Omega-3 and Moist Compresses Novel Approach to Dry Eyes

Omega3 and Dry EyeA new pilot study found a combination of supplementing with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and a Warm Heat Compress can be an effective alternative option for treating Dry Eye Disease (DED).

35 individuals (33 of whom completed the study) participated in this 4 week trial.  Participants varied in age from 18 to 75 years of age and suffered from Meibomian Gland Disease (MGD), an ocular surface disease.

The Meibomian glands secrete a protein and lipid (fat) mixture in the eye.  This mixture creates a clear optical surface for the cornea and improves stability as well as reduces the tear film evaporation.  Additionally MGD prevents tear overflow and bacterial colonization.  When the gland is not functioning it destabilizes the tear film which causes increased evaporation. MGD is believed to be an instigator of DED.

In this study, participants supplemented with supplement that contained 810 mg of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and used a warm eye compress heated for 30 seconds in the microwave and left on closed eyes for 5 minutes daily.

Over 54% of the study participants were considered to have Dry Eye Disease.  Participants showed a significant improvement between baseline and the end of the study period with 45% of the participants reporting they no longer had symptoms of DED.



Oily Fish, Vitamin B6 and Zinc May Delay Menopause

Menopause and Fish Oil, Vitamin B-6 and ZincNew research supports a later onset of natural menopause when there is a high intake of oily fish, Zinc and Vitamin B6.  The opposite seems to likely when the diet is high in refined carbohydrates.

Data from the UK Women’s Cohort Study (UKWCS), which had over 14,000 women participants, was used for this research.  A health study and a reproductive history were given.  A diet questionnaire was also filled out by all participants.  A follow up questionnaire and another survey were given to the participants after four years.  This allowed the researchers to determine that 900 women had experienced the beginnings of natural menopause.  The diets of these participants were then assessed.

Researchers found that in women whose diet’s included high amounts of oily fish, there was a delay in the beginning of their menopause by almost 3 years.  In women whose diet included high amounts of rice and refined pasta, their menopause was more like to begin a year and a half earlier than average.  Additionally the study found that an association also existed between the antioxidant properties of Vitamin B6 and Zinc and a later onset of natural menopause. Women who experience menopause earlier than average have a greater risk of future unhealthy conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis.

Further studies are needed to clarify how these findings may affect well being and health.



Alpha Lipoic Acid + EPA May Promote Body Weight Loss in Healthy Overweight Women

ala-epa and weight lossA new study has found supplementing with alpha lipoic acid, both with or without EPA Omega 3 may support weight loss in women who are overweight and obese.  The EPA Omega 3 was found to prevent the reduction of leptin during weight loss.  Leptin is the satiety hormone that signals the body that it is full.

97 women who were obese or overweight participated in this study.  The study was a double blind placebo controlled study.  All the participants followed a reduced calorie diet and were divided into 4 groups: Control (no supplementation), EPA only (supplemented with 1.3 grams daily), alpha lipoic acid only (300 mg daily) and lastly alpha lipoic acid + EPA .  The study lasted 10 weeks and 77 women completed the study.

The control group lost an average of 5.2 kg on the diet only.  The same weight loss of 5.2 kg was seen in the EPA group.  The alpha lipoic acid group only, lost an average of 7 kg and the alpha lipoic acid group + EPA lost on average 6.5 kg.



Higher Omega-3 Index Linked to Better Processing Speeds in Teenagers

Omega 3 and Improvements in Processing SpeedsResearch shows teenager with higher blood levels of Omega-3 may see improvements in information processing speeds compared with those individuals with lower blood levels of Omega-3.

Over 250 teenagers had blood samples taken in order to calculate the participants Omega-3 Index.  Cognitive performance was also assessed using many different cognitive tests.  The average Omega 3 index was determined to by 3.83%, which is well below the recommended range of between 8%-11%.  Participants with high Omega-3 index were excluded when figuring out the mean.  However the mean including those with a high Omega-3 index was still only 3.89%.

A higher Omega-3 index was associated with higher test scores on the LDST and lesser errors on the D2 test of attention.

The Omega-3 Index has also been linked to cardiovascular health.


Omega-3 Intake Linked to Lower Risk of Death and Heart Disease

Omega 3 and Cardiovascular HealthIn a new finding from the Framingham Heart Study, Omega-3 levels, not total cholesterol, were closely linked to overall risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death.

Findings from the 2,500 individuals participating in the Offspring cohort of the Framingham Heart Study, found that participants Omega-3 index had a significant association with 4 out of the 5 major outcomes, CHD (coronary heart disease) CVD, total mortality, and CVD mortality.

The Omega-3 index used for these findings is the total of EPA and DHA content of red blood cell (RBC) membranes.  Omega-3 index values over 8% were considered as low risk or optimal, while index values between 4% – 8% were categorized as intermediate risk and values below 4% were considered to be high risk participants.

The main outcome of the finding identified the risk of death to be about 34% lower in participants whose Omega-3 index was in the highest quintile compared to participants whose Omega-3 index was in the lowest quintile.  Additionally it was determined that a participants Omega-3 index was a better predictor of death risk as well as some measures of CVD disease, than a participants total cholesterol levels.

The study participants who had an average age of 66 had no CVD at the beginning of the study.  Data on 18 demographic and CVD risk factors were assessed at baseline and measurements of RBC EPA and DHA and total cholesterol were taken at the onset.  Follow ups on the study participants over a period of 7 years were performed.  Incidence of death (total, CVD related, cancer and other), CVD, CHD, and stroke were recorded.  These outcomes were then correlated against the participants Omega-3 index and total cholesterol.

Although the study was observational in nature, researchers did estimate that 1300 mg /day of EPA+DHA would be needed to push a participants Omega-3 index from the lowest to the highest quintile.    Further studies are needed.


Probiotics and Fish Oil During Pregnancy Could Cut Children’s Allergy Risk

Fish Oil-Probiotics-AllergiesA systematic review and meta-analysis, points to reductions in allergy and eczema risks in infants and toddlers.

Data from over 400 studies which involved over 1 million people was utilized in this review and meta-analysis.  Fish Oil supplements were taken by pregnant women beginning in the 20th week of pregnancy up until either the 3rd or 4th month of breastfeeding.  Researchers found a 31% reduction in egg allergy in the infants by the time they reached 1 year old.  A 38% reduction in peanut allergies was also seen in the group supplementing with Fish Oil.  Participants supplementing Probiotics saw a 22% reduction in their children’s risk of developing atopic Eczema by the time they reached 4 years of age.  Probiotic supplementation began around 36 to 38 weeks into the gestation cycle and lasted between 3 to 6 months of the breastfeeding cycle.

Avoidance of allergenic foods by the mother had no effect on a child’s risk of developing an allergy or an autoimmune disease.    Additionally beginning Fish Oil supplementation only during the breast feeding period had only a non-significant effect on reductions in egg allergies in offspring when compared to supplementation which began during pregnancy and lasted throughout the breast feeding period.  Probiotic supplements studied included the species Lactobacillus rhamnosus and doses found to be effective varied from between 1 and 10 billion Organism.

Further studies are needed.


Research Piles Up Supporting Role of Omega-3 in Eye Health

Omega-3 and Eye HealthAccording to a prominent research, Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA) play a key role in supporting the retina, one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body.  DHA is present in high concentrations in the retina just like lutein and zeaxanthin the two most well known macular carotenoids.

Research performed as early the 1990’s found people with higher levels of serum DHA had a lower risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).  Later research found participants consuming higher amounts of both EPA and DHA had between a 30% – 40 % reduction in the risk of developing AMD.  These results have been verified in at least 10 different studies.

EPA, does not have the same role in the membrane of the cell that DHA has, however, EPA is necessary to insure the correct functioning of cell signaling which requires a rapid cell response.  EPA is also precursor to antioxidant molecules important in aiding the regulation of inflammation.  Because the retina has a supercharged metabolism, large amounts of oxygen are being turned over every second.  This creates excessive amounts of reactive oxygen species.