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Podcast: William Harris, PhD, internationally recognized expert on omega-3 fatty acids, is interviewed

August 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Todd Whitthorne from Cooper Aerobics, interviews Dr. William Harris. Dr. Harris, a senior scientist for Health Diagnostic Laboratory, is a leading expert on omega-3, and is co-developer of the HS Omega-3 Index, a simple blood test that can objectively measure the concentration of omega-3 fats in red blood cells. Click here to listen to the interview.

In the ORIGIN Trial, participants received 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids daily. The participants in the study (12,537 participants), didn’t necessarily have heart disease, but had some kind of abnormal glucose metabolism –diabetes, fasting hyperglycemia, or some problem with glucose. Dr. Harris discusses the research findings, and his opinions about why the results came out as they did.

Dr. Harris discusses the Framingham Heart Study, a large population study out of Boston, and how the individuals with the lowest omega-3 levels have physically smaller brains than people with higher omega-3 levels, and do not do as well on cognitive function tests as those with higher omega-3 levels. Dr. Harris believes it’s possible that higher omega-3 levels may help forestall development of dementia.

The HS Omega-3 Test, which objectively measures the omega-3 fats in red blood cells, is discussed.  Omega-3 is expressed as a percent so it’s a percent of the total fatty acid found in the red blood cells that are EPA and DHA omega-3.  The typical American has a score of around 4- to 5 percent, while the Japanese (who eat lots of cold water fish) have an omega-3 index closer to 8, 9, or 10 percent. Although large numbers of Japanese smoke and high have blood pressure, they live on average four years longer than Americans, and there’s thought that their high omega-3 index is responsible for these statistics.

A laboratory in Richmond, Virginia runs the test. The test is available like a blood cholesterol or triglyceride test, and seems to be covered by most third-party payers. Patients can ask their physician to order the test when they have blood taken for other tests.

Dr. Harris discusses the recent ruling by the European Food Safety Agency that states consumption of 5 grams EPA and DHA per day (combined) is safe. This is a very different number than 5 grams of fish oil, and Dr. Harris explains how.

Dr. Harris also discusses how omega-3 fatty acids seem to lower systemic inflammation, and this overall reduction in inflammation seems to play a role both in the neuropsychiatric diseases as well as cardiovascular and joint disease.

Visit the web site here.

Podcast: Gretchen Vannice, MS, RD, author of Omega-3 Handbook, A Ready Reference Guide for Health Professionals, is interviewed

In this episode, Gretchen Vannice, MS, RD, author of Omega-3 Handbook, A Ready Reference Guide for Health Professionals, is interviewed by Todd Whitthorne. A registered dietitian, Gretchen explains what types of omega-3 fatty acids are most beneficial, and how to determine the type of omega-3 in different foods. The ways our body stores and uses EPA and DHA are also explained. Gretchen also reviews the intake recommendations for omega-3 fatty acids for different populations.

Listen to the complete podcast here.

Podcast: New Weight Loss Drug Approved by FDA

In this podcast, Chip Lavie, MD, joins Todd Whitthorne to discuss Qsymia (formerly dubbed Qnexa), a new weight loss medication approved by the FDA that should be available by the end of this year. Dr. Lavie is triple board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, and nuclear cardiology, and is a staff cardiologist at the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans and is medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and preventive cardiology at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation. Dr. Lavie’s also an active researcher and is the author, or co-author of more than 600 medical publications.

As a society we need additional tools to help those who are struggling with weight. Seventy percent of  Americans are overweight or obese, and the number of those who are morbidly obese continues to grow. The new weight loss medication, Qsymia, is a combination of the drugs phentermine and topiramate, and it’s estimated that weight loss will be 7- to 10 percent. For most individuals, this amount of weight loss can dramatically improve health values, although the person might well still not be at an ideal weight. Dr. Lavie and Todd discuss the potential impact this new medication may have on the obesity epidemic.

Listen to the complete podcast here.