02 November 2008

What's the new rage? Omega-3 Index

Blood omega-3 oils could be just as or more important than blood LDL cholesterol levels.

Last week I attended a conference in Las Vegas where I heard a cardiologist say bluntly that doctors need to be retrained to stop limiting their focus to blood LDL cholesterol for preventing heart disease and start using the novel Omega-3 Index.

What's that?

According to a 2004 article in Preventative Medicine, the index serves as a "novel, physiologically relevant, easily modified, independent, and graded risk factor for death from CHD that could have significant clinical utility."(1)

The Omega-3 Index is used as a biomarker to measure the percentage of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in the blood cell membranes.(2) The omega-3 oils replace other fatty acids.(2)

A high value of omega-3 oils is linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as other benefits.(2) A value of 8 percent or above in omega-3 oils can mean a 90 percent reduced risk of sudden cardiac death.(2)


1. Harris, WS, Von Schacky, C. The Omega-3 Index: a new risk factor for death from coronary heart disease. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15208005. Accessed on November 1, 2008.

2. Daniells, S. Omega-3 index could be goalpoasts for max heart health. Available at: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Omega-3-index-could-be-goalposts-for-max-heart-health. Accessed on November 1, 2008.

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