Americans are progressing towards heart disease in alarming numbers, with significant signs of poor cardiovascular health occurring even in our overweight teenagers. Whether young or old, DHA from fish oil can help offset the stress of a poor diet and dietary indiscretions. While I'm all in favor of everyone being perfect - it is easier said than done. A number of recent studies demonstrate the value of DHA as an invaluable protector of your health.
It is well known that a high fat meal provokes a variety of cardiovascular stressful reactions in the circulation. In this study 20 healthy men and women were fed a high fat meal either with a placebo or with 1000 mg of EPA/DHA fish oil. Various parameters of blood flow and blood pressure were tested. The high fat meal, as expected, showed significant signs of reduced arterial blood flow four hours post meal whereas those consuming the fish oil supplement maintained normal blood flow in response to the high fat meal.
A placebo-controlled trial with 78 overweight teenage boys (ages 13 - 15) tested 1500 mgs of EPA/DHA compared to placebo over a 16 week period. Due to metabolic youth teenagers have some ability to tolerate the adverse metabolic condition of being overweight without displaying clinically high blood pressure or high cholesterol, as was the situation in these participants. However, this study sought to test if fish oil could help prevent these teenagers from the early changes that lead to the full blown metabolic syndrome and eventual high risk for heart disease. At the end of the study the boys in the fish oil group had significantly lower blood pressure and higher levels of the protective HDL cholesterol. This demonstrated that fish oil does indeed have an ability to help reduce the progression into heart disease that is induced by the condition of being overweight.
A just-published Spanish study sought to understand why Spain has such a low rate of heart disease and cardiac death despite high prevalence of what are termed cardiovascular risk factors in America (such as high cholesterol). 451 individuals with high cholesterol had the thickness of their carotid arteries measured along with the fatty acid profile of their red blood cells (which exactly predicts what types of fats they eat). The combination of higher omega 9 oleic acid (olive oil) and DHA (fish oil) were inversely related to the thickness of the carotid artery. The EPA score did not matter, once again confirming that DHA is the primary omega 3 oil with cardiovascular benefit. Thus, even in individuals who have eaten too much and gotten themselves metabolically unfit, olive oil and DHA fish oil offered considerable protection against the development of actual cardiovascular disease.
This finding is consistent with a number of earlier studies showing that DHA actually helps to stabilize any existing plaque in the carotid arteries so that it doesn't rupture and cause a stroke. In a normal world such findings would be on the front page of every paper. In the Big Pharma sickness industry world, they are actively ignored.
Lastly, I'd like to call attention to a new animal study that shows that DHA in the mitochondrial membrane drastically improves cardiovascular energetics and normal function. This is different than the anti-inflammatory benefits of DHA within cell membranes. Mitochondria exist within cells as the "car engines" that produce cellular energy (ATP). Their ability to function optimally is a major determinant of your lifespan as when energy production capacity declines so goes everything else. This study also proves that it is the DHA part of fish oil not the EPA, that is vital to healthy cell energetics.
Everyone should of course work in the direction of better or optimal body weight. Most Americans simply eat too much. When you follow the Leptin Diet you can get more energy from less food and have fewer cravings. How consistently you are "good" over the course of your life will have a profound impact on your quality of health as you grow older. It is good news that DHA can help protect us and even offset a health pattern of too many indiscretions. I wouldn't interpret this as a license too eat poorly, but rather a gift at a second chance.
By Byron J. Richards, CCN Founder/Director of Wellness Resources, Inc.
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