“Omega Man” (1971), “Omega” (2012) and “Alpha and Omega” (2010 plus seven sequels) are proof that the movie world believes Omega is a healthy box office. Many of you think that odd-numbered omega fatty acids – especially DHA omega-3 fatty acids – make you healthier too.
However, a new study may confuse you about the benefits of supplementing omega-3 daily. The study in PLOS Genetics found that depending on your genetic makeup, taking fish oil supplements containing DHA (or EPA) can lower or raise your triglyceride levels, making the supplements heart-healthy for some people and heart-hazardous for others.
So where are you when you have no idea whether you are in the “My genes make them do good” or “My genes make them do bad” group?
First, understand that regardless of how they affect your triglyceride levels, DHA omega-3s lower the level of inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, some cancers, depression, and cognitive problems. This is a significant boost to your long-term health.
Second, get your triglyceride levels checked. Then start taking a dietary supplement (e.g. 1,000 mg DHA per day). Check your level again in 45 days to see if your triglycerides have gone up. If so, stop taking the supplement. If they have decreased, ask your doctor if you want to continue.
Third, if you eat salmon, sea trout, sardines, herring, and anchovies, you can get a large dose of omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends two servings per week to reduce the risk of heart failure, coronary artery disease, stroke, and sudden cardiac death. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Mehmet Oz, MD, is the host of the “Dr. Oz Show, ”and Mike Roizen, MD, is the chief wellness officer and chairman of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. To live the healthiest life, switch to “The Dr. Oz Show ”or visit www.sharecare.com.