My patients commonly ask me whether they should try one supplement or another. Often my answer is equivocal, because for most supplements we just don’t have enough evidence to give a definite answer. This doesn’t mean that a particular patient couldn’t benefit from a specific supplement; it just means I don’t have standardized research to guide my recommendations. Sadly, this remains true of omega-3 fatty acid supplements. The results of studies looking at omega-3 supplements have been inconsistent, and have left both physicians and patients wondering what to do, according to Alyson Kelley-Hedgepeth, MD.
Omega-3 fatty acids show benefit in REDUCE-IT trial and win FDA approval
Two main omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found mainly in fish and fish oil. Omega-3s from fish and fish oil have been recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) for the past 20 years to reduce cardiovascular events, like heart attack or stroke, in people who already have cardiovascular disease (CVD). I have written about and been a strong advocate of getting omega-3s through diet, and sometimes through the use of supplements.
People who received omega-3 fish oil supplements in randomized clinical trials had lower risks of heart attack and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) events compared with those who were given placebo, according to a new meta-analysis from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Researchers found an association between daily omega-3 supplementation and reduced risk of most CVD outcomes, including heart attack, death from coronary heart disease, and death from CVD, but did not see benefit for stroke. In addition, higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements appeared to provide even greater risk reduction.
The study was published online September 30, 2019 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“This meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence regarding the effects of omega-3 supplementation on risk of multiple CVD outcomes. We found significant protective effects of daily omega-3 supplementation against most CVD outcome risks and the associations appeared to be in a dose-response manner,” said first author Yang Hu, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School. Continue reading →
Increasing the amount of omega-3s in your diet, whether from fish or flax, will likely decrease your risk of getting heart disease, according to Penn State nutritionists.
A substantial amount of evidence exists supporting the heart-health benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA), marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids. However, much less evidence exists to demonstrate the positive effects of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid.
“The benefits reported for EPA and DHA are stronger because supplements of EPA and DHA were tested, and EPA and DHA was the only difference between the treatment and control groups,” said Jennifer Fleming, instructor and clinical research coordinator in nutritional sciences. “In contrast, in the ALA studies, there were diet differences beyond ALA between the treatment and control groups.”
EPA and DHA can be found in seafood and fish oil, and are often consumed in the form of dietary supplements…
The Strawberry Moon coincides with Friday the 13th this year. We prefer to look at the bright side which is the first day of strawberry season according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Forget triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13).
In honor of the strawberry moon here are a couple of infographics on the strawberry:
Isn’t it wonderful that something that tastes so good is so healthy to eat?
“Nuts to you!” Takes on all new meaning with the latest info from The Telegraph in London. The Telegraph is reporting, “Eating walnuts just two or three times a week can reduce the risk of type two diabetes by a almost a quarter, according to new research.
“A study of nearly 140,000 women in the US shows regular helpings of a small portion of nuts can have a powerful protective effect against a disease that is threatening to become a global epidemic.
“Women who consumed a 28 gramme (one ounce) packet of walnuts at least twice a week were 24 per cent less likely to develop type two diabetes than those who rarely or never ate them.
“The latest findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, are not the first to highlight the anti-diabetic effects of walnuts, with earlier research showing similar benefits.
“However, this is thought to be one of the largest studies to find regularly snacking on them can help prevent the condition. Continue reading →
For some time now, nutritionist have recommended that we eat fish on a regular basis in order to get sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (specifically DHA and EPA). Not only are these nutrients good for the circulatory system, but they have also been proven to boost brain function, including both cognitive function and memory. Until fairly recently, scientists have not understood the mechanism by which omega-3 provides these effects.
A study to be published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism by researchers at the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada found a specific link between docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and memory.
The researchers fed one group of mice a diet supplemented with DHA and fed a second group a normal, healthy diet with no DHA supplementation. When the mice that received DHA supplements were examined later, it was found that the part of…
A diet lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients commonly found in fish, may cause your brain to age faster and lose some of its memory and thinking abilities, according to a study published in the print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“People with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids had lower brain volumes that were equivalent to about two years of structural brain aging,” said study author Zaldy S. Tan, MD, MPH, of the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and the Division of Geriatrics, University of California at Los Angeles.
For the study, 1,575 people with an average age of 67 and free of dementia underwent MRI brain scans. They were also given tests that measured mental function, body mass and the omega-3 fatty acid levels in their red blood cells.
SelfNutrition Data lists the following foods as high in Omega-3 fatty acids: In order of importance: based on 200 calorie serving: Flaxseed oil is the highest with 12,059 mg. Flax seeds have 8,543 mg.￼ Fish oil, salmon contains 7828 mg. Chia seeds yields 7164 mg. Agutuk, fish with shortening has 6851 mg. Continue reading →
I ran across this box in my Walgreen’s drug store, so I guess it has national distribution. I love this marketing. Full disclosure: I really love chocolate and I eat some every day. When I had a weight problem I ate too much of it. Now I limit my quantities.
Getting back to the marketing. These Maramor chocolates are being marketed as if they were vitamin/mineral supplements. Note the large “with Omega 3 80 mg per serving” in red on the front. Just above the name on the front it states “The Omega-3 in these premium milk chocolates is purified, and a concentrated source of EPA/DHA.”
On the back It states, “Omega-3 provides nourishment to both the body and the brain: The Omega-3 in thee milk chocolate squares is an excellent source of DHA and EPA which benefits every cell in the body. Chocolate contains ingredients that enhance the absorption of Omega-3. ”
They repeat the 80 mg claim and follow with, “This delicious milk chocolate along with a healthy diet can be a concentrated source of Omega-3 for your daily Omega-3 requirements.
The serving size is two pieces (19 grams). It has 100 calories. Total fat 6 grams, saturated fat 3.5 grams, cholesterol 5 mg, Sodium 20 mg, total carbohydrate 11 grams, 0 dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein.
I compared it with some chocolate I had in my cupboard and the Nutrients are similar.
The ingredients of the Maramor chocolates include Omega-3 refined fish oil and fish gelatin. There was nothing like these in the chocolates from my cupboard.
The bottom line appears to be that Maramor has hit upon a very clever marketing technique to get people to eat their chocolate to a certain extent not only guilt-free, but actually as a healthy supplement.
On the front of the box it states “One Week Supply.”
I wonder if this idea will catch on. I bought a box to write about for you and also to taste. It was nice chocolate. They’re sure more fun than the Fred Flintstone vitamins I gave my kids.