Nutrients Your Heart Needs: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Antioxidants

 

February is the perfect time to learn more about key steps you can take to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Even though Valentine’s day is behind us, February is the American Heart Association’s Heart Month - care and set an example for those around you to do the same. Don’t take your heart for granted. Nourish yourself with key nutrients to strengthen your cardiovascular system. As National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says, our hearts are healthier together. 



Omega-3s & Antioxidants for Heart Health

In the previous blog, we addressed the importance of Vitamin D3 and K2 for a healthy heart, but they’re certainly not the only ones. 

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), have been known for their antioxidant effects for some time. Only recently have specific fatty acids, EPA and DHA in fish and algae, been accepted as a medical treatment for triglycerides, a major issue for your heart. ALA is a powerful antioxidant in its own right, but it is not as bioactive as the other two.

Omega-3’s shouldn’t just be used for high trigs though. When it comes to your cardiovascular system, research shows that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may be used for:

  • Lowering triglyceride levels
  • Reducing atherosclerotic plaques (clogged arteries)
  • Improving heart rate variability, 
  • Reducing atrial fibrillation, anti-arrhythmia, anticoagulant
  • Lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  • Reduces responsiveness of platelets to collagen
  • Improving the whole circulatory system by enhancing nitric oxide bioavailability

Omega-3 fatty acids also play an essential role in your antioxidant system, which has far-reaching effects on every layer of your body, not just your heart. Supplementing with Omega-3’s can reduce the severity of infections like the cold & flu, and possibly even Covid-19, according to South Miami researchers.

Antioxidants and Cardiovascular Health

Other antioxidants and natural plant polyphenols have also emerged in the medical research as viable ways to improve heart health. Antioxidants at different levels of the antioxidant system, so make sure your free-radical-quenching pipeline is sealed shut by getting enough of ALL the ingredients to support your antioxidant system: vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, and sulfur (cysteine, methionine, glucosinolates).

Vitamin C and natural plant antioxidants called polyphenols may help preserve a healthy circulatory system by bolstering your antioxidant capacity. Though well-known for improving symptoms of the common cold, vitamin C can also provide an essential antioxidant in the fight against damaging cholesterol, according to researchers. Aronia berry (chokeberry), Elderberry, wild blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of any food out there! If you are looking for good sources of those antioxidants, you can find them in Resync products.

Coenzyme Q-10 ー an essential piece of your mitochondria, found naturally in oily fish and organ meats ー is an essential supplement for statin-users, according to researchers published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, but hasn’t gained mainstream support for general heart health yet. 

One notable antioxidant that you should NOT get too much of is vitamin A. Getting enough (700-900 micrograms) promotes healthy collagen in skin, but taking too much of the bioactive, animal-based vitamin A (3000 micrograms daily; equivalent of about 3oz of beef liver every single day for 3-6 years) can hurt your cartilage and bones.

Best Sources of DHA and EPA Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Here are some super foods with the highest concentration of DHA and EPA, the most potent omega-3s, ALA, and other sources of natural antioxidant power:

  • Fish oil and fish liver oil (which also contain heart healthy vitamin E, and Vitamin A)
  • Atlantic Salmon
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Oysters, clams, green-lipped mussels, krill, and shellfish
  • Vegan algae oil - the only vegan/vegetarian option
  • Grass-fed meat (especially liver)

Best Sources of ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

  • Walnuts
  • Seed oils from flax, chia, and hemp
  • Ground flax, chia, and hemp
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Canola, soy, & rapeseed oil
  • Grass-fed meat (especially liver)

Connective Tissue Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Your heart pumps blood and relays nervous system signals to your head and the fast twitch muscles of your chest and arms before that blood goes anywhere else. Your heart is located in your chest, but if we wanted to be more specific, and address connective tissues around it, we could say that it is part of myofascial (muscles and fascia biomechanically linked together) arm lines. And you may not know, but the fascial system connects your body from head to toe. 

Your heart is also myofascially linked through the deep core line (aka deep front line), which is connected with your nervous system.The function of this deep front line is to lift the inner foot arch, and then to stabilize the connection from your legs to your core as your chest expands and relaxes with each breath. It relates the pulse of your breath and the rhythm of walking with another. 

The heart does more than just pump blood. It is a multifaceted, interconnected organ that unifies cardiovascular, nervous, and connective tissue systems. All the more reason to take care of it with each step you take!

The pieces of your circulatory system ー your arteries, veins, and capillaries ー are made up of collagen and other connective tissue components, implying that you have to take care of both systems to ensure optimal health. We are no strangers to taking a holistic, integrated approach to full-body health - this is a great example. 

Antioxidant regulation is essential for muscle, bone, and collagen growth, so omega-3’s are the first to come off the shelf when people are facing musculoskeletal issues.

With a new norm around Covid-19 and the world starting to open back up, we all need to be supporting our connective tissue health as we get moving more. The best way to do that is with the right  collagen supplement, learn more here.



How To Take Omega-3’s For Heart Health

Here are some tips we’ve gained from the research and from clinical experience.

Is there a best time to take omega-3’s?

As fatty acids, omega-3’s work by being incorporated into your cell membranes. They stay there until the cell membrane breaks and then they initiate pro-resolution (similar to anti-inflammatory) processes. This means that the most important thing to pay attention to for maximizing the omega-3 in your supplements and diet is consistency. Get enough on a regular basis, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor. 

Hypothetically, there are a few things that could enhance omega-3 incorporation into your cell membranes. Omega-3 might be best taken after exercise. That’s because during exercise you’re breaking down your muscles and connective tissues, so when you eat afterwards, those nutrients are the first to be used in the recovery, repair, and rebuilding process. Additionally, theoretically, you should eat your omega-3’s in a meal, or take your omega-3 supplement after eating. This may ensure that your omega-3’s, which are just another fat to your digestive system, aren’t burned as calories, but instead get distributed to your tissues.

What Is The Best Dose Of Omega-3?

The FDA recommends adults get 1 gram per day of omega-3s, equivalent to about 1 tsp of fish liver oil. Doses used in research to treat heart and connective tissue issues go up to 4.5 grams, ~1.5 tablespoons of fish oil, but this dose should only be used under physician supervision. The FDA states that you should not consume more than 3g/day, with no more than 2g/day coming from supplemental sources.

What Does Omega-3 Interact With? What Does It Synergize With? 

Omega 3’s compete with omega-6’s in the inflammation/resolution pathway, meaning you have to balance your intake of omega-3’s with omega-6’s. The only problem? The Standard Western Diet has 20 to 60 times more omega-6’s than omega-3’s! So, some suggest reducing your consumption of high omega-6 oils, like grapeseed, sesame seed, safflower, corn, sunflower, and other high omega-6 oils.

Omega-3’s appear to be best absorbed with a fat-containing meal. They improve nitric oxide bioavailability and function.  They may also have improved function when eaten alongside other antioxidants. When it comes to other conditions omega-3s might be considered for (neurological degeneration), B-vitamins appear to work only when getting enough Omega-3.

High dose Omega-3’s have antiplatelet activity, so those taking warfarin, coumadin, or another anticoagulant should consult their doctor.


How To Eat to Maximize Omega-3 Fatty Acids

 

OMEGA-3
OMEGA-3
HEART HEALTHY RECIPE

 

Now if you’re looking to get a full plate of omega-3’s, I want you to check out my healthy eating ebook for optimal sleep and recovery: Recover Every Layer of Your Body. Here's a sample recipe that I know will leave you wanting more!



What to Eat for More Polyphenols and Antioxidants?

Heart health. Clean energy. Immune support. That’s what Resync’s newest product does.

In early March,  we are going to introduce you to the newest innovation in the beverage world: Resync RTD.

A luscious experience to drink, and an invigorating experience to feel, Resync’s aronia-citrus sparkling beverage - the first heart healthy sparkling drink of its kind.

What can you expect?

Heart-healthy and systemic antioxidants and inflammatory regulators.

  • Plant-based nitrates extracted from red spinach, red beets, and aronia berry bolster the heart health 
  • Vitamin C provides a fundamental antioxidant to keep your blood geared to fight damaging cholesterol, according to researchers.
  • Polyphenols to address inflammation upstream.
  • 235mg of potassium works against sodium by yet another pathway to help support healthy blood pressure levels.
  • Two types of fiber, inulin, and beta glucan provide a total of 7 grams, or 24% of the USDA’s recommended daily intake, which may reduce LDL cholesterol among other heart benefits.

The sweetest part? Resync RTD has only a single gram of sugar. Ready to Reync? Check it out here!

We want to hear from you!

Want the practical details on how to eat and supplement to support your exercise, heart health, beauty, and energy? Subscribe to our feed and never miss our best content! If you want more, leave a comment or question below, and we’ll get back to you! 

While other companies try to sell you through clickbait and fake news, we back up what we say with hard data. We believe that when you have the right information, you are empowered to make the best decision possible. That’s why we break down complex science into practical takeaways you can use today. 

If there’s something you want to know more about, let us know by contacting us or getting in touch on social media!

Wishing you the best in your health,

The Resync Team


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Written by Barbara Depta and registered dietitian, Detrick Snyder, MPH, RDN. Updated on 02/15/2021.

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This content is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute the practice of any professional healthcare service, INCLUDING the giving of medical advice. No provider-patient relationship is formed. The use of this information, and the materials linked to this content is at the user's own risk. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should abide by the advice of their healthcare provider, and should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have.

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