According to a lot of research, omega 3 benefits each of the body’s systems in its own way. The greatest benefits can be found in the heart and the brain.
In places where other fats clog the arteries and contribute to heart disease, the omega 3 fatty acids helps to fight off the heart disease in many ways
Omega-3s and Your Heart
Here I have contributed a list of the things that omega 3 can do for your heart:
- Anti-Coagulant Activity – helps prevent the formation of clots in the blood
- Antioxidant Activity – they help to prevent oxidation of the fats that are found in the bloodstream. When the fats become oxidized, they can stick to the artery walls and harden atherosclerosis
- Relax Smooth Muscles – the help reduce the blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack
- Improves The Levels Of Cholesterol – Cholesterol isn’t all bad. Most individuals who have problems with cholesterol have high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL.
- The particles of LDL are most likely to stick to the walls of the arteries and create clots. HDL is what helps remove the particles of LDL from the blood.
- supplements have been known to increase the amount of HDL
- Lowers The Amount of Blood Triglycerides – triglycerides are the fats found in the blood. The more fats that are found in your blood, the more likely you are to develop blood clots, have a stroke, ordevelop heart disease.
- The prescription medication LOVAX used for high levels of triglycerides is really nothing but omega 3 fish oil
- Anti-Inflammatory Activity – when the oxidized fats get stuck to the artery walls, they create swelling or inflammation, which makes the arteries even narrower
Omega 3 and your Brain
The brains gray matter is mainly fat. Most of the fatty acids found in the brain are Docosahexaenoic acids or DHA’s. DHA is the longest chain of the omega 3 fatty acids. The use of DHA is to make new cells in the brain.
When the cells in the brain are destroyed, they need to be replaced. When new memories are created or new things are learned, new pathways are created and the building of new cells is needed to hold these memories. The construction requires DHA.
Eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA is one of the other long chained fatty acids of omega 3. Without this EPA, the brain is unable to properly function.
- Low blood levels of DHA and EPA are a main cause of the increasing risk of suicidal behavior and depression
- Supplements that contain EPA and DHA have proven to have benefits for diseases such as ADHD
- Supplements that contain EPA have shown effectiveness in promoting the growth of white and gray matter in patients suffering from Huntington’s disease and schizophrenia
- Omega 3 fish oil supplements that contain DHA and EPA reduce the relapse risk in patients who are bipolar
- Post-Partum depression could be a cause of the deficiency of DHA in the blood, since most of the mother’s genes are passed along to the child while it is developing
- DHA is very essential for the development of the fetal brain
You might have seen certain commercials on television that are promoting new infant formulas and baby food’s that are fortified with both EPA and DHA.
The omega 3 fatty acids are very important for the development of a normal brain during childhood.
EPA and DHA can be found in the breast milk of humans, but not in soy-based formulas for infants, or cow milk. For many years, researches have seen that babies who were breast-fed did much better in school.
They were overall very healthy and less likely to obtain asthma and allergies.
There were a lot of theories regarding the difference between babies who were breast-fed and babies that were fed with formulas. Nowadays, doctors agree that the difference lies on the content of fatty acids.
The foods that you consume might contain monounsaturated, trans-fatty, saturated, or polyunsaturated acids.
Trans-fatty acids are made by man. A main source of trans-fats is any partially hydrogenated oils.
These are not essential to the diets of humans. As a matter of fact, they are harmful to your health. Trans-fats may contribute to chronic inflammation and heart disease.
Most dairy products and meats contain a mixture of unsaturated and saturated fats. Pork, dairy products and beef contain more of the saturated fats.
Olives, fish and nuts contain more of the unsaturated fats. A diet that is healthy contains a good amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. All of these are required for the normal function of the body.
Omega 3 and Human Body
Polyunsaturated omega 3′s and omega 6′s are essential to the human body. Nutrients that are essential include those that need to be present in order to eliminate the symptoms of diseases associated with deficiencies.
Many years ago, when the formulas for infants were introduced, scientists thought that omega 6′s were more essential than the omega 3′s.
Their theories were based off of studies on animals, which showed that the omega 6′s were necessary for growth, and were better at supporting the function of kidneys and skin.
It took many years of study to understand that omega 3′s were as vital as the omega 6′s.
Typically, it is found that they are more important.
Omega 6′s are a contribution to inflammation almost the same as saturated fats.
Inflammation plays a large role in cancer, allergies, heart disease, arthritis, asthma and many others.
Omega 3′s may be converted into inflammatory molecules.
The function of inflammation is necessary for the immune system. Although, when the inflammation turns into chronic inflammation, it can cause disease.
The molecules that are created from the omega 3′s are much less inflammatory than the ones that are made from the omega 6′s.
Additionally, the omega 3′s will trigger the construction of the anti-inflammatory compounds. These tell the human body that the inflammation is not needed any longer.
Supplementation will generally improve your overall health and can reduce the risk of fatal health conditions as you get older, as long as you select the right brand of supplement.
Vegans and vegetarians, just like anybody else, need to have a good source of omega 3 in their daily diets.
Omega 3 DHA is very essential to the health of everyone. I recommend making sure that you will be getting enough of this fatty acid.
The foods that contain a good amount of vegetarian sources of Omega 3 or alpha linolenic acid, for vegetarian individuals are:
- Soybean Oil
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Leafy Green Vegetables (small quantities, but a good ratio of omega 3′s to omega 6′s)
- Olive Oil
- Hemp Nut/Hemp Seed (ground)
- Hemp Oil
- Hemp Beverages (“milk”)
- Flax Seed (ground)
- Flax Oil
- English Walnuts
- Canola Oil
The Doses In Perspective
Vegans and vegetarians are more than likely to have a deficiency in the omega 3′s than people who eat meat.
It is rather simple for everybody to consume a good diet that is able to meet the IOM, also known as the Institute of Medicine, suggestions for the intake of alpha linolenic acid; which is equal to about .6% to 1.2% of an individuals everyday energy.
A normal adult who consumes around 2000 calories each day will need about 1.4 – 2.8 grams of ALA each day as well, which equals about a quarter or one teaspoon of flax seed oil, 1.4 tablespoons of oil from soybeans or less than one tablespoon of walnuts.
However, you don’t need to worry about the intake, as a diet that is balanced is very unlikely to have any deficiencies.
Everyone needs to strive to make sure that their amount of omega 6′s they take in are balanced with the amount of omega 3′s.
A lot of people (as well as vegans and vegetarians) eat a greater quantity of omega 6′s that can be found in seeds, grains and nuts. It is very vital to balance these with the sources of the concentrated omega 3′s.
Vegetarian Sources of Omega-3
Flax seed is probably the greatest source of alpha linolenic acid, although all the fats are stored within the seed.
In order for the body to be able to use this fat that is hidden, choose milled (ground) flax oil or flax seed instead of the entire flax seeds.
Hemp seed oil and hemp seed contain great amounts of omega 3 but they have more amounts of omega 6 than the flax does (just keep in mind that the main goal is to increase the amount of omega 3 you are receiving in relation to the omega 6)
Perilla oil, hemp oil and flax oil are able to be taken as a supplement in either capsule or liquid form. Most of the capsules, however, are made from a gelatin, which is made through the bones of animals.
Just remember, that it will take you 16 capsules to make up for one full tablespoon of the liquid oil.
The oils in liquid form cannot be heated but they may be added into smoothies, used in dressings or they can be taken straight from the spoon.
Some people enjoy the nutty taste of the hemp or flax oil.
Vegetarian sources of omega 3 are usually converted into the longer chained fats DHA and EPA within the body.
The conversion rate is typically low in a lot of individuals; however DHA and EPA are the main sources that are associated with the benefits of health such as brain health and cardiovascular protection.
Due to this reason, a lot of individuals choose to use an algae supplement high in DHA.
As for me, I’ll just stick with my regular diet.
Many clinical studies have found benefits to cardiovascular and heart health in people who are taking more than one gram each day of the DHA and EPA from the fish oils.
Even though these benefits are well-founded, it doesn’t mean that vegans and vegetarians should be mega-dosing as well.
Vegans and vegetarians have lower risks of chronic and cardiovascular disease than the normal population already.
Understand that not eating fish doesn’t signify a deficiency in omega 3 DHA.
Supplements for children and adults can be discussed during a meeting with a health care provider.
Fortified (“Enriched”) Foods
Since they possess potential benefits to health and they are important to nutrition (especially for kids), many everyday foods are now being enriched with omega 3′s.
On the package, you might find a list of omega 3′s such as ALA, DHA or EPA. DHA and EPA come from fishes unless the package specifically lists the term algae.
The products could differ by region and country; and the food labels are the best place to find this information.
Foods Enriched With Vegetarian Sources of omega 3
Some foods that are enriched with the vegetarian sources of omega 3 are:
- Eggs: made by feeding flax seed to the hens
- Soy Milk / Soy Beverages: usually from the source of flax seed
- Breads Made From Grain: generally made with flax seed
- Margarine: some brands might use a olive/flax oil combination although some will use fish oil; check the label to ensure
- Milk: some brands of milk (such as Beatrice brand) will enrich their milk with vegetarian sourced alpha linolenic acid; and some will not
- Yogurt: some brands of yogurt will use flax oil and some will use fish oils; however all are free from gelatin
- Salad Dressings: will usually use a mixture of oils (such as olive, canola and flax).
Some enriched foods that will use non-vegetarian sources of omega 3 or DHA (such as fish) are:
- Headstart Bread (Wonder Brand): uses DHA derived from fish
- Orange Juice: DHA that is also derived from fish
- Margarine: could be derived from fish (some brands might use olive/flax oil, and some might use fish oil)
- Milk: some brands of milk might fortify their milk with DHA that comes from a diet contained with fish that they feed to their cows
- Yogurt: many of the brands will use fish oil
If you are curious about whether or not the product you are choosing uses fish oils or not, you can always check the nutrition label to see how they fortified the product.
I suggest that if you are a vegetarian you talk to your physician about how healthy these supplements can be for you.
Why We Need Omega 3 Supplements
In our fast paced modern life, time is at premium where food and nutrition becomes a casualty and consequently, it affects your health and the health of your children.
Do a quick check; what do you put on the table for breakfast? 9 out 10 times the answer would be – ready made cereals dunked in milk, some orange juice pulled out of tetra pack and some eggs, and some greasy bacon.
What do you snack on when you reach your office, most probably coffee and bagels. What about the power lunch?
Often times, it will be just a big fat sandwich that you hurriedly put together full of saturated fats, cheese, salami, and that odd lettuce leaf. Back home in the evening after a long day at work, what do you normally eat?
Oh! Forget it, just order a Pizza or a cheap Chinese takeaway. If this is the routine that you follow, you are on a perfect path to clog your arteries with all the fats that you do not need.
Every one of the foods described above is unhealthy and only serves to increase the levels of cholesterol in your blood which get deposited as plaque in your arteries and cause a heart attack.
However, nature has been kinder to us by giving us a super solution to good health – Omega 3 fatty acids.
What Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Omega 3 fatty acids are non saturated poly acids that are found abundantly in fish oil and flax seeds. The main omega 3 fatty acids are EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA), DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA) and α-Linolenic Acid (ALA).
These fatty acids help in reducing triglycerides and thus lower the overall bad cholesterol in the blood. Also, Omega 3 fatty acids help in dilating the artery walls, making it easy for blood to flow.
Thus, constriction is reduced and that reduces chances of developing a heart attack.
Omega 3 Helps Prevents Heart Attacks
Extensive clinical trials across decades starting from the 1960s have shown that Omega 3 fatty acids have a beneficial effect in reducing incidences of coronary heart disease and thus have been recommended by doctors to heart patients with good results.
No More Rickets or Arthritis
Omega 3 fatty acids help in preventing arthritis and rickets and was the chief reason why Cod Liver oil which is rich in Omega 3 was consumed daily by generations.
Not only does Omega 3 prevent bone diseases, it is also useful for building up general immunity and fight coughs, cold, and fever.
Aids Mental Acuity
Clinical studies have proven that Omega 3 is useful in combating the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, controlling the effects of ADHD and for reducing the severity of depression.
It is for this reason Omega 3 supplements are gaining popularity amongst doctors for complementing the treatment of mental diseases alongside behavioral therapy.
Dilation Effect Put to Good use
Since Omega 3 has a dilating effect on blood vessels, it is used to keep the arteries open after a heart bypass surgery or a kidney transplant.
Good for the Brain
The mythical ability of fish to increase brain power is partly true because fish oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which have been proven to aid normal brain development of the fetus and sharpen mental focus.
So, pregnant women who consume omega 3 supplements, indirectly help their unborn child development, which in turn becomes a stepping stone for higher IQ development.
Aids in Maintaining Better Skin Health
Omega 3 fatty acids are good for your skin also. They help maintain the elasticity of skin and give your skin a healthy glow.
Psoriasis sufferers have found Omega 3 extremely beneficial for reducing the extent of their affliction.
How to Consume Omega 3
Omega 3 can be obtained from eating at least four ounces of oily fish twice a week. However, there are certain disadvantages of taking the ‘fish’ route.
Firstly, fish is expensive and not everyone has access to fresh fish. Secondly, the fish that we get in the supermarket nowadays is probably heavily contaminated with heavy metals and dioxins that accumulate in their bodies due to water pollution.
Even fish oil extracted from the fish liver is contaminated with toxins so it is better to look for safer alternatives.
The Advantages of Omega 3 Supplements
Omega 3 supplements are the best solution for ensuring a toxin free, safe dosage because these supplements are scientifically designed, using natural products properly cleaned and detoxified.
More so, since the supplements are now available in the form of liquid or gelcaps, accurate dosage as required for general health or for fighting specific diseases can be administered.
The plus point of Omega 3 supplements is that they no longer smell fishy or taste horrible as they are flavored with fruit flavors or come in the form of capsules.
Last but not the least, you are not limited by your geographical position to have access to Omega 3, it is available easily over the counter at your nearest supermarket or mall.
There are a number of DHA/Fish Oil products in the market. We have prepared a special guide, where we review many fish oil supplements based on certain standards and criteria.
How to Select the Best Fish Oil
(Tablets, Enteric Coatings, Liquids and Capsules)
There are tablets, capsules and liquids. I prefer anything that doesn’t taste and doesn’t leave a film in your mouth. The liquids possess a shorter amount of time on the shelf.
They are most likely to go bad, and bad oils are harmful to your health since the consist of free radicals.
Taking the right amount of fish oil is very important. Getting the exact amount with the liquid form supplement is rather difficult and sometimes impossible. Besides, the smell and the taste of the liquid isn’t always the best.
To be able to make tablets out of the fish oil, the manufacturer will have to mix the oils with other additives and somewhat cook them. This can reduce the amount of nutritional value and could increase the risk of oxidation.
Capsules are most likely the best choice of them all. The shelf life is much longer, the dosage amount is correct, they are odorless, tasteless and they are very easy to swallow.
An enteric coating isn’t required for a fish oil supplement that is high quality. The nutrients need to be released into the stomach area.
The coating would make them release the oils into the upper intestine. By adding an enteric coating, this could also increase the price of the supplement.
Safety, Purity and Freshness of The Supplements
Speaking generally, supplements are safe for nearly anyone as long as they are taking the correct dosage. The only real concern has been the increased risk of bleeding for individuals taking drugs that are anti-coagulant and for hemophiliacs.
If you are taking any type of prescription drug or you have health problems, it is best that you talk with a pharmacist or doctor about the supplements before you take them.
A lot of study has been performed regarding the dosage amount, and the recommendations are varied. The best choice is to go by the recommendation of the manufacturer.
Make sure you don’t go over that limit unless your doctor has advised you to.
The supplements purity has to do with the types of contaminants. The risk of PCB and mercury contamination is very high. The risk may be even higher if the fish are swimming in waters that are contaminated.
The areas that have the highest amount of contamination the majority of the Gulf of Mexico, the waters around China and Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Chesapeake Bay. These areas have been industrialized for decades.
The waters that surround New Zealand are said to be some of the cleanest waters on the entire planet. Industrialization is mainly limited to the island in the north.
The waters are a good distance way from major lanes of shipping. The government has provided many regulations that will help to protect the environment, ensure that the populations of fish are sustainable and prevent pollution.
The greatest companies use a procedure known as molecular distillation to eliminate all of the toxins and concentrate the fish oil so it has more omega 3.
This is very important, otherwise you could be ingesting harmful toxins that you did not know about.
Freshness is very important, since rancid oils are what contain free radicals. They have already went through oxidation, meaning they are most likely to clog the arteries.
As the nutritionistsays, when supplements cause a person to burp excessively, then they are rancid. A lot of manufacturers will add an artificial flavoring that covers up the taste and the smell of rancid oils.
The greatest manufacturers will offer guarantees on your money back. If you are not satisfied with their product, you may return the portion that is unused for a complete refund of your money.
Why Fish Oil is the Greatest Resource of Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Fish oil is able to contain the significant amount of EPA and DHA. Flax seed, as well as other vegan sources only contain alpha linolenic acid, or ALA. You won’t find any other supplement that can do this for you, believe me!
ALA is the shortest chain of fatty acids. The human body might have the ability to convert ALA into EPA and then into DHA, however the process is rather inefficient.
Studies have shown that supplementation of ALA does not increase the blood’s levels of DHA, whatsoever. Because it is the longest chain of fatty acids, DHA can simply be converted down to EPA or even ALA if the body truly needs them.
Complete Range of Omega 3 Oils
You now have the possibility of getting fish oils in premium and ultra as well.
The greatest premium oils contain antioxidants that were added such as astaxanthin and lycopene to help reverse the effects of sun damaged skin and skin aging. These may also help to reduce the visibility of age spots.
The ultra oils contain an added amount of Ubiquinol and these will help to strengthen and boost the health of your heart and can help increase your amount of energy.
The Most Effective Fish Oil Supplements
If you choose the most effective supplement, you will immediately notice something different.
The instant advantages that you might see include:
- Improved Joint Function: more flexibility, less pain, due to the anti-inflammatory activity
- Better Vision: 60% of the retina’s fatty acids are DHA
- Improved Ability To Focus: because of the benefits that it provides the brain with
- Better Mood: also because of the brain benefits
- Weight Loss: many studies have proved that supplementation can benefit individuals who need to lose some weight. The benefits have come from the decreased amount of appetite.
You might not be able to see the long term effects for a long time. Even though these supplements aren’t the only beneficial supplements, they are one of the most vital.
Take this and use it wisely as it will help you along the way to a better lifestyle, like I did.