Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy new year!

So here is 2011. I hope everybody had a wonderful 2010 and a great time last night.

Now that the holidays are winding down and it's about time to get on with our lives I am looking forward to renewing my dedication to my blog and all things related to caveman fitness.

First off I'd like to revisit an older post on Fish oil and omega 3. I recently had an argument with a doctor who was filling in in the clinic where I work. I was attempting to explain to him how I believe that supplementing with high dose fish oil is just as effective at preventing heart attacks as aspirin. He laughed in my face and told me you can't save somebody from having a heart attack by having them suck on a mackerel. Not a very professional way to respond in front of my colleagues but a whole article is going to come from it so I suppose it could have been a good thing.

Us nutritional enthusiasts have a basic idea of all the good that comes from taking our Omega 3's. Heart heath, brain function, respiratory health lower blood triglycerides. Most of these contribute to a lower risk of heart attack but I'd like to visit the direct mechanism I'm here to talk about today.


How aspirin prevents heart attacks
Aspirin is known as an anti platelet agent. Which means if prevents platelets from sticking together and forming a clot. Clots are a good thing because they stop you from bleeding if you cut yourself. The problem is that if a clot forms in side your blood vessles, they prevent blood from flowing to your tissues. In this case a clot forming or getting lodged in a coronary artery (an artery supplying blood to your heart) causes muscle death in your heart. This is a heart attack. Aspirin helps to prevent this clot from forming therefore reducing the chance of a blood clot being able to cause a blockage to major blood vessels.

Aspirin is used to prevent heart attacks in two ways. It is taken daily at low doses of 75mg/day. It this manner it reaches maximum effectiveness in about a week. This is used if the risk of heart attack is not immediate.
Taken in high doses of 325mg/day it reaches its maximum effectiveness in about 30 minutes. This is used when a heart attack is pretty much imminent. That's why if someone is having a heart attack and they call the paramedics,  we give you 325mg aspirin before we even leave your house and make you chew it. EEEW!

How omega 3 oil helps to prevent heart attacks
 All the cells in our bodies are encased in a soft pliable layer called the cell membrane. Cell membranes are made up of fatty acids, therefore, all the fats we eat go into the makeup of these cell membranes. Further proof that fats are essential to proper functioning and need to be included in our daily diets.

Omega 3 fatty acids remain stable at room temperature, meaning they keep their liquid form. Most other fats tend to harden at room temperature. Since all our dietary fats go into the makeup of our cell membranes, Omega 3 fatty acids help to maintain the integrity and health of our cell membranes. This keeps them soft and pliable and able to do their jobs more efficiently. Also, in keeping them soft and pliable this prevents them from clumping together and allows them to flow freely throughout the bodies systems. In the blood this results in improved circulation and reduced clot formation. Not only reducing the risk of heart attack but also contributing greatly to cardiovascular and respiratory health as well, as blood cells can pass through capillary beds more freely resulting in increased oxygen transport as well.

Another look at the benefits of omega 3
Aside from reducing the risk of heart attack some other benefits of Omega 3 supplementation include but are not limited to
  • Brain function and concentration
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammation
  • Increased VO2 max 
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Schizophrenia
  • Allergies
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Cholesterol levels
  • Eye Health
  • Some types of cancer such as breast cancer
  • Energy levels
  • Healthy pregnancies
  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
It seems the health benefits of omega 3 supplementation reach close to all the bodies systems.

A Word of Caution
People with difficulties clotting or who have bleeding problems should exercise caution when choosing to supplement with Omega 3. Also people who and on anticoagulants and vitamin K antagonists as their clotting factors are already inhibited 

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