Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Kind of Fish Oil Do I Buy?

Tips from the Professor:

Another Mystery solved!

Men living in Japan have 1/2 the risk of heart disease
compared to men living in the United States despite
having adopted a mostly western lifestyle since World
War II.

If you look at risk factors, Japanese men and US men
have very similar serum levels of total cholesterol,
blood pressure and rates of type 2 diabetes.

And Japanese men now have a much higher rate of smoking
than US men.

It seems like they are doing everything wrong - but
they still have a much lower risk of heart disease!

Actually, they are not doing everything wrong. They do
eat a lot more fish than US men - and since those fish
come from the Northern Pacific they are loaded with
omega-3 fatty acids.

But it had never been clear whether it was the omega-3
fatty acids in their diet or differences in their
genetic make up that were protecting the Japanese men.

So Dr. Akira Sekikawa and colleagues at the University
of Pittsburgh School of Public Health undertook a study
to determine the cause of the remarkably lower
incidence of heart disease among Japanese men (The
study was published in the August 5, 2008 issue of
Journal of the American College of Cardiology).

The study enrolled 868 randomly selected men aged 40 to
49. Of these, 281 were Japanese men from Kusatsu,
Shiga, Japan; 306 were white men from Allegheny County,
Pennsylvania; and 281 were third- or fourth-generation
Japanese-American men from Honolulu, Hawaii.

As previous studies had shown, all three groups of men
had similar blood cholesterol and blood pressure
readings and similar rates of diabetes.

However, the Japanese men consumed an average of 3.75
ounces of fish every day while men in the United States
typically consumed that much fish only once or twice a

Putting it another way, the Japanese men were consuming
an average of 1.3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day
while the Japanese-American and Caucasian-American men
were consuming only 0.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a

And this resulted in a significant difference in blood
levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Japanese men had twice the level of omega-3 fatty acids
in their blood than either Japanese-American or
Caucasian-American men.

Dr. Sekikawa and his colleagues went on to quantify two
markers of atherosclerosis. In the first test,
ultrasound waves were used to gauge the thickness of
the walls of the carotid arteries in the neck, a test
known as intimal-medial thickness (IMT). In the second
test, an electron-beam CT scanner measured calcium
deposits in the arteries of the heart, a test known as
coronary artery calcification (CAC).

Both tests showed that the Japanese men had
significantly lower levels of atherosclerosis than
either Japanese-American or Caucasian-American men.

Because of the way the study was designed it was clear
that the differences in atherosclerosis (which is
directly related to heart attack risk) could not be
explained by genetics or standard risk factors.

The only difference between the three groups of men
that actually correlated with the different degree of
atherosclerosis was the omega-3 fatty acids in the diet
and in the bloodstream.

Of course, I don't need to tell you that the results of
this study were no surprise. It confirms what many
other studies have told us over the past few years -
namely that omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce
the risk of heart disease.

And until the contamination of fish - especially farm
raised salmon - with PCBs and heavy metals has been
resolved, my recommendation is that you get your
omega-3 fatty acids from a high quality, ultra-pure
omega-3 supplement.

To Your Health!
Dr. Stephen G Chaney

P.S. Shaklee supplements are my personal recommendation
because Shaklee insists on rigorous quality control
tests on every one of their ingredients and on their
finished products. For example, they import ultra pure,
triple distilled fish oil from England and test it for
PCB contamination after they receive it. They also have
published over 70 clinical studies on their products in
peer-reviewed scientific journals. They are unique in
the industry.

No comments: