DHA, Heart Health, and Socioeconomic Status

June 9, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 DHA, Heart Health, and Socioeconomic Status
Researchers looking at socioeconomic status and heart health came upon the interesting discovery that they had a significant lack of essential fatty acids1 in their red blood cells (meaning they don't consume much dietary or supplemental DHA or EPA).

Health conscious consumers have known for quite a few years to supplement their diets with essential fatty acids like DHA. It is well known that lower income individuals eat a lot more junk food and junk fat, setting the stage for early onset of self-inflicted disease.

With some sort of national health care on the horizon these issues become more important than ever, since the cost of care for these self-inflected problems will be disproportionately shifted to those who are taking better care of themselves.

It is high time our government actually did something effective. First of all, the mercury, PCB, and toxic residue levels in omega-3 oil fatty fish should be measured and a strict levels of exposure should be mandated by law so that when Americans eat these fish we know they are safe.

Secondly, there should be mandatory levels of grass feeding for all dairy and red meat foods, with consequent assays of the omega 3 fatty acids in these animals before they can be sold anywhere as food to eat (right now most meats and dairy products contain little omega 3).

Such efforts would drastically alter heart health in this country, while providing all Americans with a higher quality food supply. Of course, these changes are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of improving the food supply.

I am waiting to hear from any candidate that has the slightest plan to actual improve the quality of food in this country – and consequently the quality of health for our citizens (a true reduction in health care expenses).

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Lack of DHA Linked to Heart Disease in Low Income Americans  Journal of Nutrition  Beth E. Cohen, Sachin K. Garg, Sadia Ali, William S. Harris and Mary A. Whooley.

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