You may have heard that there’s one time of day when your risk of having a heart attack is greatest. It’s early in the morning.
And early-day heart attacks are not only more frequent, they are deadlier. They are 20% more likely to kill you.1
Doctors have never known exactly why people are more prone to heart attacks in the morning. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London recently set out to solve the mystery.
They collected blood from seven healthy volunteers and 16 patients with cardiovascular disease at different times of day.
They were looking for differences in the level of a group of molecules called specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs). They are produced from omega-3 fatty acids. These are the heart-healthy compounds found in fish oil and certain foods like fish, nuts, pastured eggs, and grass-fed animals.2
SPMs are involved in controlling the behavior of white blood cells and platelets in the bloodstream. They contribute to blood clot formation and inflammation in the arteries. Both lead to heart attacks and strokes.3
The researchers found that subjects without heart disease had increased levels of SPMs during the early morning hours. The level peaked around 7 a.m. This prevented the formation of tiny clots that have the potential to grow into dangerous ones.
It was a different story in subjects with heart disease. Their level of SPMs in the morning was only one-third of that in healthy people. And their arteries contained more tiny clots.
Researchers then moved on to a second part of the study. They took mice with heart disease and injected them with SPMs. They introduced SPMs into the mice’s bloodstream at night. Then they tested their blood in the morning and compared the results to a control group.
The SPM-treated mice produced only half as many tiny blood clots in the morning. The mice also showed a 20% reduction in arterial inflammation.
Dr. Jesmond Dalli is a senior lecturer in medicine at Queen Mary College. He was lead author of the study.
He said that the presence of SPMs “reduces their (white cells and platelets) ability to form tiny clots.”
“We were surprised to discover that a small group of molecules, previously thought not to have any clinical importance, actually appears to control this vital cell activation process (of clots forming),” he said.
The study recently was published in the journal Circulation Research.
How to Get SPMs
When it comes to heart supplements, fish oil gets all the publicity. Fish oil is the number one selling natural health supplement in the U.S., ahead of glucosamine/chondroitin and probiotics.4
But fish oil cannot give you a therapeutic dosage of SPMs. For that, you must take SPMs directly.
You may not have even heard they exist. But SPM supplements are available online and in some health food stores.
If you are concerned about your heart, take a quality SPM supplement before bedtime. Follow the dosage on the label. It may help you make it through the most dangerous time of the day.
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