Should everyone be taking Omega 3 supplements?
Based on its many therapeutic properties and the significant health problems that are linked to Omega E deficiencies AND the fact that most North Americans consume diets that ARE significantly deficient in Omega 3’s, my answer to that question is a resounding…
Essential Fatty Acids
These fats are said to be essential because our bodies are unable to synthesize them. Omega 3 (found in salmon, sardine, herring, trout, cod, and mackerel as well as walnut, soy, flax, pumpkin oils and seeds) and Omega 6 (found prevalently in vegetable oils, margarine, mayonnaise, farm raised tilapia and fast and processed foods) are both essential polyunsaturated fatty acids and must be provided by food or supplements. As you can probably guess, we typically consume much more Omega 6 FAs, but for optimal health the ratio of Omega 6 fats to Omega 3 fats should be no greater than 4:1. Many Americans consume diets containing a ratio of 30:1 and even 50:1! For example, a Burger King Chicken Whopper has over 11 grams of Omega 6 fat (and only 1 gram of Omega 3 fat) which is >170 % of the maximum recommended amount of Omega 6 oils (sorry Burger King, McDonalds didn’t list their info on the web info I found!) Diets such as these have been implicated in many chronic disease conditions. A new study by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center suggests that farm raised tilapia may be worse for your heart than eating bacon. That is because often, farm-raised tilapia is fed corn-based foods that are high in Omega 6 fatty acids.
Omega 3 FAs are significantly lacking in North American nutrition due as a result of the “modern” food transformation– or as I have seen stated before SAD – Standard American Diet.
Health problems directly linked to Omega 3 deficiencies are:
- Cardiovascular diseases, hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis
- Cerebral vascular accidents (i.e. strokes)
- Crohn’s disease, constipation
- Cancer, allergies, asthma
- Chronic fatigue
- Depression, hyperactivity, anxiety
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premenstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps
- Aging, acne, eczema, psoriasis
- Dry skin
Therapeutic properties of Omega 3
- Anti-inflammatory (improving arthritis, some autoimmune and inflammatory illnesses, asthma, skin disorders like dry skin, psoriasis and eczema)
- Anti-spasmodic (has been indicated to help irritable bowel and menstrual cramps)
- Cholesterol reducing (lowers triglycerides, raises HDL)
- Blood clot inhibitor (reducing stroke and sudden cardiac death)
- Vasodilator (can reduce blood pressure)
- Improves immune system function
- Ensures elasticity and flexibility to the cell membrane. This makes it possible for more of the necessary micronutrition (vitamins, minerals and amino acids essential for neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, etc) to make it into our cells thus improving their function and our health – physically AND mentally. This is likely the property through which Omega 3’s help with weight loss.
- Anti-senile activity – (This is the property that first caught my attention. I had read a study that showed that people over 65 who ate more fish rich in Omega 3’s were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing that I might struggle to eat enough fish every week, I started taking fish oil supplements right away – and started giving them to my husband too!)
While I have been a proponent of Omega 3’s for many years, it wasn’t until recently that I realized what a great Omega 3 we have available through Ideal Protein. When reviewing supplements with my patients, I usually tell them “I recommend that you take what I take – Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. I do take a multivitamin often, but I don’t miss the Omega 3 and the Vitamin D because I can feel a difference when I do!” (Calcium is necessary but I prefer to get it in my diet (when on phase 4 of IP). I also take some biotin when I think of it to prevent hair loss!)
Last week a question came up about Omega 3 FAs in our Ideal Health now staff meeting. A coach had a question about a patient who was experiencing irritability. I had recommended Omega 3’s and she asked about recommending the Ideal protein supplement. I looked at the ingredients and found that it had significantly more of the EPA and DHA (active medicinal ingredients of the fish oil) than the Spring Valley brand that I have always used. Ideal Protein’s has 600 mg of EPA and DHA per 1000 mg fish oil compared to Spring Valley’s which has 360 mg EPA and DHA per 1200 mg fish oil. The IP Omega 3 supplement also has Borage oil/ GLA. The GLA present in Borage oil prevents troubles in lipid metabolism. It may help prevent vascular problems and helps keep the skin supple and resistant to exterior aggressions. (In my gynecology practice, I have found it to be helpful for women with fibrocystic breast change.) It is also quite efficient in the treatment of fragile and brittle hair and nails.
So… needless to say, I am changing to the Ideal Protein Omega 3 supplement AND after reviewing all the benefits of Omega 3’s to write this, I am once more highly motivated to make SURE that my entire family takes these supplements every day!
For your health,
*because of blood clot inhibiting properties of Omega 3 FAs, people using anticoagulants should have regular blood composition follow-ups while taking them
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