What’s the new rage? Omega-3 Index

Blood omega-3 oils could be just as or more important than blood LDL cholesterol levels.

Last week I attended a conference in Las Vegas where I heard a cardiologist say bluntly that doctors need to be retrained to stop limiting their focus to blood LDL cholesterol for preventing heart disease and start using the novel Omega-3 Index.

What’s that?

According to a 2004 article in Preventative Medicine, the index serves as a “novel, physiologically relevant, easily modified, independent, and graded risk factor for death from CHD that could have significant clinical utility.”(1)

The Omega-3 Index is used as a biomarker to measure the percentage of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in the blood cell membranes.(2) The omega-3 oils replace other fatty acids.(2)

A high value of omega-3 oils is linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as other benefits.(2) A value of 8 percent or above in omega-3 oils can mean a 90 percent reduced risk of sudden cardiac death.(2)


1. Harris, WS, Von Schacky, C. The Omega-3 Index: a new risk factor for death from coronary heart disease. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15208005. Accessed on November 1, 2008.

2. Daniells, S. Omega-3 index could be goalpoasts for max heart health. Available at: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Omega-3-index-could-be-goalposts-for-max-heart-health. Accessed on November 1, 2008.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: