What the Scientists Are Saying About Omega 3
Due to the numerous research studies linking Omega-3 fatty acids with certain health conditions, health professionals have finally begun to tell their patients how important Omega-3 can be to help avoid the onset or progression of certain diseases.
Doctors and nutritionists now feel comfortable recommending the addition of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements to the diets children. In fact, childhood may be the most important time to consume healthy omega 3 fatty acids since this is when the brain is developing most. The research regarding the benefits of consuming Omega 3 continues to mount.
Examples of the research conducted by reputable institutions on Omega-3 fatty acids:
University of Maryland Medical Center Omega 3 Research
An online article published by the University of Maryland with supporting documentation from over 25 sources says that clinical studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in relieving symptoms of certain health conditions, particularly those diseases relating to the heart. While most of the evidence points to cardiovascular conditions, the studies also point to the possibility of Omega-3 being beneficial for ADD, depression, arthritis, asthma, obesity and others.
Omega 3 Benefits ADD and ADHD according to University of Maryland Study
It has been determined that kids with ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) appear to have low levels of important essential fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. In one particular study involving 100 boys, an increase in learning and behavioral problems such as temper tantrums and sleep disturbances were noted in those boys with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids when compared with the boys that had normal levels omega-3.
In studies involving animals it was revealed that lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids can lower the concentration of important brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are directly related to attention and motivation. Omega 3 supplements were used in a clinical study involving 117 children with ADHD. This study determined that there was a major improvement in behavior, as well as reading and spelling in the children during the 3 month study. In yet another clinical study involving school aged children, researchers discovered that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was able to decrease physical aggression in those children with ADHD.
Two years ago, the Mayo Clinic announced that a research team to be led by Dr. David Knopman (a neurologist) will join a leading nationwide research team on Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of the research was to conduct a large-scale clinical trial to assess “the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”
The report adds: “Researchers primarily will evaluate whether taking DHA over many months slows the progression of both cognitive and functional decline in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. During the 18-month clinical trial, investigators will measure the progress of the disease using standard tests for functional and cognitive change.” The study was conducted across the 52 sites and selected over 400 participants aged 50 and older.
British Nutrition Foundation
The study by the British Nutrition Foundation was cited by the British Trout Association. It was a two-year study that was conducted among Welsh men who had suffered their first attack and who were likely to suffer another attack. Two groups were created; one group was assigned to eat at least two servings of oil-rich fish.
BBC Video Showing Benefits of Omega 3
At the end of two years, both groups showed a similar number of heart attacks but there were 29% fewer deaths in the fish eating group. The conclusion was that eating more fish did not prevent a second heart attack from occurring but could prevent death resulting from a first heart attack. This is why so many people now realize the importance of fish oil supplements.
Now With Even More Benefits: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to have even greater health benefits than initially thought. For quite some time we have known that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, are valuable for decreasing inflammation and helping with developmental disorders. But recent research conducted at Oregon State University (OSU) in conjunction with several other institutions found that omega-3 fatty acids seems to help prevent fatty liver disease.
In particular, DHA, a particular omega-3 fatty acid was tested using a new process called “metabolomics“. Metabolomics is the study of metabolites and how they are activated in cells and processed in the body. The researchers found that supplements of DHA caused significant changes in the body’s ability to break down lipids, vitamins, and carbohydrates as well as improved protein and amino acid function.
This is important, as it would have a major positive effect on those who consume what has come to be known as the “Western diet”. The western diet includes high quantities of red meat, sugar, saturated fat and processed grains. The study suggests that DHA helps to control inflammation, oxidative stress, and fibrosis in the liver. All of this adds up to prevent both diabetes and fatty liver disease.
The researchers also noted that previous studies on omega-3 fatty acids have been inconsistent. One reason for this might be that different studies use different omega-3 supplements with different ratios of DHA. The study done at OSU was conducted in lab animals but used a supplement that would be equivalent to 2-4 grams of DHA a day for an average person.
Where Does Omega 6 Fit In?
Our 21st century lifestyle is partly to blame for our deficiency in omega-3 and our excess intake of omega-6 fats. Most of the processed foods we buy in our supermarkets are loaded with omega-6 fats that can hurt our health.
There is a trend these days where manufacturers state on food labels that their product contains omega-3. But what good would come out of adding omega-3 to processed, unhealthy foods? The addition of omega-3 will not turn them into healthy foods for humans to consume. Consumers must therefore be wary about statements that omega-3 has been added to a product. They should ask themselves first, “is this a healthy product to begin with?” Clue: if it’s processed, chances are it isn’t.
It is worth remembering that omega-6 in processed foods is highly processed, which explains its bad reputation and why the media would prefer to promote the benefits of omega-3.
But here’s the truth: omega-6 fats, provided they are of high quality are equally important to your health as omega-3 fats are. It’s the ratio that we should pay attention to. Ideally, that ratio should be 1:1 (omega-6: omega-3).
There’s just one nagging problem: these days, that ratio is more like 30:1 to 40:1 on the average! When these ratios reach absurd levels, the consequence is poor health.
No wonder then that nutritionists recommend more omega-3 in our diet and less of omega-6 fats. A healthy balance of these fats protects tissues and organs from premature deterioration, causing chronic diseases and premature aging.
You will notice more and more products in your supermarket that say “zero trans-fats.” Bad quality omega-6 fats fall under the trans-fat category and they should be replaced by fats that are typically NOT found in processed foods. Make sure you are getting enough Omega-3; this can be in the form of chewable omega 3 for kids, or a high potency burp-free wild caught omega-3 for adults.
Caution: Not All Omega-3 Fats the Best for Health!
One thing we need to be clear about: animal-based omega-3 fats are the ones we should consume regularly. The popular misconception is that plant-based omega-3 fats with ALA are the preferred fats. Not quite. There are many sources of omega 3.
While plant-based omega-3 fats have their own health benefits, they cannot be considered acceptable replacements for animal/fish based omega-3 fats. The most logical explanation for this is that the body doesn’t have the natural ability to convert the ALA in plant-based omega-3 into EPA and DHA, considered the ‘longer fats.’ This is particularly evident when someone is suffering from diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and high blood pressure. These diseases make it even more difficult to convert these fats.
DHA and EPA are two omega 3 fatty acids that are indispensable to human health. They, and not ALA, are the fats that help prevent cardiovascular disease and chronic diseases like cancer. And because we said earlier that DHA is essential for normal brain functioning, note that our brains are made up of 50% DHA. These are the fatty acids found in fish oil supplements.
In some cases of schizophrenia and dementia, a link was found between low DHA levels and aggravating mental conditions.
The importance of daily chewable omega 3 for children cannot be overemphasized. If want your child to get even higher amounts of DHA and EPA, then a liquid omega 3 supplement such as Metagenics Balanced EPA-DHA Liquid will provide high amounts of healthy DHA and EPA omega 3 fatty acids.