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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How Much Fish Oil Do You Need? Part 2

We have pointed out that omega 3 fatty acids are essential and that the body can produce only limited amounts. We have also pointed out that the imbalance in the ratio between omega 6 fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids is a major health concern. This imbalance may be partly responsible for the high incidence of heart disease, strokes cancer and other inflammatory diseases in western societies.

Many claims have been made for the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids. Some have stood up to careful examination, others have not.  For example omega 3 fatty acids have a number of potentially heart-healthy effects including reducing triglyceride levels, raising good cholesterol cholesterol (HDL) levels, reducing levels of homocysteine, reducing blood pressure, slowing the progression of atherosclerosis thereby preventing heart attacks and reducing the risk of sudden death due to cardiac irregularities.

These statements agree with a large study of generally healthy older adults (average age 74).  In this study those with the highest levels of omega-3s had a decreased risk of dying. In fact those with the highest levels were 27% less likely to die during the course of the study than those in the lowest 20%. They were also 40% less likely to have a heart attack.

In view of the fact that omega-3 fatty acids have a variety of other probable health benefits investigators have looked at specific diseases with mixed results. The list is large and includes arthritis and other inflammatory disease, cancer, age related cognitive decline, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, cystic fibrosis and osteoporosis. It is extremely difficult to design and get relevant information from complicated studies such as these and the results have been inconclusive. It is also not clear whether the investigators took into consideration the levels of omega-6 fatty acids and the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. We have pointed out the importance of this ratio.

In conclusion there is no doubt that omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in maintaining optimal health. Next we will discuss sources of omega-3s and optimal amounts to take.

Get more information in our book Live Longer Live Healthier

or visit our website at trienergetics.net


Sunday, November 24, 2013

How Much Fish Oil Do You Need?

Fish oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. They are essential fatty acids and belong to a family of nutrients that can also be obtained from other marine sources such as algae, krill and calamari.  EPA and DHA are polyunsaturated fats (good fats) as contrasted to saturated fats that increase the risk of heart disease.  The body can manufacture only limited amounts of EPA and DHA therefore it is necessary to supplement your body's production with nutrients from your diet..

Omega-3 fatty acids have a number of potentially healthy effects such as reducing triglyceride levels, raising levels of HDL (good cholesterol), Possibly "thinning the blood", slowing the progression of atherosclerosis and decreasing inflammation in the body.

Omega-3 fatty acids need to be differentiated from omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential fatty acids. They are found in almost all of the processed foods that we eat especially foods that have have had oils from sunflowers, corn, soybean and cottonseed.  Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential for healthy body functioning, but the problem with the typical western diet is that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is unhealthy.

Why is this a problem? The reason is that omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Omega-6 fatty acids are inflammatory. Historically  before the onset of mass produced processed foods the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio that our ancestors lived with was about 4:1. Going back even further in time our ancestors who were hunter gatherers had a ratio of about 1:1. Even today the Inuits who eat a diet high in seafood have a ratio of 1:4 and the healthy mediterranean diet has a ratio of about 3:1.

Many of us who eat a typical American diet have a ratio of 16:1 or even higher. This imbalance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids is one of the reasons for the high incidence of heart disease, auto-immune disease and cancer in our western civilization. In subsequent blogs we will discuss the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and give our recommendations.

Get more information in our book Live Longer Live Healthier

or visit our website at trienergetics.net