Study Casts Doubt on Benefits of Omega-3 Supplements

The news media and blogosphere is abuzz today about a study due to be released in The Journal of the American Medical Association regarding omega-3 fish oil. The study, a meta-analysis, a study of 20 previous studies from 1989 to the present, is reported to cast doubt on the effectiveness of omega-3 supplements on reducing cardiac events.

We can expect the talking heads in the media to be talking about this for quite some time. We’re undoubtedly headed for an avalanche of expert opinions that will cover the entire gamut, from “fish oil is vital and useful” to “it’s a waste of money” and every conceivable opinion in between.

And yet, none of the discussion matters to those of us who are actively involved in optimizing our health.

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What Do Our Glucose Checks Tell Us? (Part 3)

In previous articles in this series, we looked at how one of Mr. White’s typical meals affected his blood glucose levels. We also learned about the variability of fasting glucose levels. Today we’ll look at two glucose curves from Mr. Orange, another friend who was kind enough to share his glucose measurements with me. Mr. Orange monitored his glucose after a typical meal (a foot-long roast beef sub and diet soda) and compared those measurements to those he took after eating a low-carb meal of feta cheese, avocado, and olive oil a couple of days later.

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What Do Our Glucose Checks Tell Us? (Part 2)

This is the second in a series of postings on self-testing using an inexpensive, easy-to-use glucose meter to gain a better understanding of our glucose metabolism, far more effective than a single fasting glucose measurement performed at our annual physical. The first post examined a set of glucose measurements following a typical meal eaten by my friend, whom I’ll call “Mr. White.”

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What Do Our Glucose Checks Tell Us?

If you’ve read Don’t Die Early, you know that better understanding our glucose metabolism is a vital part of a preventive health lifestyle. A few days’ experimentation with an inexpensive, easy-to-use home glucose meter can tell us far more than we can learn from the routine blood work during our annual physical. Moreover, what we learn with our home glucose meter can warn us far sooner that we’re on a path towards Type 2 diabetes.

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Experts Recommend Depending on Risk Factors That Fail 90% of the Time Instead of Having a Heart Scan

A news article from November caught my attention today in which critics argue against the usefulness of a coronary calcium scan, a quick, noninvasive test using a CT scanner that exposes a patient to less radiation than two chest x-rays and can detect cardiac plaque years, even decades, before the plaque shows up on a cardiac stress test.

Critics of a calcium scan argue that standard risk factors (measuring cholesterol and performing stress tests, for example) are effective enough to identify impending cardiac events. The problem with their “traditional risk factors,” as I discuss in great detail in Don’t Die Early, is that 90% of the heart attacks are not predicted by assessing traditional risk factors.

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What Are We Waiting For?

As you’ll learn in Don’t Die Early, controlling our blood glucose is critical to achieving optimal health. This is because insulin resistance and damage from elevated glucose levels occurs for years, even decades, before the standard medical tests show that we’re diabetic. By identifying how the foods we’re eating affect our blood glucose levels today, we can delay or even prevent Type 2 diabetes while it’s still on the distant horizon. Waiting until our doctor tells us that our fasting glucose is 115 mg/dL and that we’re “pre-diabetic” is the wrong way to go find out that we’ve been damaging ourselves multiple times each day by causing our blood glucose to reach 130, 140, or even higher. Levels that research shows are toxic to our bodies.

I have a friend in his 30’s who became interested in blood glucose levels after hearing me talk about the subject. He purchased a glucose meter and checked his postprandial (after eating) glucose levels over a few days. He was stunned to see that his blood glucose was reaching 150 to 180 mg/dL after a typical meal.

His response? He put the glucose meter away and forgot all about it. He continues to eat the same way he did before.

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Throwing Darts to Measure Your LDL

By this time, I figure most everyone knows what LDL cholesterol is and those over age 30 have undoubtedly had their LDL checked numerous times, with many of them put on a statin medication because their “LDL is too high.”

Setting aside for a moment the role that LDL plays in heart disease (which, as you can read in my book, is a concept that has been dangerously oversimplified—it’s really the number of LDL particles, not total LDL amount that’s important in assessing heart disease risk), what you probably don’t know is the “standard” cholesterol test that your doctor orders is not really a measurement of your LDL—it’s just an estimate. And it’s an estimate that can be off by a frightening amount, depending upon a variety of factors.

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