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Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Healthy or Not

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids are probably the furthest thing from your mind as you reel in that ‘big one’ down at your favorite fishing spot.

You may not realize it, but Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which are found in fish, provide numerous health benefits.

These fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids, meaning the body needs them to function normally, but is unable to produce them naturally and must get them from the diet.


Google News reports on a story from the Well Fed Network, that if pregnant women want to give their child an edge in the classroom, they should eat a diet rich in Omega 3s.

According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, preschoolers whose mothers ate a diet rich in low mercury, high Omega 3 fish, outperformed their peers on verbal, visual, and motor development tests. Researchers think that Omega 3s are essential for proper fetal, brain development.

The researchers plan to follow these children to see how well they perform academically as they grow up.


Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Population studies provide researchers with a world of valuable information. Eskimos in Greenland have lower rates of Heart Disease than other countries, and an examination of their dietary habits revealed why.

It was because they ate large amounts of fish.

I’m sure they had no idea the fish they were consuming contained large amounts of these healthful fatty acids.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are classified as a polyunsaturated fatty acid and are found in many fish such as trout, sardines, herring, albacore tuna, and salmon.


Benefits of Omega 3s

Migraine Headache Relief

First of all, research from the 1960s observed that the occurrence of Migraines in the Inuites of Greenland was extremely uncommon. It was determined that their diet was based on fish, and the meats and fats from sea mammals.

Subsequently, two research studies in Denmark and Sweden were done testing the effects of daily supplementation with 2.4 grams of Omega 3s over a three month period. All participants continued their current medications during this time. Most individuals had more than one attack per week.

The results of this study were positive. Participants reported a 28 percent reduction in the frequency of attacks and a 32 percent decrease in their severity, The results were most apparent in the group whose attack frequency was the greatest.

In a quality-of-life questionnaire, the group experiencing the most attacks reported a 67 percent improvement in their quality of life with 30 percent remaining unchanged.


Arthritis Pain Relief

Research has confirmed that Omega 3s are beneficial for both Rheumatoid and Osteo – Arthritis.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, clinical studies indicated that Omega 3s caused a reduction in joint tenderness, morning stiffness, and allowed individuals to reduce the amount of medicine needed for those with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Additionally, they state that diets high in Omega 3s (and low in foods containing the pro-inflammatory Omega 6s) are beneficial for other inflammatory conditions, such as Osteoarthritis.


Omega 3 Fatty Acids provide other health benefits as well, including

  • A decreased risk of Heart Disease
  • A decreased risk of Stroke
  • A reduction in the symptoms of Migraine headaches, Asthma, Arthritis, and menstrual cramps
  • Lower levels of Depression
  • A decreased risk of developing Cancer
  • A decreased risk of developing unwanted blood clots
  • Lower levels of triglycerides in the blood
  • A decreased risk of developing Osteoporosis
  • Slightly lower blood pressure levels

The two main chemicals in these fatty acids providing these health benefits are: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).


Clinical Studies

A Purdue University study found hyperactive children had lower levels of these fatty acids.

Deficiencies of Omega 3s are linked to conditions such as:

among others. Please contact your physician for a more complete list.

Researchers believe as many as 60 percent of all Americans are deficient in Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

In one clinical study, individuals given Omega 3s for a two-year period had lower triglyceride levels, with minimal arterial blockage, compared to those on placebo.

In another study, 30 Bi-Polar individuals were given either Omega 3s or placebo.

At the study’s end, researchers concluded consumption of Omega 3s was well tolerated and the short-term course of the illness improved.

The researchers recommended the fatty acids not replace medications currently used in treating this disorder, but should be used in addition to existing medicines.

An analysis of several studies of Diabetics and fish oil consumption found triglyceride levels were reduced by 30 percent in these individuals.

In studies of individuals with ADHD and related disorders, consumption of Omega 3 showed at least modest improvement in symptoms over individuals taking placebo in most trials.


Dietary Concerns

Many of today’s chronic diseases are as a result of an imbalance between Omega 3s and another fatty acid, Omega-6. The ratio of Omega-6 Fatty Acids to Omega 3 Fatty Acids should be 1:1.

The typical American diet may consist of 20 times more Omega-6s than Omega 3s.

Consumption of high levels of Omega-6 Fatty Acids may place individuals at higher risk of developing diseases such as: Psoriasis, Alzheimer’s disease, Gum disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Ulcerative Colitis.

Be advised that some types of fish may contain elevated levels of mercury contraindicating fish consumption. This makes Omega 3 supplementation the better choice.

Here is a partial list of foods that contain Omega 3 Fatty Acids: sardines, walnuts, salmon, flaxseed oil, canola oil, spinach, cod, and halibut.


Dosage

A good starting dosage is 5 grams daily. Be sure to select a capsule that primarily contains Omega 3s.


Cautions

Please contact your physician if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Ventricular Tachycardia or Ventricular Fibrillation
  • Seafood allergies

These fatty acids should be avoided if you are taking blood thinners such as Coumadin

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