There is no magic pill that will solve all your health problems, but if I were to pick one that comes close, it would be Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). That’s why it is one of my top five supplement recommendations for almost everyone. Omega-3s help with everything from brain to mood to immune system to joints and more. Today I will focus on the benefits of Omega-3s to your heart. Unfortunately, your body can’t make them, you must consume them. Sources of Omega-3 EFAs There are three main Omega-3 EFAs: 1. A-linolenic acid (ALA) 2. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) 3. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) You can consume ALA through plant sources such as chia, flax seed, vegetable oils (such as canola, soybean, flaxseed, linseed, and olive oils), and walnuts. EPA and DHA are typically consumed through animal sources: herring, kipper, mackerel, menhaden, pilchard, salmon, sardine, trout, and tuna. Cardio-Protective Benefits Consuming fish oil from dietary sources such as fatty fish, two servings per week, is associated with a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease (primary prevention). Most of the population studies also show a reduced risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular death, sudden death, and heart attacks. These benefits are also seen in patients with existing cardiovascular disease (secondary prevention). Clinical and population research shows that consuming fatty fish two to three times per week reduces the risk of mortality in patients with a history of heart attack.
For your body to receive enough of these EFAs, you need to be consuming the foods listed above multiple times throughout the week. However, clinical research also shows that taking a fish oil supplement (one gram daily) significantly decreases your risk of heart attack and death. Two additional analyses of studies in patients with cardiovascular disease show that consumption of EFAs, whether in the diet or by taking supplements, reduces risk of overall mortality by 16% to 23% and death due to cardiovascular causes such as heart attack by 24% to 32%. By comparison, prescription statins only lowered overall mortality by 13% and cardiovascular mortality by 22%. Triglyceride Management I have seen amazing results in using fish oil supplements to reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%. In fact, prescription Lovaza, often prescribed to patients with high triglycerides, is a form of fish oil. I have even seen modest improvements in LDL and HDL levels. Hypertension Benefits Taking fish oil orally seems to produce modest, but significant, reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension with or without type 2 diabetes. Heart Failure Reduction An analysis of populations studies shows that higher intake of fish oil from dietary sources is associated with a significantly reduced risk of heart failure. Dosage The research speaks for itself. For any of you with cholesterol, blood pressure, triglyceride, or any other heart issues, I highly recommend a quality Omega-3 supplement. The starting dosage is 1,000mg per day, but for those of you with more heart related issues, I may recommend a dose as high as 4,000mg per day. Just beware, not all fish oils are created equal. Quality Counts I hear many people complain about the way fish oil tastes. A quality fish oil supplement should not have a taste. If you are extremely sensitive to taste, you can try freezing the supplement and taking it with food. I recommend Ocean Blue Professional Omega-3. When you compare the amount of EPA, DHA, and total Omega 3s, you will find that Ocean Blue usually has three times the amount of other supplements: Other Brand Ocean Blue Serving size: 2 softgels Serving size: 2 softgels Total Omega-3: 690mg Total Omega-3: 2,100mg EPA: 330mg EPA: 1,350mg DHA: 220mg DHA: 600mg So with Ocean Blue, you can take just one softgel compared to two or more of the competitors’. That keeps the cost down significantly to, just 41¢ per day.
Be sure to check the label and quantities when you are looking for your supplement. If you have questions about Omega-3s, please don’t hesitate to stop in and ask our supplement specialist, Tracie, or any of our knowledgeable pharmacists. Doug Chadwick Diabetes affects millions of Americans and is growing at epidemic rates. There is some good news, however. According to the American Diabetes Association, by making some lifestyle changes, many people can delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Here's a quiz to find out what you know about Type 2 diabetes.
Answer true or false to each of the following statements.
1. Reducing your body weight by 5-10% can produce a 58% reduction in diabetes.
2. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity can significantly reduce Type 2 diabetes symptoms.
3. A healthy diet for Type 2 diabetics is basically just an overall healthy diet.
4. Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
5. An unexplained or unusual weight loss is a symptom of diabetes.
6. Products listed as low fat are always good choices for a diabetic.
7. Nearly all adults with Type 2 diabetes are overweight, and more than half are obese.
Answers: 1) True; 2) True; 3) True; 4) True; 5) True; 6) False. They are often high in sugar or sodium. 7) True Source: National Diabetes Education Program If you are already living with Type 2 diabetes, you may have questions.
Here are some of the common questions we get at the pharmacy:
What are my blood glucose goals? The fasting blood glucose levels should be between 70-130mg/dL. The postprandial (1-2 hours after a meal) and before bedtime glucose levels should be <180mg/dL.
What is a hemoglobin A1C test? It is a test that measures your average blood glucose control for the past three months.
When should the A1C test be performed? The test should be performed at least two times per year in patients who are meeting their treatment goals and quarterly in patients whose therapy has changed or are not meeting their treatment goals
What is my goal A1C? Most diabetics typically should maintain their A1C to below or around 7% depending on the situation.
What is my goal blood pressure? For people with diabetes, kidney disease, or coronary artery disease have a goal of less than 130/90 mmHg. What lifestyle modifications can I do to manage my blood pressure? Weight reduction. Adopting a DASH diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products with a reduced saturated and total fat content. Reduce sodium intake to less than 2400 mg per day, which is about 1 teaspoon of table salt per day. Stop smoking. Increase physical activity to at least 30 minutes per day, most days of the week if approved by healthcare provider. Limit alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day in women and lighter weight persons.
What immunizations do I need to get? Everyone six months of age or older with diabetes should receive an annual influenza vaccine. All diabetics two years of age or older should be vaccinated with the pneumococcal vaccine. Anyone over 64 years of age who received the pneumococcal vaccine more than five years ago should be revaccinated one time. All adults with diabetes should be vaccinated with the hepatitis B series.
What supplements should I use to help with my diabetes? Current research would suggest that if you have diabetes or even if your fasting blood sugar is above 90, it’s time to do something about it. The following supplements are highly recommended: Vitamin D3: 2,000-5,000iu of D3 will help control blood sugar and protect against complications. Have your D3 levels checked, it should be between 40-65ng/dl. Multivitamin rich in B vitamins: many diabetes medications deplete you of B vitamins which are needed for energy and protection from complications. Magnesium: 150-300mg two times per day helps with glucose utilization and insulin sensitivity. Fish oil: 1-2 grams two times per day of omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil help protect the heart. Chromium: 500-1,000mcg two to three times per day before meals will help with glucose utilization.
If you need help selecting nutritional products or want to know more about other supplements for diabetes, please stop in the pharmacy or call to ask.