feeling run down or overtired way to often?
Nothing else in recent times has done so much for so little as Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3, an essential nutrient
- Supports healthy joints, with a decrease in pain and symptoms associated with arthritis
- Fosters healthy brain and nervous system function and development
- Promotes healthy cholesterol and other blood lipid levels
- Fights PMS symptoms and menstrual period discomfort
- Encourages healthy mood regulation
- Improved concentration, memory and learning
- Fighting the damaging effects of aging
- Protection for cell membranes.
- Helps rejuvenate cells so you feel years younger
- Bolstering the immune system
- Optimal skin health
- Skin disorders
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Brain function, especially among children
- Visual function
I‘ve been studying the information and research about omega 3 foods since 1993. I’ve found Omega 3 is the one essential nutrient that’s almost entirely missing from most diets in the Western world. It's best from natural omega 3 food. Are you getting enough? If you eat grassfed meat and eggs regularly, probably so. However, if you’re not regularly imbibing omega 3 rich foods like grassfed meat, milk and eggs, you’re probably deficient in this one essential nutrient.
The American Heart Association has gone on record to say, "Omega 3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of -- or who have – cardiovascular disease." Further, the American Heart Association agrees that omega 3’s can help balance cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Research Shows Omega 3’s Stop Heart Problems—Without Surgery
How? Good question. Let’s begin with “What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?”
Omega 3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fat -- which is one of four types of fat that our bodies derive from food. (As I understand it, the other three are cholesterol, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat.) Omega 3 (and Omega-6 as well) are called essential fatty acids ( EFAs ), because they've been shown to be essential for good health. Our bodies can’t manufacture these EFAs. Please understand: these essential nutrients must be obtained from outside sources -- from the food we eat or the supplements we take.
If we don’t get enough omega 3 foods, we open our doors to a plethora of sicknesses including heart problems. Many ailments can be traced to a shortage of Omega 3 foods, according to most experts. (Omega 6 is not a problem. There is absolutely no shortage of Omega 6 in the typical Western diet. In fact, just the opposite is true.)
The ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is also important -- and because of a severe deficiency of Omega 3, this balance is seriously out of whack for most people. The optimum ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is 3:1. (Some experts even say 1:1.) Omega 6 is available in many grains and especially in cooking oils. Since the 1950’s this ratio has jumped to somewhere between 20:1 and 50:1 for most Americans and Canadians!
The health crisis is upon us. It’s easy to see why we must get more omega 3 foods and/or supplements into our diets.
There are three main types of Omega 3 fatty acids. The first two, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid, pronounced ī'kō-sə-pĕn'tə-ĭ-nō'ĭk) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid, pronounced dō-kō-sə-hek-sə-ē-nō-ik), are both found in cold-water fish. Fresh seaweed (algae) is the only plant food that contains significant amounts of EPA or DHA. Algae is an actual omega 3 food. But how many want to eat algae?
The most popular source of the third type of Omega 3, called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), is found in flaxseed oil.
Although it is possible to get DHA and EPA from plant seed oils such as flax seeds, don’t count on it -- even if you take flax seed oil every day! Here’s why. The Omega 3's in flaxseed oil and other plant oils do not contain DHA and EPA, but only the precursor of them in the form of alpha linolenic acid (ALA).
The normal human body converts only about 1% to 15% to these important substances. “Flax oil doesn't convert well to EPA and DHA says the Flax Council of Canada.”
Is Fish Oil Our Best Natural Omega 3 Food Source?
By now most everyone has heard about the health benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids. You may have also heard that fish oil is a great source of omega 3's. But have you also heard nearly all fish consumed today are contaminated with PCB's and mercury? So much so that some doctors and health agencies recommend that pregnant women do NOT eat fish at all while carrying a baby. Some doctors are even saying to the general population, "Don't eat fish at all" because of the high level of contaminants.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates the safety of all commercial fish, including ocean-caught, farm-raised and imported fish. One example is the recommendation for pregnant women and nursing mothers to limit their consumption of sport-caught fish to one 6 ounce meal per week.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that young children consume less than 2 ounces of sport-caught fish per week.
Some types of fish contain high levels of mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and other environmental contaminants. Some species of fish may contain significant levels of methylmercury, considered one of the more dangerous food contaminants today. In general, older, larger predatory fish and marine mammals, such as swordfish and seals, tend to contain the highest levels of these contaminants. PCBs and methylmercury are believed to have long half-lives in the body and can accumulate in people who consume contaminated fish on a frequent basis. In the case of PCBs, it is recommended that consumers reduce their exposure to these contaminants by removing the fat from the fish before cooking them; however, methylmercury represents a more serious problem because it is distributed throughout the skin, muscle and organs of the fish.
Any Other Problems With Fish Oil?
Contaminated fish may not be the biggest problem with omega 3 from fish oil. Experts claim the sustainability of current fishing practices is an unsolved global problem that must be addressed. How long before the world runs out of fish, or even fish species? Did you know that for every 1 pound of pure fish oil produced, it requires 500 pounds of fish bodies?
Should earth- and ocean-conscientious people consume mega amounts of fish oil with that 500 to 1 ratio in mind? Is there a more ethical environmental solution?
An additional problem with choosing fish as one of our omega 3 food sources is also environmental: CO2 emissions associated with shipping fish products far away from metropolitan mainlands is huge. Think freight liners plus diesel engines plus miles plus cranes plus semi trucks plus more diesel engines plus more miles--you get the picture.
So what's a body to do? Enter Krill. Is Krill the best omega 3 food source? Krill are small shrimp-like crustaceans found in the ocean. They are a form of plankton, a main source of food for whales and some seabirds. So what will happen to the whales if we mine their daily dinner? Continue with me a moment. Since krill, the reasoning goes, especially arctic and New Zealand krill are found far away from most industrial pollutants--there are no factories sitting on the ice caps--krill are said to be pure and free from contamination by mercury and other heavy metals. Problem solved, right?
Not so fast! Fish oil and krill supplements are a particular example of wasting both resources and money. Apart from the effort needed to catch the fish and krill, extract and then purify the oil to remove illegal levels of dioxins, heavy metals and PCB’s, there just aren’t enough of the right kinds of fish left in the sea to supplement everyone who needs extra long chain omega 3 DHA and EPA. (DHA and EPA are the 2 types of omega 3 fatty acids that produce the most human health benefits.)
Stop and put on your thinking cap a moment. Fish--even krill, the little shrimp-like crustaceans, are not the primary source of all the good stuff (omega 3’s). The fish get the good stuff from algae. What if we humans could somehow go directly to the omega 3 source, by pass the dwindling fish supply and extract the omega 3's from the algae? Obviously this would be the environmentally sustainable and ethical thing to do. It could save our environment, cut down on price and reduce carbon emissions. That's a win-win-win situation for all involved.
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Information on this site regarding omega 3 foods is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute for medical advice provided by your physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. You should read carefully all product packaging and labels. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your physician or health care provider. Information and statements regarding omega 3 foods and supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.