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New Omega-3 Blood Test: A Better Predictor of Coronary Heart Disease Than Cholesterol
Date:8/19/2009

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ --A new blood test, measuring the level of omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells, is now broadly available for the first time to the public everywhere as a consumer-friendly, at-home "finger stick" test. While scientists have long known of the benefits of fish and fish oil for overall heart health, over the past decade research has proven that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish dramatically reduce one's risk for cardiovascular disease. Further, recent research indicates that omega-3 levels may be among the best predictors of future coronary heart disease - providing much stronger correlations to the risk of sudden cardiac death than traditional indicators, including HDL and LDL cholesterol.

The Gene Smart Omega-3 Index measures the amount of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cell membranes and is expressed as the percent of total fatty acids. The results of the test are represented as a score that a significant body of research indicates may be an independent predictor of heart disease - with a score of 4 percent or less indicating a high risk, and a score of 8 percent or more indicating a relatively low risk.

"The research suggests that the levels of omega-3 fatty acids should be routinely measured, especially in vulnerable populations such as those at risk of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases," said Floyd "Ski" Chilton, PhD, a pioneer in inflammatory disease and omega-3 research and a professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "This test is the most convenient, affordable and effective way to measure omega-3 levels."

However, very recent studies suggest that individuals have varying capacities to metabolize omega-3s. "So even if a person eats fish or takes fish oil supplements, they may not be getting enough," Dr. Chilton added. "It is important
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SOURCE Gene Smart
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