Omega-3 May Shorten Hospital Stay in Heart Surgery Patients

Strong Hearth ChalkboardA new review has found that a reduction in the time spent in the hospital and a reduction in the risk of complications was seen in open heart surgery patients supplementing Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids daily.

19 randomized, controlled trials were reviewed.  Reductions of 1.4 days in the length of time spent in the hospital as well as a 22% reduction in the incidence of Post-Operative Atrial Fibrillation (POAF) were seen.  Dosages of 2 grams/day were best for reducing arrhythmias.  Researchers did acknowledge that the shorter recovery time could be due to the reduction in POAF.  However the researchers strongly felt the findings of this meta-analysis show promise for using Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids as a perioperative therapy (therapy given before, during and after a surgical procedure).

Researchers concluded that it would make sense for patients exposed to extra-corporeal circulation (circulation of the blood outside the body, as through a heart lung machine) to experience stronger systemic inflammatory response syndrome since they come into contact with blood with non-endothelial surfaces.  The Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids showed a positive impact on systemic inflammation reduction, the reductions seen in POAF, the shorter lengths of hospitals stays as well as other unknown improvements in clinical outcomes.

Larger scale, well designed, randomized, controlled trials are needed.




Omega-3 Could Aid Alzheimer’s Prevention

Omega-3 and Alzheimer's DiseaseNew research finds individuals with high Omega-3 intakes have an increase in blood flow in the brain suggesting a link might exist between Omega-3 and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Over 160 randomly selected people participated in this trial.  These participants were taken from clinics and their brain function was studied using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).  SPECT measures blood perfusion in the brain.  128 regions of the brain were used to collect data on the correlation between Omega-3 blood levels as well as blood flow in the brain.  Resting-state scans were performed while participants were sitting in a dimly lit room with ambient noise and with their eyes open.  For on-task scans participants completed Continuous Performance Tests (CPTs) while the scans were performed.

Significant statistical relationships were found between EPA and DHA (Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids)  levels in the blood and cerebral perfusion in various regions of the brain: areas known for memory encoding and retrieval (parahippocampal gyrus), areas for episodic memory, visuospatial processing, and aspects of consciousness (the right preuneus), and areas associated with bodily locomotion and posture (vermis subregion).

Researchers concluded that Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA) may improve brain physiology which in turn leads to better cognitive reserves.


Omega-3 and Perinatal Depression

Omega-3 Peri Natal DepressionA new meta-analysis has found a critical role for Omega-3 in decreasing pre and post-natal depression (perinatal).  This meta-analysis also found cases of depression might be associated with a higher Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio.  This translates into a potential new way to treat perinatal depression (PND) because of Omega-3’s neuroplastic, anti-inflammatory and safety effects.

12 eligible studies which became available in December of 2016 were analyzed.  Researchers found a significant reduction in the total of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and a significant increase in the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios in the women who were experiencing PND.  Researchers concluded that the results of this meta-analysis emphasize how important Essential Fatty Acids are in clinical depression.  They pointed out that the brain is enriched with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids which regulate many biological processes like neuroinflammation, Neuroplasticity and neurotransmission and hence also regulate mood as well as cognitive function.  They further pointed out that both EPA and DHA and their benefits for reducing depression have been studied and recognized for many years, the imbalance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 as seen in this meta-analysis need to be examined more fully as a possible prediction of metal health in women during and after pregnancy.  Modern diets often show a profound imbalance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, as much as 10-20:1.  Anthropological studies indicate humans evolved with a dietary ratio of Omega-6’s/Omega-3’s of 1:1.

Clinical trials are needed to test the therapeutic effects of Omega-3’s in the treatment of PND.


Study Sheds “New Light” on Role of Omega-3 in Type 1 Diabetes Protection

Omega-3 DiabetesA new research paper suggests that Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids may reduce children’s risk of Type 1 Diabetes.  This research looked at whether childhood serum Fatty Acid levels were linked to the development of autoimmunity in children genetically predisposed to developing Type 1 Diabetes.

Over 7,700 children who had an increased genetic risk of developing Type 1 Diabetes participated in this research which occurred between 1997 and 2004.  The children’s blood samples were taken at regular intervals until they reached 15 years of age.  The children were monitored for islet autoimmunity.  Type 1 Diabetes results from the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the islets of the pancreas by the body’s immune system. Before Type 1 Diabetes presents with symptoms, underlying autoimmunity to the insulin-producing cells can be detected by measuring antibodies in the blood stream. These antibodies are known as islet autoantibodies and the condition is known as islet autoimmunity.

This study found the Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids could play a role in Type 1 Diabetes development and that these Omega 3 might be protective against this disease, especially during infancy.  Higher serum blood levels of fatty acids consumed during breastfeeding were associated with a lower risk of islet autoimmunity and Type 1 Diabetes.

Further studies are needed.


Omega-3 Supplements May Provide Long-Term Diabetic Benefits

Omega 3-DiabetesInflammation typically seen in Type 1 Diabetes may be reduced by Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids according to new research.  In a study involving mice supplementation with Omega 3 led to long-term improvements in insulin and glucose levels.

Female non-obese diabetic mice were fed a control diet which was supplemented with either 10% arachidonic acid (an Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acid) or 10% EPA/DHA (an Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid).  This regimen lasted for 35 weeks and started when the mice were 5 weeks old.  To test insulin tolerance Glucose tolerance tests were used.  80% of the female non-obese diabetic mice (NOD) who were fed a regular diet had developed diabetes by the age of 40 weeks however only 33% of the mice who received the EPA/DHA diet were considered diabetic.

Researchers looked at how the EPA/DHA would affect the human CD4+T cells, these cells play an essential role in the adaptive immune system.  Researchers found that Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids had the same effect on differentiating CD4+T cells isolated from Type 1 Diabetics as those seen in the NOD mice suggesting the Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids may potentially be used as a therapy in addressing Type 1 Diabetes.


Fish Oil Asthma Benefits May Be Blocked By Medication

Fish OilAlthough it has been seen that supplementation with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids could lessen allergic reactions and asthma symptoms by reducing the production of antibodies, researchers believe that these benefits may be hampered by asthma medication.

Cell cultures from 17 Asthma patients were used.  Researchers found that introducing Omega-3 Essential Fatty acids could reduce the numbers of IgE antibodies.  These antibodies are produced in response to ongoing airway inflammation.  Corticosteroids which are used to treat severe asthma appeared to block the Omega-3 oils effectiveness by interfering with cell signaling molecules.  These cells signaling molecules are responsible for overseeing the specialized proresolving mediators (SPMs), part of the inflammatory process.  Omega 3’s, once supplemented in the body convert to certain SPMs that stop inflammation without compromising the immune system. Researchers believe that SPMs are “important therapeutics for most patients with allergic asthma”

Further studies are needed.

Make sure your fish oil is molecularly distilled to remove potential toxins.  Also a Fish oil that is manufactured to comply with strict European standards will be free of heavy metals, PCB’s, dioxins, pesticides and other unwanted compounds.  An enteric coating will protect the Fish Oil  from the harsh environment of the stomach, and then  the softgel will better travel to the small intestine where it can be digested and its fatty acids released and absorbed into the body. This prevents a fishy aftertaste and odor, and is helpful to sensitive individuals.  Some products will use lemon oil to help with the digestion of the Fish Oil softgel without any fishy burps.


Two-Thirds of Middle-Aged German Women Have Low Omega-3: Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Omega-3A new German population study has found over 70% of middle-aged women have low Omega-3 levels increasing their risk of heart disease.

Data from over 400 middle aged women who had taken part in a larger cross-sectional, nationwide multicenter study (VitaMinFemin) was analyzed.  The original study which was designed to determine the status of selected nutrients during different life stages consisted of over 2,300 individuals of all ages.  This smaller subset of participants chosen for this analysis focused on women between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age.

Researchers concluded that a large portion of middle aged women (97.3%) had an Omega 3 index below 8%.  An Omega-3 index of above 8% is considered to be high; a 6%-8% is moderate, a 4%-6% low and less than 4% very low.  Researchers also found 9% of study participants had the highest risk of heart disease (and an Omega-3 index below 4%).  Additionally 62.8% of participants were at risk of becoming an increased risk for cardiovascular disease with an Omega-3 index of between 4% and 6%.  The risk factors for other conditions such as depression and cognitive decline also have been shown to increase with a low Omega-3 index.

The benefits of Omega-3 intake have been established over many years and many studies.   The essential fatty acids EPA and DHA have been associated with benefits for heart health, blood pressure support, brain health and vision support.

Further studies are imminent.