The heart supplement the FDA now says you should take
For a long time, the medical and pharmaceutical industries having been wanting us to believe that the best way to deal with cardiovascular disease (CVD) is to take a cocktail of heart drugs and to regularly see a cardiologist. (Since procedures and surgeries may be needed, after all).
But now, a supplement that has been around for eons has finally earned the support and backing of the Food and Drug Administration.
That’s right—the FDA has actually approved a supplement for use in people with CVD.
To what do we owe this surprising turn of events?
Inflammation: A Major Risk Factor
It probably has to do with the relatively recent realization that chronic, systemic inflammation is a major contributing factor in the development of CVD.
Often, inflammation is the result of poor lifestyle choices. The link between lifestyle, inflammation, and CVD makes sense when you compare how our ancestors lived to how most Americans exist today.
For centuries, ancestral diets consisted primarily of plants, game meats, and fatty fish. These animal sources were extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory by nature. Not only that, our ancestors were very active—constantly moving, walking, running, hunting, and fishing. This combination of healthy diet and exercise kept inflammation to a minimum and hearts beating strong.
By contrast, today’s “standard American diet” is richer in foods that actually promote inflammation—namely omega-6 fatty acids (found primarily in vegetable oils such as soybean, canola, corn, and sunflower, and foods made with these oils). To make matters worse, most of us have a sedentary lifestyle. The combination of poor diet and inactivity is a certain recipe for inflammation, and eventually, CVD.
The Science Behind Omega-3s
Along with exercising regularly, one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of inflammation and CVD is to cut back on omega-6 fatty acids and consume more omega-3s, in the form of fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, etc.) or fish oil supplements.
Alternative health doctors have known this and have been recommending it for decades, but conventional medicine and the FDA never got on board, until recently.
Perhaps it’s because, until now, there was no money to be made by major drug companies in the sale of omega-3s. But Vascepa®—the pharmaceutical omega-3 that the FDA has endorsed for people at high risk for heart attack and stroke—is projected to make billions by its manufacturer.
Of course, the heart-friendly and anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s are well documented thanks to decades of strong research:
- Triglycerides: One study showed that 3 grams a day of omega-3s reduced harmful triglycerides by 25-50 percent after one month.1
- High blood pressure: Some studies suggest omega-3s can produce “a small but significant decrease in blood pressure, especially systolic…”2
- Stroke: A meta-analysis concluded that higher blood levels of the omega-3 DHA were associated with reduced strokes.3
- Overall protection: In a meta-analysis of 25 studies, researchers examined omega-3 and omega-6 content in tissue samples of heart disease patients. These researchers discovered that omega-3s were consistently and dramatically lower in patients experiencing heart-related events. These findings “add further support to the view that long-chain [omega-3 fatty acids] are cardioprotective.”4
Given all the strong supporting research, it was about time a pharmaceutical version of omega-3s was approved.
Of course, the pharmaceutical version runs around $350 (cash price) for a 30-day supply and needs to be especially prescribed by your doctor.
What about omega-3 supplements?
Supplements are no comparison to the pharmaceutical version intended to treat heart disease. However, there are still plenty of additional benefits of taking a daily omega supplement.
If you’re considering adding omega-3s to your daily supplement regimen, beware of low-quality ingredients and doses. It’s so important to find a reputable supplement manufacturer that truly takes your health and well-being seriously. Here are some things to look for:
- The “Good Manufacturing Practices” (GMP) logo indicates that the supplement company has followed strict guidelines set forth by the FDA for proper manufacture, storage, safety, and efficacy.
- Third party testing (submitting products to an outside company for quality and purity testing) adds an extra layer of certainty that the product contains the listed ingredients in the stated dosages, is free of impurities, and has been produced using safe, sanitary procedures. Some well-respected organizations that conduct such testing are NSF International and United States Pharmacopeia.
- Minimal ingredients. Make sure that inactive ingredients are kept to a minimum and that allergens and contraindications are clearly stated on the label.
- Clinically studied dosages. Buy from a company that includes dosage levels that match what research has found to be most beneficial.
Newport Natural Health meets all these criteria, which takes the guesswork and worry out of supplement buying. If you want a high-quality, well-tested omega-3 product, look no further than Omega-D3 with Astaxanthin.
With few side effects to speak of and a multitude of cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits, making omega-3s part of your daily routine may be one of the smartest things you can do. But do your research so that you’re not settling for a cheap/inferior supplement.
- Shearer GC, et al. Fish oil—how does it reduce plasma triglycerides?Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012;1821(5):843–851. Last accessed February 12, 2020.
- Cabo J, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids and blood pressure.Br J Nutr. 2012 Jun;107 Suppl2:S195-200. Last accessed February 12, 2020.
- Saber H, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids and incident ischemic stroke and its atherothrombotic and cardioembolic subtypes in 3 US cohorts. Stroke. 2017 Oct;48(10):2678-2685. Last accessed February 12, 2020.
- Harris WS, et al. Tissue n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and risk for coronary disease events.Atherosclerosis. 2007 Jul;193(1):1-10. Last accessed February 12, 2020.