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Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Spine Health

For normal growth and development, omega-3 fatty acids are essential. Since our bodies are unable to make omega-3’s, it must come from our diets.

Omega-3 is found in walnuts, soybeans, tofu, flaxseed, canola oil, cod liver, and cold-water fish such as tuna and salmon. The American Heart Association recommends 1 gram per day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for patients with heart disease; they also recommend eating fish twice a week for maintenance. In patients with heart disease, it would appear that omega-3 fatty acids reduce cellular aging.

There is strong evidence that omega-3’s can lower blood pressure and bad (LDL) cholesterol. There are studies that suggest omega-3 fatty acids benefit patients with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Inadequate omega-3 fatty acids result in bone loss. Degeneration of the spine may be delayed by high doses and this may result in bleeding, so anyone considering this should consult their physician.

Risks of taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements can result in gastrointestinal upset. People who are pregnant, on blood thinners, on anti-inflammatories (Advil, Aleve, Motrin), taking ginkgo biloda, or diabetics should consult your physician.

Are you doing everything you can to prevent spinal aging? Gulf Coast Spine Care can review your health needs and personalize a plan for you.

To learn more about Dr. Cotler or to schedule an appointment, please call us on (713) 523-8884.

 

Howard B. Cotler, MD, FACS, FAAOS is board certified and recertified in Orthopedic Surgery. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.

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