Good morning! It's Saturday, June 15th and you're reading your handcrafted edition of the DailyDose newsletter. 

Both stories this week, coincidentally, are regarding heart health and they both cite studies that were published this past week. If you have a study you'd like us to review, you can reply directly to this email and we'll make it happen in a future newsletter. 

As always, thanks for reading and staying informed!
Artificial Sweetener Xylitol Associated with Heart Attacks and Stroke

To decrease calories consumption, many people consume products sweetened with artificial sugars. Some common ones are sucralose, aspartame, and the subject of this review, xylitol. Where sucralose and aspartame are most commonly seen on labels of diet sodas and other drinks, xylitol is more commonly used for hygiene products like breath mints, toothpaste and mouthwash, as well as flavored medicines. 

According to the FDA, xylitol is considered dangerous for dogs to consume but is still readily used in human products. A recent study observed the impacts of xylitol on human subjects and their blood biology. The authors reported a 3-year increased risk of a "major adverse cardiovascular event" if xylitol is at a detectable level in the blood of subjects. Major adverse cardiovascular events essentially refer to heart attacks. Additionally, in animal models (mice) and human models, the authors reported that xylitol increased blood clotting, a phenomenon that leads to stroke and deep vein thrombosis. 

With consumer demand for low-calorie alternatives increasing, the authors note the need for further research to address what's unknown about this sweetener. In general, a couple of studies aren't nearly enough to make conclusive decisions regarding something, but it's best practice to avoid things like xylitol that have unknowns associated with them. 
Fish Oil Pills Found to Cause More Harm Than Good

Around 7.8% of American adults regularly consume fish oil supplements, which are mainly marketed for heart health. The incentive to consume fish oil is because of something called omega-3 fatty acid, a type of fatty acid that the human body cannot produce, but is very necessary. 

Even though so many Americans supplement omega-3 fatty acids daily, there's actually very little evidence to suggest that these pills improve heart health. Contrarily, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids through food sources (fish, fruit, seeds) has repeatedly shown an improvement in cholesterol levels through various studies. 

A recent study involving over 400,000 participants examined the effects of fish oil supplements on heart health. It was found with a 95% confidence interval that healthy individuals who consumed fish oil supplements had an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, a type of unusual heart rhythm that manifests as a thumping feeling. Additionally, regular consumption also increases risk of stroke. According to this study, fish oil supplements are a risk factor for atrial fibrillation and stroke. 

Interestingly, this study also found that for people with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions, consumption of fish oil actually reduced risk of atrial fibrillation, stroke and cardiac related deaths. This study concluded that healthy individuals consuming fish oil as a preventative measure for cardiovascular conditions stand to potentially harm their health. People with cardiac issues consuming fish oil, on the other hand, actually stand to benefit. 

For those who intend to prevent cardiovascular disease, there are alternatives to fish oil supplements that have been shown to actually reduce risk. For one, whole foods that contain omega-3 are great options. Additionally, tree nuts like the Brazil nut have been shown to reduce cholesterol and even treat cardiovascular disease, by decreasing oxidative stress causing cholesterol buildup. 
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