The CDC recently completed an analysis of the research literature surrounding the impact of lifestyle on longevity and came up with some astounding figures.
According to the study:
1. Smoking kills 467,000 people ever year
2. High blood pressure kills 395,000 every year
3. Obesity kills 216,000 people yearly
4. Physical inactivity kills 191,000 yearly
5. High Salt intake kills 102,000 yearly
6. Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency kills 84,000
7. Trans-Fat intake kills 82,000
There are a few take home messages from this study. First, you can appreciate the totality of how your lifestyle choices impact your longevity. Many people come to us to ask us “what can I add to my program to improve my health?” My answer to them is, “what can we take away to improve your health?” Can we remove the cigarettes, the trans-fat, the excess salt, the 50 pounds that you are carrying around your midsection, etc. It makes no sense to focus on taking a fish oil if the person’s biggest vice is smoking which negatively impacts his health to a much greater degree than omega-3 deficiency. After we tackle these things then we can talk about adding things to improve health such as exercise, more fruits and vegetables and specific supplements.
Clearly, omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important supplements on the market. In fact, I believe that this figure of 84,000 greatly underestimates the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Now would be a good time to renew your commitment to taking an omega-3 fatty acid formula. People often ask us about the best type of omega-3 to take. With so many choices, it can certainly can get confusing. Given the current evidence, I still believe that fish oil is the optimal form of omega-3 fatty acid. You may have heard of krill oil which is currently being marketed as a superior omega-3 fatty acid. Unfortunately, we just do not have sufficient evidence to confirm this claim. For now, fish oil would be the omega-3 of choice. We commonly recommend the Super Omega-3 from Your Prescription for Health as this is a potent and purified product that is certified to be free from heavy metals as well as lipid peroxides. Many other good brands exist out there and New Chapter is currently preparing to launch their own fish oil product. Krill oil may be a better choice for people who cannot take larger fish oil capsules, people who cannot tolerate fish oil and those who have severe problems absorbing fat.