Learn About Omega-3 and Inflammation: A Doctor Explains
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Omega-3 and Inflammation

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An established connection between inflammation and an increased risk of developing chronic disease has existed for years. Cooper Aerobics Founder and Chairman Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, shares his findings on the relationship between omega-3 and chronic inflammation and omega-3’s role as an anti-inflammatory.


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Omega-3 offers many important benefits to the body and even the mind. One important benefit is its analgesic properties—which simply means it helps effectively control pain†. I’ve reviewed some of the products advertised on TV that claim to reduce or control pain and noted some have minor amounts of omega-3. It is also an anticoagulant, meaning it helps prevent blood clots†. However, the most important benefit omega-3 offers is its anti-inflammatory effect, which is why I take omega-3 and recommend it to patients.

Reversing the pathology of inflammation

My increased interest in inflammation being a major factor of many chronic diseases is not surprising, having founded a preventive medicine clinic more than 50 years ago. According to a 2019 Harvard Magazine article, “Could Inflammation Be the Cause of Myriad Chronic Conditions,” the author states you can have a brain full of plaques and tangles, but if you do not have inflammation, you are less likely to develop chronic diseases. Chronic inflammation is the root cause of the process of the onset of chronic disease but, if interfered with by an anti-inflammatory such as omega-3, one can reverse this pathology. Inflammation is measured by the C-reactive protein through a simple blood test. Additional factors that can cause chronic inflammation include oxidative stress, pollution, smoking, processed food, sugar, and refined carbohydrates.

Altering inflammation’s trajectory through healthy habits

The two most important reasons fueling my passion for prevention are inactivity and obesity. The presence of inactivity is seen predominantly in the southern central part of the United States along the Mississippi River and much less on the West Coast, with Colorado having the lowest obesity rates. If one can control their diet, increase their exercise levels and manage their weight, they can keep chronic inflammation down—which we have researched in The Cooper Institute’s Medicare study. Over a period of 25 years, we followed 18,670 healthy adults from roughly 49 years of age to 75 years of age. Those in the top category of fitness in mid-life, at age 49, reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia 36% more than those in the bottom or poor fitness category. At baseline, generally, the people in the top category of fitness were lean and trim (24.4 BMI), while those in the bottom category were overweight (28.3 BMI) and inactive.


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This essential combination of exercise and weight management proved to be a major factor in dramatically reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It was shown to reduce the frequency of congestive heart failure as well as chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis when inflammation levels were low in test subjects. Another study we conducted showed the combination of exercise and supplementing a healthy diet with Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 softgels and Basic One multivitamin effective in lowering C-reactive protein 13% and controlling inflammation.

Optimal supplementation combination

High levels of the homocysteine hormone have also been associated with heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Homocysteine is related to folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 levels. A study revealed supplementing with our Original Iron Free multivitamin lowered homocysteine 17.2%, C-reactive protein levels 32%, and oxidized LDL cholesterol 14.6%. This is why omega-3 supplementation works best when taken in conjunction with a multivitamin that contains these B vitamins (as well as vitamin D) in order to reduce chronic inflammation, which can lead to the onset of chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s.

I recommend taking 1,400 mg of omega-3 fatty acids twice daily (four Advanced Omega-3 softgels daily), but if possible, have your blood levels measured and adjust the dosage accordingly. Cooper Clinic began assessing the omega-3 index of each patient in 2009. The OmegaQuant test analyzes red blood cell membranes for the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Your omega-3 blood levels should be 8% or higher to achieve optimal results. When it comes to supplementation, quality is key. Not all omega-3 sources are created equal, and the amount of concentrated omega-3 in each varies greatly.  Our Cooper Complete Omega-3 product contains 60% EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), important nutrients that aid the development of the body. It is important to remember a well-balanced diet provides a solid foundation for reaping the benefits of supplementation. By consuming fish regularly in your diet, particularly salmon, you can increase your omega-3 levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Research not only supports the role of omega-3 in reducing inflammation but, more importantly, preventing inflammation. Omega-3 and controlling chronic inflammation go hand-in-hand—which is why you must first prevent or effectively treat chronic inflammation in order to prevent chronic diseases.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Founder and Chairman Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH.

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