Why do you need Omega 3s?
- When Omega 3 consumption increases, your risk of cardiovascular disease decreases
- High levels of the Omega 3 fatty acid – DHA are required for optimal mental performance and vision
- Low levels of Omega 3s have been associated with depression, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, as well as developmental coordination disorder.
- Omega 3 supplements have been shown to improve the condition of chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, various skin disorders, and gastrointestinal disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Crohn’s disease
- Omega 3s may help men reduce their risk of prostate cancer.
- And if that isn’t enough, various population studies have also shown that diets high in Omega 3s have been effective in preventing:
- chronic eye conditions (cataracts, dry eye),
- allergic sensitivity in very young children,
- lung/breathing capacity and chronic pulmonary disorders,
- bone health, and
Now you know why you need Omega 3s.
So, what’s the best way to get them?
Currently, there is a bit of disagreement between Omega 3 experts.
On one hand, we have experts like Dr. David Jenkins who prefer we get our Omega 3s from the plant based Omega 3 – ALA.
Dietary sources of the Omega 3 – ALA include:
- canola oil
- English walnuts
- specialty eggs
Dr. Jenkins believes that ALA is an effective source of Omega 3s and because it can be found in vegetarian sources such as canola, walnuts and soy, it is superior to the fish-sourced Omega 3s -EPA & DHA.
Dr. Jenkins cites the crisis of global fisheries as an important reason to choose vegetarian sources of Omega 3s.
However, critics of Dr. Jenkins position claim that the majority of Omega 3 fish oil supplements rely on smaller, less commercially attractive fish such as herring and anchovies. These fish are available in large numbers due to their lack of market popularity and higher reproduction rate.
In addition, supplement manufacturers are trying to improve the harvesting of algae and krill as potential mainstream sources of Omega 3s.
Dietary sources of the Omega 3 – EPA include:
- fish oils
- marine sources like krill & algae
Dietary sources of the Omega 3 – DHA include:
- fish oils
- specialty egg/dairy products
And if that wasn’t complicated enough
There is significant research that shows that ALA is an inferior source of Omega 3s.
And why is that?
It’s because our bodies require that ALA be converted into EPA and/or DHA for use in our bodies.
And, apparently our bodies do a pretty poor job of making DHA out of ALA.
So, if you want the benefits of DHA:
You should probably go with a combined EPA/DHA Omega 3 supplement.
But, then again, just about every day, there is some new Omega 3 research being published….so stay tuned.
- Vitamin C puts out the fire of inflammation
- Is Your Diet Giving You Alzheimer’s Disease?
- Why Are Omega 3s Better Than Statins?
- Omega 6 Bad…Omega 3 Good
- DHA/EPA Omega 3 Institute
- Omega 3 and Cardiovascular Health
- Omega 3 and Cancer
- Omega 3 and your Brain
- Omega 3 and your Eyes
- Omega 3 and Inflammation – arthritis, etc…
- Omega 3 and your Mental Health
- Omega 3 and your Nervous System
- Omega 3 and your Kidneys
- Omega 3 and your Skin
- Even more studies….
- Kris-Etherton, P.M., et al. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in the United States . AJCN. 71: 179-188, 2000.
- David J.A. Jenkins MD DSc, et al – Are dietary recommendations for the use of fish oils sustainable?
- Brenna JT et al. Alpha-Linolenic acid supplementation and conversion to n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in humans.