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Clemens von Schacky, Maximilian Kemper, Robert Haslbauer and Martin Halle

The Omega-3 Index is defined as erythrocyte eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and represents an individual’s status in these two marine omega-3 fatty acids. A target range of 8 to 11% has been suggested, because values below predispose to cardiovascular events, especially sudden cardiac death, as well as to suboptimal brain function, like prolonged reaction times or even depression. Compared with the general population, elite athletes have an increased incidence of sudden death. The Omega-3 Index has not yet been investigated in elite athletes. In an exploratory approach, we determined the Omega-3 Index in 106 consecutive German national elite winter endurance athletes presenting for preparticipation screening, using a well-established analytical procedure (HS-Omega-3 Index). Surprisingly, only one athlete had a value within the target range, but all others had values <8%. We conclude that we have identified a deficiency of EPA and DHA in these elite athletes. This deficiency presents a potential option for prevention of cardiovascular events such as sudden cardiac death, and improving aspects of brain function. It will be important to scrutinize our finding by more thorough epidemiologic studies and appropriate intervention trials.

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Melissa Jehn, Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss, Henner Hanssen, Tibor Schuster, Martin Halle and Friedrich Koehler


Assessment of habitual physical activity (PA) in patients with heart failure.


This study included 50 patients with heart failure (61.9 ± 4.0 yr). Seven days of PA were assessed by questionnaire (AQ), pedometer, and accelerometer and correlated with prognostic markers including VO2peak, percent left-ventricular ejection fraction, N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide, and New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class.


Accelerometry showed a stronger correlation with VO2peak and NYHA class (R = .73 and R = −.68; p < .001) than AQ (R = .58 and R = −.65; p < .001) or pedometer (R = .52 and R = −.50; p < .001). In the multivariable regression model accelerometry was the only consistent independent predictor of VO2peak (p = .002). Moreover, when its accuracy of prediction was tested, 59% of NYHA I and 95% of NYHA III patients were correctly classified into their assigned NYHA classes based on their accelerometer activity.


PA assessed by accelerometer is significantly associated with exercise capacity in patients with heart failure and is predictive of disease severity. The data suggests that PA monitoring can aid in evaluating clinical status.