Why Omega 3 Is A Must For All Adults
by Bruce Brightman - LifeSource Vitamins
What is the relationship between omega-3 and cancer?
I have heard of the benefits of omega-3 for the developing fetus. Any
info on safety or recommendation of fish oil capsules. Should expecting
Mother's take Omega 3?
The long chain omega-3 polyunsaturates are essential for the optimal
development of the fetus. They are especially important for the formation
of a healthy brain, eyes and nervous system. Each is made up in large part
from the long chain omega-3s and studies have shown that if the mother's
diet does not provide sufficient omega-3, then the formation and function
of the fetal organs can be impaired somewhat. Salmon, like other oil-rich
fish, is an excellent source of the long chain omega-3 polyunsaturates.
Approximately 20% of salmon oil is made up of the omega-3 polyunsaturates,
of which the two major components are EPA and DHA. There is no information
which suggests that salmon oil capsules are not safe. As far as intake
recommendation is concerned, for the average pregnant woman, experts
recommend an intake of 650mg of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturates per day,
of which at least 300mg should be DHA. Thus to achieve this intake from
Fish oil capsules, a daily intake of 3000mg of oil will be needed.
How does omega-3 aid in weight watching?
The long chain omega-3 polyunsaturates can aid weight loss by enabling each
of the body's cells to function in the optimal manner. Accumulation of fat
is the body's response to a surplus of energy over needs. When the reverse
occurs, as in a weight loss diet, the stored energy (fat) should be
liberated and burned. However, some people appear to have a problem with
this mechanism, and it has been suggested that a part of the reason for
this is that the membranes which surround each of the body's cells are not
functioning in the way they should because their composition is out of
balance. Cell membranes are made up largely of polyunsaturates. We now know
that there are two families of polyunsaturates which are important in the
make up of cell membranes: the omega-3 family from fish, and the omega-6
family from vegetable oils like sunflower seed oil. Over the past 50 years,
diets in the West have changed, to supply about twice as much omega-6, and
only half as much omega-3. Thus the balance has changed. Cell membrane
composition has changed too, and some scientists think that this change in
membrane composition has made it more difficult for cells to lose the
accumulated fat they contain. Evidence recently published showed that
weight loss was greater on a calorie-restricted diet when a small amount of
fish oil was added to the diet, compared to the same diet when olive oil
was added instead of the fish oil.
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What are the benefits of EPA? I use this supplement for everyday and
one tablet per day.
EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, is one of the long chain omega-3
polyunsaturates found mainly in the oil from fish. Having a small amount of
EPA and its related polyunsaturate DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, (e.g.
650mg/day) is reckoned by those scientists studying this subject to be a
sensible dietary goal. This amount will provide some protection from heart
disease, and perhaps cancer, depression and other common ills.
Could you give more info on products enriched with omega-3 - e.g. bread,
spread, milk, juices
The availability of ordinary foods fortified with small amounts of fish
oils varies from one country to another, but in general is increasing all
the time, as awareness of the health benefits of the long chain omega-3
polyunsaturates spreads. In the Asian/Pacific region, there are milks,
yoghurts, and fruit juices available containing the omega-3s. In the U.S.
and Europe there are eggs, spreads, and juices available. In Scandinavia
and Australia there are breads and eggs available. In Britain at present
there are only eggs with an enhanced omega-3 level.
Could you please expand on omega-3 and psoriasis:
The relationship between psoriasis and the long chain polyunsaturates from
fish oil is one which is quite well documented scientifically. Psoriasis is
one of the inflammatory diseases and increasing the amount of the long
chain omega-3 polyunsaturates in the diet is known to aid in bringing about
a more anti-inflammatory state. The first trials in this area were carried
out in the early 1980s and they showed that taking 10g of fish oil daily
for 3 months brought about a lessening of psoriatic symptoms such as
itching, flakiness and redness of skin, as well as a reduction in the
amount of the body affected. Since the, several other trials have been
carried out - all showing much the same thing. The disease is not cured by
the omega-3 polyunsaturates, but it does become much easier to live with,
and can be more readily controlled. Another aspect of the situation is that
the omega-3 polyunsaturates can help to counteract some of the adverse
effects of conventional psoriasis drugs.
What are the neurological health benefits of omega-3?
A significant part of the structure of brain, nerves and the retina of the
eye is composed of the long chain omega-3 polyunsaturates such as are only
found in fish oil. The long chain omega-3 polyunsaturates are essential for
the optimal development of a healthy brain, eyes and nervous system.
Studies have shown that if the diet does not provide sufficient omega-3,
then the formation and function of these vital organs is impaired somewhat.
Depression or bipolar disorder is one common condition thought to be
affected by brain omega-3 levels. Studies comparing the incidence of
depression in different areas of the world have suggested that depression
is less common in areas where large amounts of fish are consumed. Studies
from hospitals have also recently provided another type of evidence that
depression might well be linked with a shortage of the long chain omega-3
polyunsaturates from fish. Research published in the Archives of General
Psychiatry (199; 56:407-412) reported the results of a study in which
severe manic-depressives (bipolar disorder) patients were treated with long
chain omega-3 polyunsaturates (10g/day) from fish oil. A control group was
given olive oil instead of fish oil. After 4 months, the trial was stopped
because the fish oil group had improved so much that it would have been
unethical to continue to deny the benefits to the placebo group. Other
areas in which the long chain omega-3 polyunsaturates from fish are thought
to be involved include eyesight development in very young children,
dyslexia, dyspraxia, hyperactivity, intelligence, problem solving ability,
and even protection from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Research
on all these areas is not yet well developed, but the indications are
substantial, and consistent with epidemiological observations, and the
theoretical predictions of experts in these areas.
How much omega-3 can be obtained from fresh water lake fish, if any?
Freshwater fish can be a useful source of the long chain omega-3
polyunsaturates, but the amount is very variable, depending on conditions.
The amount depends on the type of plankton and microscopic plants found in
the water in which the fish are reared. Tropical areas often have different
organisms to those found in more temperate areas and, as a result, can have
low omega-3 levels. If the fish are farmed, the type of food they are fed
will have a big influence. For more information relevant to your area, try
asking local universities if they have more detailed information. Also ask
of the mercury and lead counts.
Are sardines a good source of omega-3? Does the canning process affect
Sardines are generally a good source of omega-3s. The canning process does
not adversely affect levels. The processing is carried out under
oxygen-free conditions and so no significant damaged occurs. Similarly with
the oil in capsules - as long as oxygen is kept away, damage is negligible
Is there a high, or even not so high, concentration of omega-3 in
regular tuna? I've heard albacore tuna has a lot. I eat tuna sandwiches
every day, but I'm not sure that they're albacore tuna. Does it make a
Fresh and frozen tuna are excellent sources of long chain omega-3
polyunsaturates, supplying around 5% total oil of which 20% is omega-3.
However, during the canning process, most of the oil and therefore most of
the omega-3 is lost. This is mainly because tuna is cooked before it is
canned, and during the cooking process much of the oil is separated and
lost. The meat that goes in the tin thus has a low oil content (usually
less than 1g per 100g) and a low omega-3 content (usually less than 0.4g
per 100g). It matters little whether the tuna is albacore or yellow fin
because once it is canned there is little omega-3 left. Some tuna packers
do can raw tuna so that the omega-3 content is higher, but it is usually
difficult to distinguish such products from the others in the marketplace.
Enquire of the producer to be certain. These comments only apply to tuna.
Other canned fish are just as good as the raw fish as sources of long chain
I would like to know if it's OK for children to take omega-3 and how
Omega-3 is perfectly safe for children to take, though practical problems
can make it difficult for children under 5. As far as amounts are
concerned, for children between 5 and 10 years of age, I suggest you try to
get an intake of around 300mg per day of long chain omega-3 (from fish
oil). If you want to use vegetable omega-3, you must increase this by 10
times to have the same effect. For children over 10, we suggest about 500mg
Have there been studies showing the relationship between omega-3 and
such conditions as Tourette syndrome, ADD and OCD?
To date there have been no published studies looking at the relationship between omega-3 intake and Tourette's syndrome or OCD. Some studies have been reported on ADD (ADHD) but so far these are only observational studies that suggest that ADHD sufferers have low omega-3 levels. There are currently two studies underway in which patients with ADHD are being given
omega-3 supplements, but so far the results have not been published, though
they are due sometime in 2000.
I am interested in starting to take omega-3 and was wondering whether
there are any drug or vitamin interactions. Also, do I have to take the
fish oil with a vitamin E supplement?
The omega-3 polyunsaturates are components of foods and as such will not
likely to interact with drugs, though it is difficult to be exact since there are so many drugs being launched all the time. If you are taking any drug on the recommendation of a physician it would be wise to inform him or her when next you visit. There are no known interactions with vitamins or minerals. It is a good idea to ensure a good intake of vitamin E if you are going to take an omega-3 supplement.
Does Omega 3 oil actually oil the joints - and if so, how does it get
It has been known for quite some time that the reason Omega 3 oil relieves
joint pain and helps maintain joint suppleness and flexibility is that it
contains omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturates - the most powerful
anti-inflammatory found in nature. The omega-3 are delivered to the site of
the inflammation in the blood.
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