According to research recently published in Lipids , individuals who suffer from Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) have a low Omega-3 index when compared to individuals who do not have the disease. Peripheral Artery Disease affects the blood vessels located outside the brain and the heart. Essentially PAD is atherosclerosis of the leg arteries. Other studies provided evidence to suggest Omega-3’s essential fatty acids affect many steps in this atherosclertotic process. Specifically, Omega-3’s decrease wall stiffening, delays the development of plaques thereby increasing vessel wall stability, promotes vasodilatation through relaxation of smooth muscle cells and improves endothelial function.
In this current study, the Omega-3 indexes in 145 participants with PAD were compared with the Omega-3 indexes in 34 controls subjects who did not have PAD. Researchers found that the Omega-3 index was significantly lower in the participants with PAD (5%) than the control group (6%). When factors like diabetes, blood pressure, prescription drug use, smoking and age, among other factors, were controlled the Omega-3 indexes were even lower than the control groups. Overall it was determined that for every 1% reduction in the Omega-3 index the odds of being a patient with Peripheral Artery Disease increased by 39%. Smoking at least one pack of cigarettes per year increased the risk of suffering from PAD by 4%.
The lower inflammatory burden seen with a higher Omega-3 Index is thought to be part of the explanation for the result of this study. Further studies are needed to determine if the development of Peripheral Artery Disease could be avoided with long term Omega-3 supplementation.
Okay, let’s take a moment to learn more about Essential and Non-Essential Fatty Acids:
Chemically a fatty acid is an organic acid with an acid group at one end of its molecule and a methyl at the other end. Fatty acids are categorized in the Omega groups 3, 6 or 9 according to the location of their last double bond.
An Essential Fatty Acid is a fatty acid that the body cannot manufacture by itself, in other words they must be obtained through supplementation or through foods. There are 2 fatty acids that are designated as essential fatty acids: linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. There are more fatty acids than these 2 specific essential fatty acids found in the Omega 3-6-9 groups but a healthy body may be able to manufacture them as long as there is enough linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, so they are considered non-essential fatty acids. There are however certain health benefits to be obtained by intaking some of the non-essential fatty acids directly, especially in the case of the Omega 3 fatty acids.
The Need for More Omega 3
Humans evolved on a diet that had approximately a 1:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), today our Western diet contains a ratio of 15:1 – 16.7:1. A typical Western diet is deficient in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and has an overabundance of Omega-6 Fatty Acids when compared to the diet in which humans evolved and their genetic patterns were established. In a study done by The Harvard School of Public Health over 96,000 deaths in the US were attributed to being caused by an Omega-3 deficiency. Other research shows that excessive amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids and high Omega-6/Omega-3 ratios promote many types of diseases like autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, cancer and cardiovascular disease. It is obvious that increasing Omega-3 Fatty Acid intake is necessary for a healthier population.
The public was made aware of excessive levels of mercury, a neurotoxic heavy metal, as well as PCBs and other toxic organic compounds found in certain fish species from a well-publicized federal advisory in 2001. It was determined that fish oil supplements could also be subject to excessive levels of these neurotoxins. It makes choosing a “CLEAN” fish oil even more important than ever. For this very reason Viva Vitamins uses pure, high quality, molecularly distilled Omega-3 EPA/DHA fish oil in the products they manufacture. Molecular distillation is a process where all heavy metals and PCBs are virtually removed from the fish oil. Additionally extensive testing is performed to verify that all federal standards of purity have not just been met but have been surpassed.
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