He should have received the Nobel Prize for his work. That’s what many people believe about Dr. John W. Gofman, and I count myself among them.
I first met Dr. Gofman and his team in the early 1960s at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a respected medical physics professor, and I was a young graduate student working on my doctorate in biophysics under the direction of one of his top investigators.
Dr. Gofman believed that the lipoproteins circulating in blood somehow played a role in the buildup of artery-clogging plaque, a condition that we now recognize as a cause of coronary heart disease.
Cutting edge research
These fatty molecules were difficult to study, but he had a novel idea. Why not measure their flotation rate in an analytical ultracentrifuge? It was complicated science, and it proved to be the best way to measure lipoproteins in the blood.
Armed with this information, Dr. Gofman was able to predict the incidence of heart disease in people who had high blood levels of lipoproteins. He then began looking for ways patients could improve their blood lipid profiles simply by changing their diet, exercise and other lifestyle habits.
Ultimately, he and his team identified a set of risk factors related to heart disease. It would be a first for medicine, and it’s still used today.
Prevention is what matters
I was lucky to be in the middle of such a scientific breakthrough and I was eager to put it to use to manage my own blood lipids. More than ever, I was committed to protecting my heart by doing what matters: Eat better, exercise more, and consume Nutrilite™ supplements to bring my diet into better balance.
When it comes to supporting my heart health, a daily omega-3 supplement is part of my routine. The cardio-supporting benefit of these fatty acids is well recognized. In fact, many health authorities around the world, including the World Health Organization, recommend an optimal intake of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA to support heart health.
Balancing fatty acids for heart health
Including an omega-3 supplement in my daily routine also helps balance the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fats. Both types of fatty acids are essential for human health, but an excess intake of omega-6 fatty acids can spell trouble.
Scientists believe humans likely evolved consuming a diet with about a 1 to 1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. Today, it’s a different story. With so many over-processed and fast food options in the typical Western diet, the omega 6 to 3 ratio has shifted. The typical Western diet now has an omega balance that has far too much omega-6s and not nearly enough omega-3s.
We can thank Artemis Simopoulos, MD, for uncovering the importance of the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid balance. Dr. Simopoulos is a pioneer in this area of research and a leading expert on the health benefits of this critical balance. We can also thank her for helping to shape the direction of omega-3 products for the Nutrilite™ brand, which are now among our top selling products around the world.
Tips for a better omega 3-6 balance
If you’re concerned that you’re not consuming enough omega-3 fats in relation to how much omega-6 fats you’re getting, there are a few simple things you can do to even out your diet.
First, cut down on over-processed and fast foods. In your home cooking, consider replacing corn, soy, sunflower and other vegetable oils that are high in omega-6 fats with ones that contain less omega-6 fats like olive oil.
Add a serving of salmon and other fatty fish like herring, mackerel, trout or anchovies to your meals a few times a week.
You can also eat plant sources of omega-3 fats such as chia seeds, walnuts, ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil.
Of course, adding an omega-3 supplement to your heart-healthy diet can help. I believe this daily habit is one of the easiest ways you can maintain your omega balance over the long term and ultimately help support your heart health.