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Optimal Health Newsletter, Issue #101 -- Something Fish About Triglycerides
October 01, 2006

Keeping your heart healthy the natural way

Issue #101

October 1, 2006

The Best of Heart Health from

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It is finally Fall; my favorite time of year. The summers in my part of the world (the Southern US) are very hot.

Now is a good time to be outside in the evenings getting some extra exercise before the days get too short. The days of eating extra food will be on us before we know it. Letís get ready by getting a little more exercise now.

Featured Article:

There Is Something Fishy About Triglycerides

I get a kick out of those commercials which portray conversations at the kitchen table or in the locker room in ways that we donít normally see.

Two women sipping coffee from pretty china cups might naturally start discussing headache medications or hygiene. Men might forgo the normal locker room banter for the much superior topics of foot care or that insurance that only a duck can seem to remember.

Some people even get so excited about their cholesterol that they stop perfect strangers on the street to announce significant reductions in their own cholesterol levels.

Many of these commercials give us an excuse to leave the room for more pressing matters, while others make us smile in appreciation of their creativity. But there is one thing they have in common. They direct our attention to topics of great importance that we donít naturally discuss.

High cholesterol is one such topic.

Fortunately cholesterol is getting more press these days. Not only do television commercials and news reports discuss the dangers of high cholesterol, but even cereal boxes are preaching the message.

Cholesterol is not the only enemy of heart health that is attracting more attention.

Triglycerides are gaining notoriety in the public eye as adversarial to a healthy heart.

Though triglycerides might not be the topic of choice in the average locker room I think it is safe to assume that it is of greater importance than the majority of subjects that occupy center stage in that arena.

Whether or not we choose to speak of such things most of us know something of their importance and secretly hope they do not become an important factor in our lives or in the lives of those we love. But sticking oneís head in the proverbial sand is hardly proactive and does nothing to avoid potential problems.

If triglycerides are an important health concern we should face the problem eye to eye and take action in true Western style.

Many doctors have not been alarmed with high triglyceride levels in their patients as long as cholesterol levels and other components of the lipid profile are within an acceptable range. That is because many believe that triglyceride levels alone do not adversely affect the heart.

However, some studies are beginning to alter that thinking. For example, one study at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore demonstrated that people who are middle-aged or older having triglyceride levels above 100 are twice as likely toÖ
  • suffer from a heart attack
  • die from a heart attack
  • undergo treatment related to heart healthÖ

Ö than are people with triglyceride levels below 100.

When we consider that triglycerides below 150 are within the accepted "normal" range we have cause to rethink the importance of triglycerides.

Heart health is not the only thing affected by triglycerides. A report in the Journal of the American Heart Association stated thatÖ

High triglycerides are associated with ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIA).

This conclusion came from an eight year study involving 11,177 patients with coronary heart disease and no history of stroke or TIA. Those patients who later suffered from strokes or TIAs had higher than average levels of triglycerides and lower than average levels of HDL cholesterol.

There is no lack of research supporting the thesis that high triglyceride levels, either in conjunction with other risk factors or as an independent risk indicator, puts one in a more dangerous position in relation to heart attack or stroke.

There are many folks who would ignore this fact even if a duck could learn to say "Triglycerides". But what about the rest of us? Some of us are concerned. What can we do?

In the early 1970's two Danish researchers observed that Eskimos had diets very high in fatty fish. They expected to find that these people would have high incidence of heart disease. In fact they found the exact opposite.

It was discovered that the blood platelets of Eskimos were not as sticky as those of their European and American counterparts. The researchers attributed this "non-sticky" characteristic to the omega-3 fatty acids consumed in the Eskimos' diet.

Further studies have brought increased knowledge of the effects of fish oils and especially omega-3 fatty acids for the reduction of blood pressure and fat in the blood. Studies continue to uncover the positive effects that omega-3 fatty acids have in the treatment ofÖ
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • asthma
  • arthritis

Concerning heart health, fish oilsÖ
  • decrease the risk of sudden death from arrhythmia
  • decrease blood clotting
  • reduce atherosclerosis
  • help lower blood pressure
  • improve arterial health

More particular to this essay is the fact that study upon study has demonstrated that the fish oils in cold-water fish have triglyceride reducing powers. It is no wonder the American Heart Association since the year 2000 has been preaching the importance of healthy adults eating fish.

But what about unhealthy adults already struggling with high triglycerides?

The answer that many researchers are giving is, "Eat more fish." Or more precisely, ingest more omega-3 fatty acids.

People who have elevated triglycerides may need 2 to 4 grams of EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids) per day provided as a supplement. High levels of omega-3 cannot be ingested through diet alone. You should consult a physician to discuss taking supplements to reduce heart disease risk. Patients taking more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from supplements should do so only under a physicianís care.

Letís face it. Our diets are not nearly what they should be. It isnít just about calories, carbohydrates and thin waistlines. Our hearts need more omega-3. If you are a fish lover then indulge your fantasies. Eat more. If you donít love the slimy little creatures then fish oil supplements might be your answer. Perhaps what we need is not a talking duck. Perhaps a talking trout would be more apropos to get the message out.

But I suppose that would be counter productive for the trout.

Links for further research:

High Triglycerides Are Now
Considered an Independent Risk
Factor for Heart Disease

Omega-3 Just May Be Your Best Weapon
For Lowering Triglycerides;
Research Shows That
Omega-3 Lowers Triglycerides

Whatís New?

If you havenít visited in a while you have missed some changes and additions. The entire section on Fish Oils and Omega-3 has been rewritten. That includes the main page and every page that links to it.

If you want to know more about omega-3, the many heart health benefits it provides, and the research to prove it then itís time to revisit Simply use the link below to the Fish Oils and Omega-3 main page.

Do you know the science behind your supplements?

If you havenít done so already make sure you get your copy of the special report:

The Science Behind Dietary Supplements

To do so go to by using the link below. Simply fill in your name and email address and you will get your special report immediately.

Learn more about what you should look for in a top quality supplement and where you can get them at the best prices. Donít wait. Do it now!

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