Omega 3’s are powerful essential (meaning the body can’t
synthesize them so they are necessary components of our diet) fatty acids that
have numerous health benefits in the body all due to their ability to decrease
inflammation. Unfortunately, many of us
have some degree of inflammation in our body and it may be a result or
combination of the food we eat, the toxins in our environment, elevated blood
pressure, increased body fat and weight, high cholesterol and triglycerides,
poor blood sugar control, depression and anxiety, and/or chronic illness just
to name a few. Incorporating more omega
3’s into our diet can help to decrease the above inflammation and improve our
HEATLH BENEFITS OF
The following are a list of science-based benefits of omega 3’s:
Cardiovascular Health (lowers
C-Reactive Protein & Triglycerides, increases HDL cholesterol, improves
blood pressure, decreases plaque, and decreases cardiovascular inflammation)
Improves depression and anxiety and
other mental health disorders
Improves insulin sensitivity/decreases
risk of metabolic syndrome
Reduces symptoms of ADHD in children
May reduce cancer risk
Improves bone and joint health
Improves skin and hair
Helps improve auto immune disorders
Improves dementia, Alzheimer’s and
ALL OMEGA’s ARE NOT
You might be asking, why are we so inflamed if this readily available fatty acid is so powerful as an anti-inflammatory. The truth is we consume far more omega 6’s, a pro inflammatory compound, found in canola, corn, soybean, vegetable and cottonseed oils as well as most packaged and processed foods than we do omega 3’s. It is recommended that we consume a 3:1 ratio of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s, yet the estimate is that most Americans are closer to 25-30:1.
Minimizing packaged, processed foods and incorporating more omega 3 rich foods in our diet can help to balance our omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and decrease inflammation. Omega 3 rich foods include deep cold water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, cod liver oil, herring, and oysters, other seafood including algae and krill, flax, chia and hemp seeds, walnuts, purslane and perilla leaves and oils, meat and dairy products from grass fed cows and pastured eggs.
ALA VS. EPA&DHA
There are 3 forms of omega 3’s: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). DHA and EPA are found predominantly in animal sources listed in the above paragraph, whereas ALA is found mostly in plant based sources. Most mammals can convert ALA to EPA and DHA (i.e. grass fed cows, algae eating fish) however, sadly humans cannot! While all 3 are anti-inflammatory, research supports EPA and DHA as being more powerful in decreasing inflammation and improving health, therefore if possible incorporating fish, grass fed dairy/beef and pastured eggs into your diet is encouraged. For vegans or vegetarians who do not consume fish, remember there are still anti-inflammatory benefits in consuming plant based omega 3 foods!
Omega 3’s are one of my favorite supplements, but making sure you take the right one is key! To supplement with omega 3 is not the question, how much is the bigger question! Science based research shows health benefits when consuming 2,000mg/day of EPA and DHA combined. A higher quality omega 3 will provide >500mg of EPA+DHA per pill and dosage recommendations range between 2-4 pills or tsp. per day depending upon the mg provided. Do not assume all supplements are equal, and do not rely on the amount of fish oil advertised on the bottle. Read the “Supplement Facts” and look to see how much EPA and DHA are provided as well as the serving size! Many of my clients thought they were taking a quality fish or krill oil supplement only to realize it was either low in EPA and DHA or they had to take 8-10 pills to get close to the 2,000mg of EPA and DHA combined recommendation.
There are very few contraindications
(reasons not to take):
1. If you have an allergy to fish
(gilled fish, not shellfish)
2. If you are a vegan
3. If you avoid pork as some
supplements use porcine in the gel cap (read the ingredients/label).
The only warning or precaution is for those taking blood thinners, (i.e. Coumadin or Warfarin) as omega 3’s can also thin the blood therefore consult with your physician before starting to supplement!
If you are allergic to fish or a vegan,
taking a flax seed or plant based omega 3 ALA supplement is still a great anti-inflammatory
Omega 3’s are essential in your diet! Falling short of a panacea, they may just be the closest thing!
The information provided in this post is for education only and is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor should it be used as a replacement for seeking medical treatment.
The alarming fact is that foods – fruits, vegetables and grains – now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain needed nutrients, are starving us – no matter how much we eat of them.
— US Senate Document 264, 1936
This statement was made over 80 years ago and the situation has not improved. Additionally, the Standard American Diet is filled with processed foods void of nutrients, high in sugar and low in fruits and vegetables. “Even with a perfect diet, the combination of depleted soils, the storage, transportation and genetic alterations of our food, and the increased stress and nutritional demands results from a toxic environment, make it impossible for us to get the vitamins and minerals we need solely from the foods we eat.” – Dr. Mark Hyman. Statistics also suggest that as much as 66% of all chronic illnesses can be associated with a nutrient deficiency. Evidence shows that to insure optimal health, supplementation of key nutrients is necessary.
Determining which nutrient to supplement can be overwhelming for many, but I am here to help! To insure 2019 is your healthiest year, I am offering personalized nutrient supplement recommendations for FREE! Schedule your consult HERE!
80% of New Years resolutions are abandoned by February! Don’t let overwhelming and complicated resolutions derail you from being healthy this year. Here are 5 simple dietary changes that you can easily implement to make 2019 your healthiest year yet!
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