Volume 12, Issue 38 |  
Is this the best way to make your
heart work more efficiently?
Your heart beats an average of more than 36 million times every year. That's a lot of wear and tear. So what if there was a way — other than exercise — to cause your heart to pump the same amount of blood but with fewer beats?

A brand new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition gives us an idea: "Dietary fish consumption contributes to a reduced risk of cardiac mortality." But how does it do that? It could be that the oil in the fish makes the heart cells work more efficiently. And it could work so well that it can reduce the number of times your heart has to pump to deliver the same amount of blood.

I have reported to you in the past that taking fish oil supplements improves exercise tolerance in older women. But this new study shows just how fish oil might do that. The researchers looked at a group of 26 healthy men. They gave half of them two grams of fish oil a day. The other half took a placebo. Before and at the end of the experiment, the researchers measured their DHA and EPA omega-3 blood levels. DHA and EPA are the critical oils in fish oil. For genetic reasons, many people cannot produce enough DHA and EPA from the parent oils that we get from vegetables and grains. So for those people, they have to get them either from fish or from fish oil supplements. Not surprisingly, the blood levels in the fish oil group doubled. But that's not all they did.

They also measured how many times their heart beat during moderate exercise. While there was no change in the placebo group, the hearts in the fish oil group were able to beat 4.5 beats less per minute to do the same level of exercise. Not only that, they recovered twice as fast after vigorous exercise. Recovery time is how long it takes your heart rate to become normal after you exercise. The lower your recovery time, the better shape your heart is in. So it's pretty clear that fish oil supplements improve the way your heart functions.

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So should you run out right now and get some fish oil supplements and forget all that time you spend exercising? Of course not. The point is not that fish oil will take the place of exercise. It's just that you will get more out of your gym time if your take it. But what about safety?

There are studies that point out that just taking any fish oil could actually be bad for you. There are four reasons for this. One is that unless you get the good stuff, there is a significant chance that the fish oil you are taking is rancid. So make sure that price is not something you skimp on when buying fish oil. I would never buy a cheap, generic brand of fish oil for this reason.

Second, even if the fish oil is prepared under nitrogen conditions so that it cannot get rancid, it could still go rancid in your body after you take it. So it should always be taken simultaneously with the critical fat-soluble antioxidants CoQ10, lipoic acid, and vitamin E. These protect the oil from becoming rancid.

Third, many fish oil supplements are contaminated by mercury. That's because the oceans are contaminated. This is true even if you eat fresh fish. So a good manufacturer of fish oil should be able to reassure you that the mercury has been removed before the product is encapsulated.

And last, there is the concern that taking pure fish oil as was done in this experiment might, over time, throw the body into an essential oil imbalance. There are more than a few studies that suggest that this might be a very real problem. So to counter that possible effect it makes sense to take your fish oil supplements along with the parent oils that maintain the balance.

So I want to recommend to you my favorite fish oil supplement. I recently formulated it to answer all four of these concerns. I don't believe there is any other marine oil product out there that covers so many bases. It is free of mercury, free of rancidity, and combined with CoQ10, vitamin E, lipoic acid, and also all of the parent oils that are so important. I call the product Complete Daily Oils, because it is complete in every aspect I can think of. I take two every day. And now, in addition to all of the many proven benefits of fish oil, I can rest assured that I will get more out of my exercise time. And so can you.

Yours for better health,

Macartney MJ, Hingley L, Brown MA, Peoples GE, et al. Intrinsic heart rate recovery after dynamic exercise is improved with an increased omega-3 index in healthy males. Br J Nutr. 2014 Dec;112(12):1984-92.

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