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      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

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      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

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Omega-3 Benefits Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Filed in General, Macular Degeneration, Omega-3 & Fish Oil | Posted by Brenda Watson on 01/10/2014

High-dose supplementation with omega-3 EPA and DHA improves vision in people with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a recent study published in the journal PharmaNutrition. The high-dose omega-3 supplement consisted of 3.4 grams of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 1.6 grams of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and was taken daily for six months.

Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of severe and irreversible loss of central vision, affecting almost nine million people in the United States. Inflammation and oxidative stress play a major role in the development of AMD, which is why researchers thought omega-3 supplements might help—they have anti-inflammatory effects and are known to benefit eye health.

“Since there is no existing treatment for dry AMD, the positive clinical improvements obtained in this pilot study should be considered striking since 100 percent of the patients had an increase of at least one line of vision within 4.5 months after starting the omega-3 fatty acid supplementation,” noted the authors.

Not all studies on omega-3 supplementation and macular degeneration have found a benefit, but the authors explain that dosage may have been to blame. “We hypothesize the reason that our open label experiments with high-dose omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of dry AMD was successful is a consequence of both (a) the increased dosage and (b) the higher levels of EPA delivered with our omega-3 fatty acid formulation.” The EPA levels in the formula were four to five times greater than in two previous studies that did not find benefit.

I have blogged about studies on omega-3 and macular degeneration in the past. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for eye health as well as inflammation. If you are concerned about these conditions, consider taking an omega-3 supplement.