ALL ABOUT OMEGA-3

  • These are long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Omega-3 is the name given to certain long chain polyunsaturated (have many double bonds) fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential oils that must be consumed in one’s diet for optimal health as your body cannot manufacture them. In fact, failure to thrive will occur unless they are present in the food you eat. These fatty acids are found in the body oils of fish. Nutritional research is revealing new exciting information on fish oil which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These are the fats that surround the body of the deep ocean fish. The layer of fat has a low freezing point and keeps the fish warm in the coldest waters. If not for this layer of fat, the fish would simply become frozen meat in the middle of winter.
  • Yes! There are the Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are mainly found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, soybean and safflower. These oils are generally used as cooking oils. Omega-9 oils are found in large quantities in olive, almond, avocado and peanut oils.

  • Probably not. A critical finding is that your body functions best when your diet contains a balanced ratio of Essential Fatty Acids. Yet our typical diet contains approximately 14 to 20 times more Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to be beneficial in reducing heart attacks, strokes, cancers, obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, lupus, depression, schizophrenia, post-partum depression, Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

  • Do not be put off by the term “fatty fish”. Even though some types of fish contain ten times more fat than others, they are still relatively lean. The fattest fish has about the same amount of total fat as the leanest cuts.

We have the power to greatly enhance our health and well being by simply eating the “good fats” which will in turn cause the creation of “good eicosanoids”. Dividing these “good fats” gives us three types : Omega-3s, Omega-6s and Omega-9s. The Omega-3 and 6 contain the strongest power to generate eicosanoids. The Omega-9 are weaker and sometimes not labeled as essential but are nevertheless helpful.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids. You cannot make them. You must ingest them from diet. Even before you were born, you got them via the maternal cord in the womb. In the early months, you were fed abundantly with these fatty acids through breast milk.

The two most important components of Omega-3 fatty acids are the biologically activated oils – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA is effective in reducing the risk of cardiac and circulatory diseases, while DHA is an essential structural component of the central nervous system. DHA is important for optimum development of the brain and the eyes and is therefore very important for the health of pregnant women and children. New studies show that DHA can enhance mental functioning. It is useful for children with learning disorder

 
No! The fish cannot produce the fatty acid components of these oils themselves. Only the ocean micro-algae can produce these fatty acids. The smaller fish live off these algae at the base of the marine food chain. The bigger fish eat the smaller fish and concentrate the oils in their bodies.

It is negligible. However, many manufacturers of cod liver oil are now adding Omega-3 fatty acids to their oils to ride on the Omega-3 bandwagon.

Primrose oil is more researched and better documented for eczema, menstrual problems and some skin conditions. However, the high intake of Omega-6 oils which comes mainly from plant sources such as corn oil, sunflower oil and primrose oil causes an imbalance of ratio of the Omega 3:6. Researchers have reported that current dietary intake favours the Omega-6 oil giving rise to an unfavourable ratio of Omega-3: Omega-6 at 1:20 (Kris-Etherton et.al – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000; 71) excess Omega-6 forms the Series II eicosanoids. In these instances, Omega-3 oil like fish oil would be better.

Scientific interest in Omega-3 fatty acids and fish oils increased greatly when it was realized that population groups like the Eskimos and Japanese who consumed fatty fish had considerably lower mortality rates. It was determined that the oils in these fish provided the beneficial circulatory effects in these cultures compared to the general population.

Over 10,000 scientific papers have been published in well known and respected International Medical Journals like the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), British Medical Journal (BMJ), Lancet, Archives of Internal Medicine, Cardiology, New England Journal of Medicine, American Heart Association’s Circulation, dealing with and documenting the benefits of Omega-3 activated fish oils.

Omega-3 fatty acids have unique chemical properties.
1. They are able to attract oxygen molecules as they have space for such attachment. The scientific term for this property is known as surface activity or in a simple term, the tendency to disperse. This property allows the transport of substance such as toxins to the surface of the skin, intestinal tract, kidneys and lungs for it to be to be discarded.

2. Omega-3 fatty acids are slightly alkaline which allows them to form weak bonds that allow a unique one-way movement of electron across the cell membranes. These are the reasons why we recommend everyone to consume Omega-3 fatty acids. If we eat the correct fatty acids, our cellular membranes will be strong and flexible thus giving us a state of enhanced well being.

The daily-recommended dose of Omega-3 fatty acids is 1.5 grams. This corresponds to eating an average of 100 grams of fish or 500 grams of cod daily. The Center for Food Safety and applied Nutrition of the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has given GRAS of 3.6g of fish oil per day [GRAS – Generally Recognised As Safe]. We would suggest that taking 1.2g-1.8g of fish oil would further enhance absorption in your body.

Current studies recommend people to ingest a minimum of 1500 mg of Omega-3 oils daily. That dosage is roughly equivalent to the amount of oil contained in a 32-oz serving of ocean salmon (as opposed to “farm-raised”)! Even if you like fish, that is an enormous amount of food to eat. To assure the body receives an optimal dose of high quality Omega-3 fatty acids every day, 2-3 capsules of the double strength or 4-6 capsules of the 1000mg should be taken.

Nutritional experts have learnt that Omega-3 oils are vitally important during all phases of life and believe that a person’s diet should include oily fish several times per week. Omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent alternative for those who do not eat fish frequently or who would like to ensure an adequate intake of these essential polyunsaturated fatty acids.

One should realize that Omega-3 oils have a relatively high energy content. However, since the daily dose is so small which is 2.4- 3.6 grams, there are only 9.6 to 13.8 calories per recommended dose. This is lower than the number of calories in a daily dose of cod liver oil.

There is a new technology that allows fish manufactures to selectively concentrate the long chain fatty acids like DHA and EPA while retaining the quality and purity of the oils. This has been pushed by new research documenting the need for higher levels of fish oils for therapeutic effects. With concentrated fish oils, you need to take fewer capsules. This means less capsules and cost. Also, no one likes to swallow more capsules than necessary.

Fish oil usually comes in concentration of 300mg of EPA and DHA per each 1000mg softgel. PRISTIN® FISHGEL contains 660mg of EPA & DHA which is the high strength Omega-3 in the market.

Taking 2 softgels of 300mg concentration per softgel does not equal taking one softgel of 660mg concentration because you are consuming a lot more “other oils” (those that make up for the remaining 70% of the softgel.) This is important for those who need a higher dose of EPA/DHA for therapeutic purpose.

In conclusion, make sure to properly read the label on any fish oil you buy. Should you choose to consume a fish oil supplement, choose a brand with a higher concentration of EPA & DHA per softgel.

To find the most cost effective Omega-3 supplements, you may want to use the formula recommended by Artemis Simopoulis M.D., the author of The Omega Plan:

  • Add up the EPA and DHA per capsule
  • Multiply this by the number of capsules in the bottle
  • Divide the cost with the total EPA/DHA per bottle
  • This will give you the cost per milligram
  • To find out the cost per gram, multiply by 1000.

Vegetarians have the option of taking flaxseed. Flaxseeds provide the necessary raw materials to produce the needed EPA and DHA. Flaxseeds are one of the richest sources of alpha linolenic acids (ALA). This takes some time to convert and thus, flaxseed has a slower effect than fish oil. The body’s ability to effectively convert ALA to EPA or DHA declines with age. Thus, fish oil remains the best option to supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids.

They do. They are packed with phyto-estrogens (plant based estrogens). They are also packed with another substance called lignans. They have powerful protective effects. However, you do not get them when you take flaxseed oil. You must take the whole flaxseed for the lignans and phyto-estrogens.

At the core of both plant- and animal-source omega-3s is a cluster of molecules called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This ALA is a long-chain fatty acid that comes mainly from plant foods like walnuts, flaxseed, and green leafy vegetables. When your body absorbs fats containing ALA, enzymes convert some of it into longer, more highly polyunsaturated omega-3s called EPA and DHA. These desirable omega-3s are more beneficial to your health, but your body needs about ten ALAs to make one EPA. Fish, on the other hand, is rich in EPA and DHA. Eating fish simply means that your body is supplied with EPA & DHA directly without any conversion from ALA doesn’t have to work so hard converting fatty acids. Fish is your most accessible and concentrated source of EicosaPentaenoic Acid and DocosaHexaenoic Acid.