Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Prong-1)

  • Nicholas L. DePace
  • Joseph Colombo


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) include Omega-3s, Omega-6s, and Omega-9s. Omega-3s include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These are parts of lipoproteins, including low- and high-density lipoproteins (LDLs and HDLs, respectively). LDLs have a bad reputation due to their involvement in atherosclerosis; however, like many things in life, they are needed in moderation. LDLs are critical to life. LDLs are required in nerves for proper nerve conduction and neuromuscular function. LDLs, by themselves, are not bad. They become bad when they are oxidized by free radicals or other oxidants. If there are too many LDLs, then they are available for oxidation (they are not bound to nerve and other membranes and thereby protected from oxidation). When they are oxidized (“burned”) by free radicals, they become “sticky” (known as foam cells) and may adhere to endothelial cells, especially those that line the walls of blood vessels. Foam cells are the start of the process that leads to atherosclerosis. Fortunately this process may be reversed, or better yet prevented, which reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke. All six prongs of the Mind-Body Wellness Program work together to stop LDLs from being oxidized by reducing the numbers of LDLs, increasing the numbers of HDLs (thereby increasing the HDL to LDL ratio), increasing the antioxidant to oxidant ratio, and helping to prevent oxidized LDLs from binding to endothelial cells by increasing nitric oxide levels, through stress reduction, both at the cellular level (oxidative stress) and the system level (psychosocial stress).


Atherosclerosis Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) Foam cells Free radicals HDLs Omega-3 fatty acids Oxidized LDLs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas L. DePace
    • 1
  • Joseph Colombo
    • 2
  1. 1.Franklin Cardiovascular Associates, PA and Autonomic Dysfunction and POTS CenterSewellUSA
  2. 2.TMCAMS, Inc.Franklin Cardiovascular Associates, PA and Autonomic Dysfunction and POTS CenterRichboroUSA

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