Guest: Dr. William Harris
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: William S. Harris, PhD, FAHA – President and CEO of OmegaQuant. Dr. Harris obtained his PhD in Human Nutrition from the University of Minnesota, and did post-doctoral fellowships in Clinical Nutrition and Lipid Metabolism at the Oregon Health Sciences University. Dr. Harris is currently a Professor in the Department of Medicine in the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota.
Segment overview: Dr. Bill Harris, the founder, president and CEO of OmegaQuant, discusses new research with RBC Fatty Acids and the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
Health Professional Radio – RBC Fatty Acids
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program, I’m your host Neal Howard here on Health Professional Radio. A brand new study from the Journal Circulation was published recently and found that fish oil maybe especially beneficial right after a heart attack. Our guest in studio today is Dr. Bill Harris, Founder, President and CEO of OmegaQuant and he’s here to discuss some of the survices offered at OmegaQuant and these findings of this recently published study. Welcome to the program Dr. Harris.
Dr. William Harris: Thank you very much.
N: Thank you. Talking about this study that’s just been published could you go into a little bit more detail about the findings?
H: Sure, that study was centered in Boston, firstly the primary author was Raymond Kwong who’s a cardiologist and he organized a study where it took about 320 people who had a heart attack and did a cardiac MRI on them to look at the cardiac structure within about 2 or 3 weeks after their cardiac event and then at that point randomized them to 4 grams a day of high dose omega-3, the pharmaceutical omega-3 product called Lovaza or placebo and followed them again for 6 months to see how things would go. They did another MRI of the heart and what he found was that those in the fish oil group showed improved what they call remodeling of the heart that the left ventricle was not as scarred as badly and it functioned better in the omega-3 group than in the placebo group. So this is a nice demonstration that the higher levels of omega-3 after a heart attack could be beneficial and maybe reduce risk for future heart failure.
N: Okay. Reducing risk for future heart failure, are we talking about reversing and healing of this scar tissue and the effects of a heart attack?
H: Well I think we’re talking about prevention of development of scar tissue, in this particular study again they didn’t start the omega-3 till 2 or 3 weeks after the heart attack which in the next study Dr. Kwong wants to do and I think it’s appropriate he wants to start the omega-3 is the day after the heart attack soon as possible and that makes a lot of sense. So when the heart is going to its initial recovery and healing that’s when he need high doses of omega-3 on board. So we should see benefit, even better benefit if we do the study that way. Our lab was involved with the study as well as we measured the omega-3 index in all these patients and correlated it with improved left ventricular function.
N: Was OmegaQuant involved in the study that found that cardiac patients who received omega-3 fatty acids before surgery faired a bit better after surgery, were you involved in that and could you talk about that study?
N: Yes, so that study that you’re referring to was a meta-analysis. So meaning it was a summary of a variety of other studies it wasn’t its own stand-alone study. So it was a survey of other studies and they averaged out the results of a variety of studies and did find that people who’ve been given omega-3 around their time of cardiac surgery, open-heart surgery had less or shorter hospital stays and actually reduced risk for post-operative atrial fibrillation which is has been an area of intense study in the omega-3 world. So that stuff, that’s a good finding that we think the omega-3s are beneficial and actually right now doing an analysis on a study looking at the effects of omega-3 on bleeding risk. There’s always been a little concern about bleeding and omega-3 which is misplaced in our view, so we think the omega-3’s actually helped reduced risk for bleeding instead of increasing it and we’ve got some data to support that now.
N: Now you’re talking about reducing the risk of bleeding as opposed to I guess the popular belief?
N: If that’s the case then what would you say in your opinion is that one thing or maybe a couple of things that have contributed to this shorter hospital stay in addition to reduced risk of bleeding?
H: One is probably the general anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 that are systemic and how that exactly plays out in affecting a link of stay frankly I couldn’t tell you. I don’t know how that would work but people just heal faster, seemed to be little better off with the omega-3 is on board. They’re able to resolve some of their inflammation quicker and that may contributed to their shorter stays.
N: Now OmegaQuant is located in South Dakota, talk about some of the services that are offered by OmegaQuant.
H: Yeah OmegaQuant is a laboratory and that we have a very special focus on measuring blood and tissue and breastmilk levels of omega-3 fatty acids and other fatty acids as well. So we work with researchers both in the United States and around the world who are doing studies that have, who are knowing the levels of omega-3 in the blood are important. And so again we get blood samples in from big research trials, we also get blood samples in on dried blood spots, they come in from consumers who order a test on our website. We also work with doctors who use the omega-3 index test in their practices to help guide their treatment of patients.
N: Now you mentioned a website, what is the address?
H: Yeah, it’s simply omegaquant.com.
N: We talked a bit about prevention, the prevention of the second heart attack after the first can fish oil just simply reduce the risk of heart attack in the first place even if I’ve never had a heart attack?
H: That’s what I believe, I think that’s true. We haven’t really got a good study to prove that because nobody’s gonna, that kind of study would require maybe 5 or 10 years or 15 years of treatment with omega-3 or a placebo and then see who develops heart attacks and nobody’s gonna do that study. So based on simply the levels of omega-3 in the blood in populations studies we can see that higher levels of omega-3 are associated consistently with a reduced risk of death from any cause, so people do live long with higher omega-3. And also they have reduced risk for heart disease and maybe some other, and dementia we think. Interestingly the Japanese who have the highest omega-3 levels in the world also have about the longest life in the world, longest lifespan so it don’t prove anything but it’s consistent. Yes it’s a good problem they have. (Laughs)
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. And we’ve been in studio talking with Dr. Bill Harris, Founder, President and CEO of OmegaQuant. It’s been great having you here with us today.
H: Thank you very much Neal, I enjoyed it.
N: Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.