower risk than the people who had a low omega-3 index. The participants with an omega-3 index above 8% are the least likely to develop coronary disease.
If you’re concerned about getting enough omega-3s, some might say that simply eating more fatty fish is the answer. But the purity and safety of seafood can be an issue. And for many, getting 2 to 3 servings of fresh fish or shellfish per week is nearly impossible.
You can increase your omega-3s by taking supplements from a trusted brand to ensure that the fish oil goes through a rigorous purification process so you can trust it to be safe from toxins like mercury, PCBs, and other dangerous chemicals.
If you want an omega-3 index done, you can ask your doctor to have the test performed. There are even home kits that you can buy which require a pinprick to take a small blood sample.
Dr. Daggy goes into this in detail in his 3 Phases of Heart Health webcast.
To learn more about the Omega-3 supplement that we recommend, see our Wellness Center.
For more information, or answers to your questions, contact me at Jerry@fit4lifellc.com.