Do you have a history of blood clots? Does the problem run high in your family? If so, you should know about a new study that shows an easy, safe, and inexpensive way to lower your risk. It could just save your life.
The technical term for getting blood clots is venous thromboembolism or VTE for short. VTE is the third most common cardiovascular illness after heart attacks and strokes. And it's not uncommon. About one million cases occur in the United States each year. And it can be very serious — about one-third of those people die when the clots break off and travel to their lungs. When that happens, it is referred to as a pulmonary embolism. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "Pulmonary embolism is the third most common cause of hospital-related death and the most common preventable cause of hospital-related death." Wouldn't it be great if there was a simple way to reduce the risk?
In this new study, researchers looked at 23,621 men and women aged 25-97 years old. The study followed these volunteers for an average of 15.8 years. The researchers wanted to see if fish oils were able to prevent VTEs. It makes sense because fish oils are well known to decrease the tendency to form clots. So they calculated how much total fish oils each person was getting from eating fish and taking supplements. Then they compared that to their chances of developing a VTE. Here's what they found.
The folks who ate fish more than three times a week were 22% less likely to have a VTE than those who ate fish one to two times a week. And this reduction in risk was even greater when the high fish eaters took additional fish oil supplements. In that case, the risk dropped a whopping 48%.
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The amount of fish oils varies quite a bit among the different kinds of fish. But on average, a serving of fish, for example cod, contains about half a gram of EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the important oils in fish oil. That one-half gram amount is just about the same amount of EPA and DHA that is in one fish oil capsule. So for those of you who don't necessarily eat fish more than three times a week, you can get the same benefit by taking a fish-oil capsule three or more times a week. And to get the 48% risk reduction, get in the habit of taking it every day. This is especially important for those at most risk. Who would that be?
Virtually anyone in the hospital for any reason is at an increased of VTE. Those at an especially high risk would be those who are bedridden or who are immobile because of pelvic or leg trauma or surgery. Also, men on testosterone therapy and women on synthetic hormone replacement therapy have an increased risk.
Not long ago, I designed Complete Daily Oils to be the perfect fish oil supplement. It's a completely unique blend of fish oils with other important oils and nutrients. High-risk people should take three capsules per day. Others should take one to two capsules per day
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Hansen-Krone IJ, Enga KF, Südduth-Klinger JM, et al. High fish plus fish oil intake is associated with slightly reduced risk of venous thromboembolism: the Tromsø Study. J Nutr. 2014 Jun;144(6):861-7.