If we can easily test our blood glucose and cholesterol levels, why can’t we test the level of omega 3 fatty acids in our blood? Nothing — not cholesterol or even C-reactive protein levels — is better at predicting sudden cardiac death, which still causes about 60 percent of cardiac disease death in the United States, according to an analysis by Centers for Disease Control researchers.
For years this lack of an omega 3 blood test puzzled me. No more. It has finally arrived.
The HS-Omega-3 Index uses a standardized methodology to measure the percentage of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in red blood cells. It also measures the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6.
Some cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and sardines have a lot of this healthy omega 3 fat. I follow the standard recommendation to eat one of these fish at least twice a week. I supplement my fish with krill oil capsules for even more omega 3.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor has probably told you a dozen times to cut way back on salt (sodium). But this works only for people who have a “salt-sensitive phenotype,” which results from both genetic makeup and environmental influences.
New preliminary research offers another strategy that might work for more of us. If we cut back on the fructose that we eat from added sugars, we may be able to control high blood pressure.
Most people with diabetes have high blood pressure, or to use the technical name, hypertension. High blood pressure is, after all, one of the key components of the metabolic syndrome, or syndrome x, that leads to diabetes.
When doctors talk about our blood pressure being high they mean a level of more than 120/80 mmHg. Those numbers are shorthand for a systolic or peak pressure of 120 and a diastolic or minimum pressure of 80 millimeters of mercury.
Considering all the supplements that most of us take, we have surprisingly little evidence that the overwhelming majority of them do anything for us. The two biggest exceptions are vitamin D and omega-3 oil, which I have written about here.
Even with these well-tested supplements, the experts have little advice to give us. Now, however, a team of scientists from the University of Lyon in France just reported on how much of one type of omega-3 oil to take so that we can prevent heart attacks and strokes, the major complication of diabetes. This is the first study to identify how much omega-3 oil we need to promote optimal heart health.
They studied DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, which some studies suggest have more potent and beneficial effects than the other omega-3 oil that we usually take, EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid, according to their research communication in September issue of The FASEB Journal, which the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology publishes.
Only the abstract of the study is online. But one of the study’s authors, Evelyne Véricel, was kind enough to send me the full text.
The American Medical Association today published the results of a large and long study that is good news for anyone who has diabetes. The study shows that intensive control substantially lowers the risk of some serious complications of diabetes.
No surprise that intensive control works. But the surprise is how well it works.
The study followed 1,375 people with type 1 diabetes for 30 years of their diabetes. The complications measured were proliferative retinopathy, nephropathy, and cardiovascular disease. Conventional treatment led half of them to proliferative retinopathy, one-quarter to nephropathy, and 14 percent to cardiovascular disease.
Those in the intensive therapy group has substantially lower rates of these complications — 21 percent, 9 percent, and 9 percent respectively. Fewer than 1 percent became blind, required kidney replacement, or had an amputation because of diabetes during those 30 years.
A few days ago when I finally was able to see a neurologist for the headaches that started four months ago, the first part of his examination was of my feet. I had heard of referred pain, but this seemed extreme to me, and I told him so.
The doctor replied that he would get to my head. In the meanwhile he gave me a complete examination. He used a tuning fork, similar to what musicians use. I could feel it as he went down my legs. But when he got to each of my feet, I felt nothing.
Then he worked down my legs to my feet with the side of a pin. Again, my feet I had no sensation.
He told me that I had peripheral neuropathy. And I could see it for myself. None of my other doctors had ever told me that before.