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Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their heart-health benefits. From the reduction of triglyceride levels, balance of inflammation, and prevention of coronary events in people with heart disease to the improvement of abnormal cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish affect the heart in many ways.

A recent study published in the journal Circulation adds to the support of omega-3s for the heart. The study found that the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a 29 percent reduction in the risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common form of heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, in older individuals.

The study was an observational study that needs further investigation to confirm the association. Because the study examined prevention, rather than treatment, of heart arrhythmia, it has the potential to lead to very important research. The researchers stated, “Given the aging of the population, the significant and growing public health burden of atrial fibrillation, and the limited treatment options once atrial fibrillation develops, our results highlight the need to investigate atrial physiological and arrhythmic mechanisms affected by total and individual [omega-3 fatty acids] and to test the efficacy of [omega-3 fatty acids] for preventing new onset of atrial fibrillation among older adults in a randomized intervention.”

Heart arrhythmia is just one of an array of cardiovascular diseases—the number one killer of Americans. If you can find ways to prevent heart disease by addressing proper nutrition, then why not include an omega-3 supplement into your diet?

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After following more than a thousand South Florida beachgoers for a year, experts at the University of Miami discovered an alarming trend among people who frequently swam in the ocean. Compared to non-swimmers, those who spent time in the water experienced more gastrointestinal illness, more respiratory problems, and a significantly higher rate of skin disorders, even though beach areas were clean and the water unpolluted.

The culprit? Microscopic bacteria that thrive in the sub-tropical water temperatures. Such bacteria can enter the body through ingestion or skin contact and could potentially upset the healthy balance of bacteria in the digestive tract, which is essential for optimal digestion and immune function.

Experts warn that the harmful bacteria may pose a particular threat for children as well as older adults who may be lacking in healthy gut bacteria, and recommend taking the following precautions if planning a day at the beach:

  • Avoid swallowing ocean water.
  • Do not swim if you are ill, have diarrhea or open wounds.
  • Shower and wash your hands before and after swimming.
  • Take children on frequent bathroom breaks/diaper changes.

Research also shows that taking a daily high-potency probiotic supplement can help boost the numbers of good bacteria in the gut and help ward off potential harmful invaders. As a general rule, adults should look for supplement with at least 15 billion active cultures per once-daily serving.

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‡These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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