In my last post, I shared how we pioneered the first Omega-3 Test
that lets individuals check their Omega-3 Index
and Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio
using a convenient home blood test. Our Gene Smart Wellness venture now sells a more comprehensive Omega-3 Test from Vital Choice.
I recently re-tested my omega-3 blood levels. Here’s what I learned…
My Omega-3 Index Score
I am happy with my Omega-3 Index score of 9.5%. That score is well above the desired level of 8% or greater. In large population studies
, those with a high Omega-3 Index were up to 10 times less likely to die from sudden heart attack than those with a low score. Because my score is above 8% I am in the lowest risk category.
Taking the test gives me confidence that my personal omega-3 routine is working for me.
The Omega-3 Index is a measure of the Omega-3s EPA & DHA as a percent of total fatty acids in red blood cells. EPA & DHA are the cardio-protective omega-3
found in fish.
In a perfect world, I would get my omega-3 from foods, but the reality is that we rarely cook fish at home, especially during the Chicago-winters when our grill is buried under several feet of snow. I do enjoy salmon and other high omega-3 fish
when I eat at restaurants, but that accounts for no more than a couple of meals each month.
So, I credit my strong Omega-3 Index results to my daily omega-3 supplement. I take our Gene Smart Omega-3 Fish Oil
that we designed to support an anti-inflammatory diet. It uses a premium quality, concentrated omega-3 fish oil, so I get a healthy dose (1,200mg) of EPA + DHA by taking just two soft gels a day. I take one soft gel with breakfast and the second with lunch.
My Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio
I was less pleased with my Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio. This measure is associated with the constant presence of low-level inflammation in our bodies known as whole body inflammation
My score of 4:1 is safely within the desired range of 5:1 or lower, but it is higher than the ideal ratio of 2:1 or even 1:1.
Since my Omega-3 Index score is where I want it, these test results lets me know that I need to work on the omega-6 side of the ratio. In other words, I need to reduce the amount of omega-6 in my diet. So, I will work on reducing my consumption of foods made with soybean oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil. These are the top three sources of omega-6
in the American diet.
More About Omega-3 Testing
To learn more about Omega-3 Testing, I invite you to visit the GeneSmart.com
website. While you are there, download their Free Healthy Eating Guide
. It includes several convenient food lists including High Omega-6 Sources and the Omega-3 Levels of Fish & Seafood.
And why everyone should have their Omega-3 Index checked!
Through one of our ventures, Gene Smart Wellness, Cherry Street Innovation pioneered the first omega-3 test that lets individuals check their Omega-3 Index and Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio using a convenient home blood test. Here’s why…
After nearly 20 years as a food industry executive where I grew many businesses and led the development & launch of more than $1 billion in new products, I started Cherry Street in 2004 to create evidence-based new ventures to meaningfully improve the health & wellbeing of America.
One of the best things about creating new social enterprises is spending time with some of the smartest minds & thought leaders of our time. One of these great minds belongs to Dr. Ski Chilton, a good friend & compassionate scientist who heads the Center for Botanical Lipids & Inflammatory Disease Prevention
at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Dr. Chilton’s research center is a collaboration between Wake Forest, Harvard, Johns Hopkins & Colorado Universities that is funded by a $7.5 million NIH grant to study the effects of omega-3 on human health. He & his colleagues know more about the science of omega-3s than just about anyone in the world.Discovering the Omega-3 Index
Several years ago, Dr. Chilton told us about the compelling research behind the Omega-3 Index,
a blood marker which had been proposed
by one of his scientific colleagues as a new independent risk factor for death from coronary heart disease. The Omega-3 Index is a measure of EPA and DHA as a percent of total fatty acids in red blood cell membranes. EPA and DHA are omega-3s found in fish & fish oil.
As we dug in, we were blown away by the research
. In large population studies, the Omega-3 Index was shown to be a much better predictor of heart disease risk than cholesterol. In fact, in the Physician’s Health Study which tracked nearly 15,000 healthy male physicians, those with a low Omega-3 Index were up to 10 times more likely to die from a sudden heart attack than those with a high Omega-3 Index. (That’s right, ten times!) A Major Opportunity to Improve America’s Health
According to the CDC
, heart attacks account for 1 in 4 deaths in America (about 600,000 deaths per year), making the strong correlation between the Omega-3 Index and death from sudden heart attack especially relevant to America’s health. We were alarmed to learn that the average Omega-3 Index among Americans is only about 4%, which is well below the cardio-protective levels found in the studies of 8% or greater.
Those with a low Omega-3 Index can improve their scores by simply eating more high omega-3 fish
and taking a quality fish oil supplement (like the one our Gene Smart venture sells
on its website).Translating Science to Social Impact
Getting a new risk factor like the Omega-3 Index approved as a standard test in our health care system can take a decade or more. And, because the intervention is nutritional and does not require a patented drug, there is no financial incentive for large pharmaceutical companies to invest resources to expedite the process.
Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in America. We believed that waiting a decade or more for individuals to reap the benefit of this promising test was far too long. That’s why we took the lead and used our marketing & scientific know-how to launch an omega-3 test in the direct-to-consumer market. We knew that pioneers rarely make a lot of money. Our goal was more about creating social value by accelerating the adoption of omega-3 testing, especially in the health care industry where the diagnostic test has the greatest opportunity to positively impact America’s health.Taking the Lead, as Social Entrepreneurs
In the fall of 2009, on a shoestring budget, we launched the first Omega-3 Test that lets individuals check their Omega-3 Index and Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio
using a convenient home blood test kit. As hoped, our Gene Smart® test created tremendous buzz with national media, culminating with The Dr. Oz Show
airing a full segment using our test to promote the benefits of omega-3 & omega-6 testing.
All of this awareness is paying off. One of the leading national labs
recently introduced omega-3 testing to its health care industry customers, and we are now seeing a small but growing contingent of progressive doctors checking their patients’ Omega-3 Index. And, in the consumer market, several of our friends at leading omega-3 supplement companies have introduced their own omega-3 tests as a means to sell more of their products. We are thrilled with all of this activity. It will create even more awareness and further accelerate the adoption of omega-3 testing, which is a very good thing for America's health.
Our Gene Smart venture is now selling a more comprehensive Omega-3 Test
from Vital Choice that was developed by one of Dr. Chilton’s uber-omega-3 scientist colleagues, Dr. Bill Lands. We believe that it’s the best omega-3 test currently on the market.What’s Next?
At Cherry Street, we are working on a pipeline of new innovations
to improve America’s health & wellbeing. We are particularly excited about a new faith-based community wellness model
that we are launching later this year to reduce health disparities through evidence-based church small group programs that make the connection between our spiritual and physical wellbeing. Stay tuned.
Living Abundantly Ministries announced today a grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries to finalize its first church small group program that makes the connection between our spiritual and physical health
Wheaton, IL (January 23, 2013) – Supported by a grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries, new Christian health ministry Living Abundantly Ministries will launch its "Come Alive!" program in in 2013. The program is being developed under the leadership of Executive Director Angela Stephenson and Cherry Street Innovation, an organization that creates new approaches to improve America’s health.
“Our lives are multi-dimensional and that makes lasting behavior change hard to achieve,” said Ms. Stephenson, “that’s why our interactive Christ-centered program starts with one’s relationship with God and addresses the inter-relationship between the health of our spirit, body, mind and community.”
“We believe that the fellowship found in church small groups is the ideal setting to address our nation's crisis of imbalance, overweight & chronic disease,” said Keith Wakeman, President of Cherry Street Innovation. “And, with over 300,000 churches in America, a familiar small group approach has the potential to impact large numbers of people, including many who would otherwise be unreached.”
“Wheat Ridge Ministries is excited to support this important ministry,” said Brian Becker, Vice President for Ministry Programs. “They’re a great fit with our focus of seeding sustainable ministries that help people around the world experience wellness of body, mind and spirit made possible in Christ.”
Living Abundantly Ministries is a Christian health ministry that creates small group programs that are ecumenical and evidence-based. A successful study of its church-based approach has been published in the Center for Disease Control’s Preventing Chronic Disease Journal.
About Living Abundantly Ministries
Located in Wheaton, Illinois, Living Abundantly Ministries is a non-profit Christian ministry that develops church small group programs that make the connection between the health of our spirit, body, mind and community. Learn more at http://www.LivingAbundantlyMinistries.org
About Wheat Ridge Ministries
Wheat Ridge Ministries provides start-up funding and resources to inspired leaders in congregations and nonprofit organizations beginning new and innovative human care initiatives. Currently, more than 70 Lutheran-affiliated ministries around the world are receiving assistance through Wheat Ridge. http://www.WheatRidge.org
About Cherry Street Innovation
Cherry Street Innovation is a strategy and new venture development firm that creates new approaches to improve America’s health. http://www.CherryStreetInnovation.com
The Clinton Foundation Health Matters Conference last week was amazing. Check out the highlight reel.
Keith has a cameo appearance! Look behind President Clinton to his right at 2:01 in the video:)
We've announced our partnership between Ardmore Institute of Health and American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) to advance the adoption of lifestyle medicine into clinical practice. Read press release
One-third of severely malnourished children are in India. To guide the right solutions, Gene Smart's Dr. Ski Chilton and a team of fellow scientists have received a NIH grant to study the genetic capacity of different populations to make long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which are critical for brain, eye, & immune system development early in life
Keith serves as head of strategy for Ardmore Institute of Health, the non-profit behind The Full Plate Diet
Soon you’ll start seeing a new name around. We’ve adopted Full Plate Living as the name for our lifestyle approach to healthy eating & weight loss.
Why Full Plate Living? We’re in the process of creating some words to communicate the “why” behind our Full Plate Living mission. Here's a draft of what we're thinking.We provide practical and long-term solutions for reaching life’s goals through better nutrition. We believe healthy eating should be a positive and empowering experience. Our nonprofit community of moms, dads, dietitians, nutritionists and physicians are united by these principles:
1. We stand against deprivation and stand up for full plates of delicious food.
2. We stand against those who complicate healthy eating and stand up for keeping things simple and easy.
3. We stand against quick fixes and stand up for sustainable, healthy eating.
4. We stand against profiteering from specialty, prescribed foods or ingredients and stand up for the freedom to enjoy foods you love.
We believe in full plates that have a healthy purpose. Full Plate Living is for anyone who wants to live life to its fullest.
We are a passionate community working to improve people’s health and vitality so they can live more meaningful lives.
What about Full Plate Diet? It probably didn't take you long to realtize the Full Plate Diet was not just a diet but a sustainable way of living. Full Plate Diet will continue to be a key part of our content.
We’ll continue to share simple ways to improve your "diet." We’ll also be introducing the notion of "living" because we believe a full plate can be for life.
Free Game Helps Individuals Shed Pounds for Good
I have some exciting news to share about Full Plate Diet, a terrfic non-profit for which I have the honor of serving as Head of Strategy
. Earlier this year, I presented a bold new strategy to the non-profit's board, along with a refined mission to improve the health and vitality of people to live more meaningful lives
We just announced a strategic partnership between Full Plate Diet
to deliver our approach to lasting weight loss and healthy eating through a new on-line game that helps individuals achieve their health goals. The free Full Plate Diet Weight Loss PowerPack
is part of the SuperBetter game that was introduced at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas on Friday.
“Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. With so many people struggling to lose weight and keep it off, we need a new approach,” said Sid Lloyd, Full Plate Diet’s CEO. “We are thrilled to be working together with SuperBetter to make a major impact on lives in America and around the world.”
Based on the New York Times best-selling book, Full Plate Diet is a healthy lifestyle-based weight loss program that emphasizes eating natural, fiber-rich whole foods. The easy-to-follow program helps participants lose weight without hunger and keep the weight off with proven practices that support lasting behavior
SuperBetter was created by renowned game designer Jane McGonigal
. “Full Plate Diet is an incredible organization that shares our philosophy of tapping positive emotions and social connections to help people achieve their goals,” said Jane. “We couldn’t be more excited about our partnership.”
To play SuperBetter and access the Full Plate Diet Weight Loss PowerPack, visit www.SuperBetter.com
. Full Plate Diet also offers a free online membership that provides a range of recipes and weight loss resources at www.FullPlateDiet.org
. About Full Plate Diet
Full Plate Diet is part of Ardmore Institute of Health, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating new evidence-based approaches to improve the health and vitality of people to live more meaningful lives. The team is passionate about making the journey towards weight loss and better health as simple, fun and exciting as possible. www.fullplatediet.org
. About SuperBetter
SuperBetter is a social venture based in San Francisco that creates world changing games powered by the science of positive emotion and social connection. www.SuperBetter.com