These fatty acids are ESSENTIAL. Being ESSENTIAL means our bodies cannot make them for us and we must get them from our food or as a supplement. You heard of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. You know that they are good for you. You probably know that you can get them from eating certain fish. Here are some questions that you probably want answered: What is so important about Omega 3 Fatty Acids? Is it enough to get them from food? And how much fish is safe to eat? Who should take a supplement of these fatty acids and why? What is the right amount?
Omega 3 Fatty Acids contain EPA and DHA. More than the total amount of oil, these two ingredients are the key in what makes these fatty acids so important. EPA and DHA are polyunsaturated fats that are found in fish, krill, calamari and some mussels. The body can only make very small amounts of these fatty acids from the essential fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid that is found in flax seed, canola, and walnut oil and so we depend on getting EPA and DHA from fish or from supplements.
Why are Omega 3 Fatty Acids so important?
They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Pretty crucial to our well being! http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
What can omega 3 fatty acids do for you?
Omega 3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect and when you consume them in certain amounts the body’s production of prostaglandins increases and the prostaglandins, in turn, reduce inflammation. A study of several thousand women in Sweden found that consistent long term intake of omega 3 fatty acids was associated with a 52% lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23940215. The use of omega 3 fatty acids in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis also showed promise especially in early stages of the disease. The anti-inflammatory effect of omega 3 fatty acids has caused researchers to look at other possible benefits and there is research supporting the prevention of Ulcerative Colitis, reducing menstrual cramps, and helping lupus. Omega 3 fatty acids can help reduce blood pressure. Several clinical studies suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. An analysis of 17 clinical studies using fish oil supplements found that taking 3 or more grams of fish oil daily may reduce blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension. Doses this high, however, should only be taken under the direction of a physician. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids Omega 3 fatty acids can reduce the risk for stroke. Large population studies suggest that getting omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, primarily from fish, helps protect against stroke caused by plaque buildup and blood clots in the arteries that lead to the brain. Eating at least 2 servings of fish per week can reduce the risk of stroke by as much as 50%. However, high doses of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding (more than 3 grams a day) http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the risk of cancer. Specifically the evidence is related to breast cancer and colon/rectal cancer. I would venture that this is true for other cancers as well. We now know that cancer and inflammation are related and so it stands to reason that the anti-inflammatory effect of omega 3 fatty acids will help prevent cancer. http://www.breast-cancer-research.com/content/17/1/62 Omega 3 fatty acids help prevent weight loss during chemotherapy. In a 2011 study of lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy benefit was demonstrated clear benefit in retaining muscle mess by taking 2.2 mg a day of fish oil. There was no interference with the desired effects of the chemotherapy http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20110228/fish-oil-counters-chemotherapy-weight-loss Omega 3 fatty acids and eye health: Consumption of omega 3 fatty acids protects the eye from normal age-related diseases. The thing is, you need to eat them now to prevent disease from occurring later, because once you have the disease it is not clear if taking the supplement will help you at all…. http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/news/20060710/fish-oil-may-help-save-your-eyes Taking a supplement does help with dry eye syndrome. A condition that many suffer from and is rather debilitating. You want 500-600mg of EPA and DHA per capsule for supplementing for dry eye. Omega 3 fatty acids were shown to help depression, especially in cases of moderate and major depression. Doses of 2500 mg a day were used in some of the studies with marked results. A meta-analysis of the studies looking at omega 3 fatty acids and depression found fault in the study design of some of the research and called to question the degree of benefit of these supplements. I leave it to your judgement since it is not clear cut http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3625950/ There is a study linking omega 3 fatty acids to reduced anxiety in college students as well. http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/07/14/omega-3-relieves-anxiety-inflammation-in-healthy-sample/27749.html Omega 3 fatty acids help protect from cognitive decline and even Alzheimer’s disease. Supplementing with fish oil even slowed the decline of subjects already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s! http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids Some other smaller studies showed benefits for supplementing with omega 3 fatty acids for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. Other studies showed benefits for muscle recovery after exercise and protection from the effects of air pollution.
So, what is the right amount?
This is from the Mayo Clinic: The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults eat fish at least twice weekly. Fatty fish such as catfish, halibut, salmon, striped sea bass, and albacore tuna are particularly recommended. Always consider the sad fact that our seas are polluted and the fish you eat contain heavy metals such as mercury. I wish I can tell you to eat more fish but twice a week is probably all you should have. The World Health Organization recommends a daily EPA and DHA intake of 300-500mg grams. This is if you are healthy with no physical or emotional ailments. To treat anxiety, three grams of omega-3 fatty acids have been taken by mouth daily in the form of five capsules containing 450 milligrams of EPA, 100 milligrams of DHA, and 50 milligrams of other triglyceride omega-3 fatty acids, for three months. To treat stiff arteries, doses of one-gram capsules containing EPA plus DHA or 360-1800 milligrams of DHA plus 120-1,800 milligrams of EPA have been taken by mouth daily for 6-12 weeks. A dose of 1,800 milligrams of EPA has been taken by mouth daily for 6-12 weeks. To treat asthma, fish oil capsules containing 2.7-3.2 grams of EPA and 1.8-2.2 grams of DHA or 0.2-1.0 gram of EPA plus DHA, 20 milliliters of fish oil, or 10-20 grams of perilla seed oil (containing ALA) have been taken by mouth daily for up to 12 months. A dose of one gram of EPA plus DHA (Liparmonyl®) has been taken by mouth daily for one year. To improve athletic performance, eight capsules (each containing one gram of fish oil) has been taken by mouth daily for eight weeks. Fish oil capsules containing 3.2 grams of EPA plus 2.2 grams of DHA have been taken by mouth daily for three weeks. To treat bipolar disorder, seven capsules have been taken by mouth twice daily (for a daily total of 6.2 grams of EPA and 3.4 grams of DHA) for four months along with conventional therapy. Flaxseed oil capsules containing 6.6 grams of ALA have been taken by mouth daily for 12-16 weeks. A dose of 360-6,200 milligrams of EPA plus 1,560-3,400 milligrams of DHA has been taken by mouth daily for 4-44 weeks. Seven capsules of menhaden fish body oil have been taken by mouth twice daily for four months. Fish body oil containing 6.2 grams of EPA plus 3.4 grams of DHA has been taken by mouth. To treat cancer, 2.02-2.2 grams of EPA plus 0.92-1.0 grams of DHA have been taken by mouth daily for five weeks to 60 days. A dose of 1.8 grams of EPA has been taken by mouth daily for 21 days before a bone marrow transplant and continued for 180 days afterwards. Eighteen capsules of fish oil containing 3.1-3.2 grams of EPA plus 2.0-2.2 grams of DHA have been taken by mouth daily for 14-40 days. Capsules containing two grams of fish oil have been taken by mouth daily for six weeks. To prevent cancer, 4.1 grams of EPA and 3.6 grams of DHA have been taken by mouth daily for 12 weeks. This requires medical supervision. 2-3 grams are sufficient. To improve brain function, 250mg-680mg of DHA plus 323mg-1.48 grams of EPA has been taken by mouth daily for 3-6 weeks. To treat dementia, 700-1,940 milligrams of EPA plus DHA has been taken by mouth daily for 6-24 months. To treat painful menstrual cramps, 2.5 grams of fish oil has been taken by mouth daily for 3-4 months. To treat eczema, six grams of concentrated omega-3 fatty acids has been taken by mouth daily for four months during winter.. To improve exercise performance, 1,000 milligrams of fish oil, containing 180 milligrams of EPA plus 120 milligrams of DHA, has been taken by mouth during and after exercise for 12 weeks. To treat high blood pressure, 2-4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids has been used daily for up to one year. To treat high triglycerides, doses of up to two grams of omega-3 fatty acids from EPA and DHA have been taken by mouth daily. To treat inflammatory bowel disease, 2.4-5.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids has been taken by mouth in one or two divided doses daily for up to two years. To treat lupus erythematosus doses of 15-20 grams (EPA) have been taken by mouth daily for 34 weeks. Doses of 20-440 grams have been taken by mouth daily for 12 weeks to 12 months. This requires medical supervision! To treat symptoms of menopause, 500 milligrams of EPA omega-3 fatty acid have been taken by mouth three times daily for eight weeks. I recommend 2 grams a day. To treat muscle soreness, 324 milligrams of EPA plus 216 milligrams of DHA have been taken by mouth daily as Viva omega-3™ for 30 days before and two days following exercise. To treat neck and shoulder pain, 1,200 milligrams of fish oil have been taken by mouth daily for one month. To treat rheumatoid arthritis, doses containing 0.5-4.6 grams of EPA and 0.2-3.0 grams of DHA, or 54 milligrams of EPA per kilogram plus 36 milligrams of DHA per kilogram, have been used daily for up to 15 months. To treat psoriasis, daily infusions with an omega-3 lipid emulsion (200 milliliters daily of 4.2 grams of EPA and DHA) have been given. A dose of 100 milliliters of omega-3 fatty acid-based lipid infusion (2.1 grams of EPA and 21 grams of DHA) has been given daily for 10 days. http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil-alpha-linolenic-acid/dosing/HRB-20059372
How to get your omega 3 fatty acids?
Yes, fish is good. What is the best fish to eat that is the least polluted in heavy metals? The smaller fish that live a shorter life are better for you since they did not have as much time to accumulate as much mercury. Here is the list of the best fish to eat: The Arizona State University study ranked seafood choices as green, red or grey based on health, safety and sustainability data. Grey choices, not listed below, are those that are sustainable but high in mercury or unsustainable but low in mercury. Green choices: Low mercury, high sustainability Pacific herring* (B.C.) Red king crab (Bristol Bay) Pacific cod (Alaska/B.C.) Tanner crab (US Bering Sea) Atlantic pollock (Northeast Arctic/New England) Alaskan pollock (Eastern Bering Sea) Atlantic mackerel* (Northeast Atlantic) American plaice (New England) Canary rockfish (US Pacific coast) Black rockfish (US Pacific coast) Yellowfin sole (Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands) European anchovy* (South Africa) Rock sole (Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands) Pacific Ocean Perch (Alaska/US Pacific Coast) Ocean perch (Newfoundland) Alaska plaice (Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands) Flathead sole (Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands) Skipjack tuna* (Central Western Pacific) Arrowtooth flounder (Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands) English sole (US Pacific coast) *Indicate good sources of omega-3 fatty acids You can add sardines to the list… Red choices: High mercury, low sustainability: Do not eat! Bluefin tuna (Eastern Atlantic) Yellowtail flounder (Georges Bank) Swordfish (Mediterranean) Spanish mackerel (US South Atlantic) Gag grouper (US Gulf of Mexico) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/the-safest-fish-to-eat-follow-this-rule-new-study-suggests/article4467061/
Is eating fish twice a week enough to get the omega 3 fatty acids you need?
If all is well in your life, possibly. I strongly recommend supplementing this very important nutrient. If you downloaded my eBook you know that this is one out of four supplements I recommend to take daily. You can download the free eBook here https://shirlygilad.com/download-free-ebook/ I take a daily dose of 1280mg comprised of 650mg EPA and 450mg DHA. If I feel for whatever reason I am not doing great physically or emotionally I double that dose until I get better and then go back to the original dose. We live in a stressful, polluted world and we need all the help we can get. Taking a high quality omega 3 fatty acid supplement is one way to help yourself stay healthy, focused, inflammation and cancer free. So, what brand is good and how to choose? Make sure it is a mercury free brand and if you suffer from that fishy-burp you may want to invest in an enteric coated soft gel. There are many options out there. Consumer Labs rates different brands and here are some of the recommendations: NutriGold Triple Strength, Vital Oils 100, Carlson Fish Oil Lemon Flavor. Some are pills and some oil! I swear by Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega. It comes in a large soft gel but they have a mini soft gel option for those who hate or cannot swallow big pills. The mini is basically half the big one in size and content. My whole family takes it on a regular basis. It is not cheap but it is high potency and it does not come up in burps…
The bottom line:
If you are healthy and doing great eat fish twice a week from the approved list and supplement with about 100omg of omega 3 fatty acids. Why supplement? because prevention is key when it comes to omega 3 fatty acids. Once disease or illness is there it is going to be harder to treat! If you suffer from any of the conditions I mentioned above take notice and supplement accordingly. For more information and advice contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For any dose higher than 3 grams consult your doctor. If you are taking any anticoagulants or “blood thinners” consult your doctor. If you are scheduled for surgery always mention to your physician all the medications and supplements you are on. Oh, and did I mention that you can call me or email me and schedule a 30 minute free consultation to discuss how I can help you using Integrative Hypnotherapy with any of the conditions I mentioned above? Using Integrative Hypnotherapy I bring together the knowledge of clinical hypnotherapy, behavioral analysis, nutrition and more to provide innovative solutions to complex human conditions. It works beautifully.
Learn more about this topic on Jen Reviews where she shares the 15 health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids according to science and the +15 best omega-3 foods. Enjoy!
And for more great information, look here on Health Ambition blog on Omega 3 Fatty Acids
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