Why Omega-3 is Essential for Cardiovascular Health
By Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN
Scientific Director, Essential Formulas
Many people are confused about fats because dietary fat is often associated with being overweight or obese. Consequently, many people strive to consume a low-fat diet. In this article, I will emphasize how vital some fats are for good health.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are nutrients that our bodies cannot make. Consequently, we must obtain them from our diet or nutritional supplements. These two essential fats get converted into other fatty acids that are a critical part of cell membranes throughout the body. They also regulate neurological development, vision, blood clotting, cholesterol levels, inflammation, and immune function.
It has been reported that low levels of omega-3 are as dangerous as smoking in the risk of death. Results from an 11-year-long study revealed that smokers who consumed omega-3 supplements had the same rate of death from heart disease as non-smokers who did not supplement with omega-3.i This is a powerful statement regarding the protective effects of omega-3.
Many health problems are associated with a deficiency of omega-3 fats and a vast overconsumption of omega-6 fats. For optimal health, omega-3 to omega-6 should be from 1:2 to 1:4. However, the Standard American Diet, referred to as the SAD diet, contains an omega-3/omega-6 ratio of 1:20 to 1:30.
As noted above, many people do not consume adequate amounts of omega-3 or its metabolites, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), known as fish oils. In the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT), it was reported that many people only consume 1/10th of the omega-3 required for normal functioning, and 20% of Americans had omega-3 levels so low that they were undetectable.
The best dietary source of fish oils is cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. However, The US Dept. of Agriculture states that most Americans do not consume enough seafood to meet their omega-3 requirements. Also, the authors of an article on omega-3 fats noted the following, “Today, it is very well established that omega-3 deficiency in modern man’s diet is a major contributing factor for the phenomenal rise in non-communicable diseases, for both its incidences and severity.”
However, there are problems associated with fish consumption. Wild-caught fish are generally more expensive and have higher mercury levels than farm-raised fish. On the other hand, farm-raised fish are often raised in large pens that harm the environment. They regularly administer antibiotics to prevent diseases because they are grown in overcrowded, high-stress conditions. Consequently, many people prefer to obtain their essential fat nutritional needs from plant-based sources.
Dr. Ohhira’s Essential Living Oils is made from 8 vegan oils and seeds, which makes it an excellent vegan alternative to fish oils. Also, each dose contains 61.5% omega-3, which helps to correct the imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 that most people experience. Other ingredients include several saturated fats, which help improve the skin’s hydration and health.
Omega-3 is essential for cardiovascular health. It is a mild anti-coagulant (blood thinner), reducing the risks of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. Vulnerable plaque deposits, which build up in the lining of arterial walls, are a significant risk for strokes and heart attacks. Omega-3 helps prevent the rupture of vulnerable plaque deposits in two ways. Inflammation can cause these plaques to rupture. Omega-3’s anti-inflammatory activity reduces the risk of plaque rupturing. Also, studies have shown that omega-3 helps build a thicker surface membrane on vulnerable plaque deposits, which reduces the risk of rupture.
Heart disease is still the #1 killer in the United States, and omega-3 is one of the essential nutrients to help reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors. In addition to omega-3, Dr. Ohhira’s Essential Living Oils contains several other fats and oils that support heart health, immune function, and healthy skin.