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Ask Dr. Mike: Melatonin, Omega-3s, Dementia & Vaccines

Got a health question? Find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans.

Listen in, because what you come to know helps ensure healthy choices you can actually live with.

This week on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

I had a stent put in, should I take fish and krill oil?

If you've had a stent put in, or have had bypass surgery, you need to have a PLAC test done. This is a simple blood test that measures the amount of lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2, Lp-PLA2, an enzyme associated with inflammation in the walls of your arteries. This will tell your doctor how well your stent or bypass is doing. Anything over 200 may mean there is another blockage and you may need another surgery.

With that said, yes, you should be taking both fish and krill oil. You should be takingĀ at least two grams of omega-3s a day. If you're at a moderate or high risk for heart disease, you should be taking at least four grams. However, if you've had a stent or bypass, you should be taking both krill and fish oil.

Can statin medications cause dementia?

Doctors at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have discovered a cholesterol metabolite that seems to be high in Alzheimer's patients. They wanted to further investigate statins to see if they crossed the blood/brain barrier and resulted in bringing down this specific brain cholesterol metabolite. So, they started testing.

They found that statin medications do, in fact, cross the blood/brain barrier and decrease this specific cholesterol metabolite. However, if you lower cholesterol in the brain by too much, it is associated with worsening Alzheimer's and dementia scores. It's important to know that these results are not conclusive, but something to keep an eye on.

Is it safe to take melatonin everyday?

Yes, it is. If you need to take melatonin every night to get a good night's sleep, then you should. Here's why: the benefit of getting restorative sleep every night outweighs the risk of taking melatonin every day.

Will you be getting a flu vaccine?

The theory behind taking vaccines is to improve your immunity against specific diseases. Your immune system needs to be invaded in order for it to work. This means that your body needs a certain virus or other foreign agent (virus or bacteria) so that your immune system will recognize it and can begin to build a response.

Basically, your immune system is getting primed so when a nastier disease comes along, your body is able to fight it. However, some vaccines over the years have been shown to have side effects or not even work at all.

Dr. Mike is not going to be getting a vaccine. However, if you have any chronic disease or you're over the age of 65, you should probably get one.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him so he can help give you support and helpful advice.