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Omega 3 fats are part of the cell membrane of every single one of them. Providing an adequate supply of Omega- 3 to the body is critical to promoting and maintaining optimal health. Now lets understand that good fat is actually good. The 1980's are over. We should all be aware now that not all fat is bad. There are in fact good fats and bad fats. Omega 3's are part of a class of fats known as Essential Fatty Acids or "EFA's." These are good fats, we need them. Essential fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fats, are called essential because they cannot be manufactured by the body. They must be obtained from the food we eat. Other common EFA's are Omega 6 and Omega 9. Less common are Omega 7 (sea buckthorn) and there's also Omega 5. In an average diet most people get adequate amounts of the important EFA's Omega 6 and 9. Often, as much as is needed by the body or more. However, our dietary intake of the critical EFA Omega-3 is far below the amount needed by the body for optimal health. According to current conceptions of human nutrition, most nutritional scientists claim that our bodies should maintain roughly a 2-1 ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6. That there should be about two Omega 3's to every one Omega 6 in the body. According to others we should have at least a one to one ratio. In actuality though many people have roughly a 15-1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3, and some as much as 20-1. In most cases it is not the result of excessive Omega 6 intake causing this upsidedown ratio but an extremely inadequate Omega 3 intake. That is to say that our Omega 6 intake is not typically high. For most people it is around where it's supposed to be. Our Omega 3 intake however is staggeringly low. Our extremely insufficient Omega 3 intake keeps the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 completely the opposite of what our bodies need to function optimally. Some examples: To maintain good health an ideal supply of Omega 3 EFA's in the body is not only helpful, it is principle in preventing and aiding a large number of common health concerns. A basic internet search on the benefits of Omega 3 yields numbers of studies published in major medical and nutritional periodicals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, Psychiatry Res., The Journal of Affective- Disorders, The American Journal of Clinical- Nutrition... Pointing out the benefits Omega 3 has on modern health conditions, many of the studies demonstrate pronounced improvement for some common problems. -Omega 3 fats are a natural and powerful anti-inflammatory. As a result, highly concentrated Omega 3 is recommended by Doctors for Rheumatoid Arthritis (an auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks itself and presents inflammation or swelling, and pain). -Doctors and nutritionists have documented positive results from high concentration Omega 3 used to aid focus and concentration in patients with ADD. -Omega 3 fats have been extremely effective in naturally lowering blood pressure, triglycerides, and bad cholesterol, as well as for improving overall heart health. Large population studies suggest that omega-3 in the diet, primarily from fish, helps protect against stroke caused by plaque buildup and blood clots in the arteries that lead to the brain.
-Studies have linked Omega 3's to relief for intestinal disorders such as IBS, Crohn's and Ceoliacs diseases. -Omega 3's have been shown to promote healthy brain function, to help provide mental clarity, to help with skin conditions and more. Tracking the research and benefits. The nutrition industry web-tool Healthnotes applies 'star' ratings to indicate an amount of scientific evidence to demonstrate a natural products ability to help a specific health issue, or to provide needed support for healthy living. 1-3 stars are given based on the results of study's published in a reputable health journal or magazine. 1-star in healthnotes means there is some scientific data indicating a product will help a certain need, but limited. Some evidence is there but is preliminary or inconclusive. Using this product for that problem might help. 2-stars indicates there is a fair amount of scientific data that a product will help a certain need. That it will help, has been shown to help, or is worth trying. 3-stars means that there is a substantial body of reliable and consistent scientific data that this product will help this need and it's use is highly recommended. Star ratings for Omega 3. Here's some Healthnotes findings from published studies on the benefits of Omega 3 and various common health conditions 1 Star - Alzheimer's Disease, Angina, Type 1 & 2 Diabetes, Glaucoma, Photo sensitivity, Migraines, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Pre-Eclampsia, Dysmenorrhea, Endometriosis. 2 Stars - High Cholesterol, Depression, ADD/ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Anxiety, Asthma, Atherosclerosis, Breast-feeding support, Lupus, Raynauds's Disease, Macular Degeneration, Multiple Sclerosis, Schizophrenia, PMS, Pre and Post Surgery health, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Cystic Fibrosis, Eczema, Heart Attack, Ulcerative Colitis. 3 Stars - Crohn's Disease, High Blood Pressure, High Triglycerides, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis. Anecdotes. After taking Omega 3 supplements people have said their doctor told them their blood pressure is lower. After giving a child Omega 3 supplements consistently, parents of children with ADD received a call from school that their child's attentiveness and behavior had improved (other nutrients like magnesium or L-theanine can also be important to help with excitability and calmness). Improvements can be seen even within one to three weeks of consistent supplementing. However, it's important to note that improving health through nutrition is a slow, natural process. When taking nutritional supplements to assist with a health problem the body requires unwavering consistency, and time to build up its stores of a micro-nutrient. The body will begin to rely on the steady presence of the beneficial product and put it to use. After this improvement can be seen. One to three months is normal for this building process (cases vary).
Bad fat is bad. Saturated fats from animal products increase the levels of blood cholesterol in the body. They are high in Arachadonic acid and when over-consumed hinder or interfere with the immune system. This can lead to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory conditions and dementia. Even more damaging are trans-fatty acids (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used in margarine and vegetable shortening) which, in addition to their own destructive properties and results interfere with the normal metabolism of good fats. Omega 3 vs. Fish oil. Not all fish oil supplements give us with what we need. To explain, we must understand that 'fish oil' does not benefit us at all! Not even a little. It's only the Omega 3 content of the fish oil that benefits us. Fish oil is simply a carrier for the Omega 3 fats. Nothing more. Omega 3 fats are healthy for our bodies, not fish oil. Once more, the Omega 3 in the fish oil benefits us, the fish oil itself does not. As with any nutritional supplement, to choose a quality fish oil product you have to read the label. A good, or 'high quality' fish oil product will have at least a fifty percent ratio of Omega 3 to fish oil(aka marine lipid concentrate). What this means is, even though all of the oil extracted from a fish is fish oil, not all of that fish oil is Omega 3. To explain further, if we squeeze fish in a press and gather all of the oil, the fish oil, in a cup then 100% of what is in our cup is fish oil. But not all of that fish oil is Omega 3. In a high quality fish oil product at least half of the total amount of 'fish oil' should be in the form of Omega 3. For instance, if a product label reads that it contains 1000 mg of fish oil 'per capsule,' then we want to see on the same label 500 mg Omega 3, at least. Like this: Total fish oil (marine lipid concentrate):- 1000 mg Total Omega 3 (EPA,DHA, ALA/other): - 500 mg This is a fifty percent ratio. Fifty percent of the total fish oil content of that capsule is Omega 3. This is an example of a high quality product. Below fifty percent isn't. Since it's only the Omega-3 content of the fish oil that provides benefit, not the fish oil itself, we want a high ratio of Omega 3 to fish oil. While a Fish-oil product may have printed on the label "1,000 mg of fish oil per capsule," what we really want to know is how much Omega 3 fat is in that 1,000 mg of fish oil. A fish oil product that has 1000 mg of fish oil per capsule but only 100 mg, 150, mg or 200 mg of Omega 3 is common. They're easy to find for a cheap price at a supermarket. But in these products we consume between 800 and 900 mg of just fish oil with each capsule. This doesn't benefit us at all, 80-90% of this product does nothing for us. Of course the price is cheap. The part we gain benefit from, Omega 3, is minimal. Commensurate with what we've paid. It's a lot of fish oil to consume to only benefit from the 1/10 - 1/5 that actually has Omega 3 fats. If we needed 1200 mg of Omega 3/day, we'd have to take 6-12 capsules a day from brands with these ratios. Apart from obligating us to take a lot more capsules than necessary when using better products, products at 10-20% ratios are inexpensive because they lag behind the latest industry standards and advancements. With a very low cost product we also consider which fish the 'fish oil' comes
from, as well as, the source of the fish, molecular distillation, perhaps the absence of any quality standard at all. In the end, the cost of a fish oil product will be more if it is a high concentration and if it is a product that offers the best in quality standards. Fortunately, most health store retailers offer discounts. The highest Omega 3/fish oil ratios the market produces is around 70%. In a 1000 mg capsule there can be around 700 mg of Omega 3 and 300 mg of just fish oil. The Omega 3 fatty acid is able to be acquired by our bodies only from dietary sources, vegetable and marine. It breaks down into three subcategories EPA, DHA, and ALA. EPA and DHA, Eicosapentaonic acid and Decohexaonic acid, are chemically long-chain fatty acids. These are obtained in their long-chain state only from marine sources. Specifically from the oil of certain fish or from marine algae. ALA, Alpha Linolenic acid, is chemically a short-chain fatty acid, and is obtained from marine sources or from vegetable sources such as flax seeds. The main benefits of Omega 3's are in the long-chain fatty acids EPA and DHA. Nearly all the benefits we seek to get from fish oil supplements, the ones we read about (all of the benefits listed in Healthnotes) are in the Omega 3 long-chain fatty acids EPA and DHA only. The Omega 3 shortchain fatty acid ALA can be directly beneficial for many health concerns, especially for skin and hair. However, the studies uncovering the benefits we read and hear about are showing results mainly of the long-chain fatty acids EPA and DHA taken from marine sources. Meaning from fish oil. Fish oil based Omega 3 is where the main positive results are coming from, not vegetable source Omega 3 which can only directly provide the short-chain Omega 3 ALA. Converting ALA isn't enough. In order to get the main benefits of Omega 3 from vegetable sources, ALA must be converted to EPA. Although the body will convert ALA to EPA, it does so very inefficiently. The most liberal reports on the benefits of vegetable based Omega-3's (ALA) show only about 3-5% of it being converted into a long-chain fatty acid (EPA). Some studies show that only about 1-3% will be effectively converted. This means that to get the main benefits (as omega 3 EPA), the volume of 'vegetable'-sourced Omega 3 we would have to eat or take in and then convert is almost virtually beyond reach. Despite recent trends, in order to truly benefit using vegetable Omega 3 such as Salba Seed, Sage, flaxseed etc, we'd have to eat like an undomesticated equine (a wild horse). Otherwise there just won't be enough Omega 3. Vegans should keep up the good work. Eat flax seed and flax seed oil, evening- primrose oil, borage oil, avocados, dark green leafy veg's, walnuts, Salba seed etc. The main vegetable sources of Omega 3. With the right amounts these can be very helpful to maintain optimal health for an average healthy person. They're also helpful for many health concerns too. But, if you need to assist some of the more major health concerns that Omega 3's help, this approach may not be nearly enough. For most health conditions EPA and DHA are the form of Omega 3 the body needs to benefit from. The options are: -Though vegans don't eat fish, you might consider taking a fish oil capsule (the most effective way to boost EPA/DHA quickly).
-Next, DHA is available from marine algae both as food and as a supplement (the dose is low and requires taking more). -Lastly, you can attempt to eat enough vegetable Omega 3, ALA, for the body to convert into sufficient EPA and DHA to help. Though for the reasons already mentioned this may be hard to pull off in any practical way. Fish and fish oil are our main viable sources for obtaining the really helpful micro-nutrients known as Omega 3. Though, eating fish doesn't always do. Omega 3 is most often needed in highly concentrated levels to get enough to meet our bodies' goals. Most people just don't eat fish often enough to get the high concentrations required to realize the health benefits omega 3's provide. Also, although most nutritionists and doctors will recommend eating fish, current recommendations are in moderation. Due to high levels of neuro-toxins found in most fish (mercury, PCB's, cadmium, and lead mainly) only around three servings per week is advised. These amounts won't give us the levels of Omega 3's necessary for boosting our health. Fish oil supplements are concentrated and have many times the Omega 3's we would get by eating fish. Even if we ate fish a lot. Toxins and Waters. It's best to use a fish oil supplement that has had molecular distillation. This is an excellent way to assure the absence of toxins. (It's important that the distillation method uses low heat, high vacuum pressure, as opposed to standard molecular distillation which uses high heat in the distillation process. High temperatures can chemically alter the oil and/or ruin it. In the former the effect is the same but the oil remains in tact.) It seems reputable, or higher quality, suppliers do it this way. It is also best to use fish from clean ocean waters to get the healthiest and highest Omega 3 fish. As well as another layer of protection against toxins. Quality fish oil from reputable brands use fish taken from the deep cold waters off of the coast of Peru or Chile (Hoki is fished off the coast of New Zealand). Migration can have these fish taken from the Nordic Seas too. But, despite some companies claims this is uncommon. The Nordic Seas are almost always the source for cod, for cod liver oil, no matter the brand. These are the places considered to be among the cleanest waters in the in the world. Which fish? Makers of fish oil supplements produce viable means for getting sufficient quantities of Omega 3 with capsules and liquids. But it does matter which fish they use! It's best to use fish oil products that are made only from small-body deep-water fish. Sardines, anchovy and mackerel are the best choice. They're highest in omega 3 & low in toxins. These are considered the best fish for both categories. Herring and Hoki are excellent too. (These fish are all extremely high in Omega 3, and have too short a life-cycle to absorb a lot of the heavy metal toxins from the ocean). Salmon oil, cod liver oil, and krill oil, are good sources of Omega 3's as well. Salmon and cod are larger body longer life-cycle fish and toxins can therefore be a bigger concern, so a high quality
removal of toxins should be verified. Cod liver oil is high in vitamins A and D both of which can overdose (especially A) so limited dosing may be required. For krill (a type of shell-fish), there is no consistent evidence to support the theory that it is a superior source of Omega 3 than sardines, anchovy, or mackerel. Ingredients in a fish oil product should be limited to: the fish oil itself, natural vitamin E (protection against oxidation), and the ingredients of the capsule. Or natural flavoring. Nothing else. Typically from lesser known suppliers fish oil products are often found with lots of other ingredients. Careful wording, and phrases like "beneficial anti-oxidants," lead us to believe that it is for our benefit. But extra ingredients like rosemary and oregano or excess scents or flavors, can be used in an inexpensive fish oil product to mask the smell or taste of cheap or even rancid oil. Oil that wasn't processed quickly, or that's traveled long distances before processing, may need extra antioxidants and scents to hide odor or to slow the natural oxidation process (apparently much more than is required under more ideal circumstances). Processing can get delayed, and raw product shipped long distances in order to facilitate combining monetary resources of multiple smaller companies or makers of low cost product. To save costs, using generic varieties of fish, or no molecular distillation are other short cuts that can be common in cheap product. Higher quality product can have a higher cost to the manufacturer. Dealing with suppliers who process immediately after the ships arrive in port and who get premium Omega 3 fish can cost more. When researching fish oil products it becomes clear that the most respected fish oil products have the same few ingredients: The fish oil itself, a little vitamin e (tocopheral), and the capsule. These are supposed to be in there. Nothing more. This can be why some products cost more than others. Enteric coating (e/c) of a product means that the capsule has been given a special outer layer unaffected by acidic pH. This means the capsule will not break down (open) in the stomach where the pH is acidic. The enteric coating is however affected by alkaline pH and will break down and release the capsule's contents in the small intestine where the pH is alkaline (specifically in the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine, just after the stomach). Some have said that the process of enteric coating is designed to mask inferior oil. This is certainly a possibility. It may in fact be so in some cases (unfamiliar brands, mass-market, low cost products). Respectable supplement manufacturers though are not likely employ such a tactic to sell product. In most cases they wouldn't need to and, if caught, they risk alienating a hard won customer base, or damaging a well established reputation. Although most manufacturers of high quality fish oil don't enteric coat their capsule it is reasonable that some do. A high quality fish oil supplement usually also means a high concentration of fish oil. This can result in minor burping for people with poor digestion. This is temporary, but undesirable. For the benefit of those people some companies will enteric coat a capsule to help avoid problems.
Taste and smell are no problem. Quality fish oil should not taste or smell fishy. At all. If it's fresh fish oil made from fresh fish processed right away, it should be a slightly oily liquid without taste. Unless flavor is added. On it's own it should taste like nothing, like water. (Especially after molecular-distillation.) The oily consistency should be a bit thinner than olive oil. Fairly loose. At an outdoor fish market the often familiar fish odor is a result of the oxidation of the fish. The fish getting old and beginning to turn rancid, and is definitely not fresh. In general, when buying fresh fish it should not have an unpleasant or even a fishy smell. It should smell mainly like the ocean. A well kept fish counter at a local market that carries fresh fish doesn't usually have a fishy smell. It usually has an ocean smell. It's the same with fish oil. A high quality fresh fish oil product whether as a capsule or a liquid should have no smell or taste except when there is flavor added. Especially when moleculardistilled, which is the case with nearly all major suppliers of fish oil products. There is no need to avoid a liquid fish oil. Especially from a reputable manufacturer. When flavored it is just little more thick than water and will generally have a pleasant taste. There's usually lemon, orange, and lemon lime flavor. Bear in mind though that "lemon flavor" does not mean lemonade flavor (sugar flavor). Liquids are the best way to go if you need high doses of Omega 3's. A teaspoon of liquid fish oil can often be the equal of 4-6 capsules for the same amount of Omega 3 (and 8 capsules from some companies). When trying a liquid for the first time, smelling it can help. There will be a nice aroma to start you off. How much do you need to take, for General Maintenance. For an average healthy adult taking a daily fish oil supplement in amounts ranging between 500 mg and 1500 mg Omega 3 is a good protocol for general health and maintenance of the body. This amount is of Omega 3 specifically though and not just fish oil. Narrowing this range will depend on how much Omega 3 is in the diet. Also, the amounts of Omega 3's found in supplements vary widely and so the number of capsules needed to acquire a desired dose will depend on the strength of the product. In the case of an average healthy adult, if dietary intake of Omega 3 is very little to none, then taking between 1000 mg and 1500 mg of Omega 3 in supplement form is a good average range to be within in order to promote and maintain optimal health. Less is needed, 500 - 1000 mg, when Omega 3 is more present in the diet. Again, this will vary from one brand to another but this is a good range. How much do you need to take for Specific Help. When targeting or assisting with the treatment of health conditions it is best to get counseling from a nutritional health professional. Research indicates that amounts varying from 2000 - 4000 mg a day of Omega 3 specifically may be needed depending on the condition. In some cases much more is used. It is advisable when taking more than about 3500 - 4000 mg of Omega 3 specifically (not just fish oil) per day consistently, it is best to do so with the guidance of a nutritional professional. People with heart disease or diabetes should only take high-doses of daily fish oil with professional guidance.
These amounts of Omega 3 are fairly high, in the range or 10,000 mg of 'fish oil.' What this means is that most people will not approach the upper limits of advised intake with normal or even above average doses. How to take. As a general rule when taking supplements as well as Omega 3's and fish oil taking them with a meal is helpful for better dissolution and uptake of the nutrients. That means more effective usage. Not harmful without a meal but better with (being physically active helps too). Drug interactions. The nutritional industry web-tool Healthnotes indicates that there are no contraindications or known adverse reactions to taking Omega 3 with any prescription drugs. Having fish for dinner. As for eating fish, the small-body deep-water fish mentioned above, Sardines, Anchovies and Mackerel, (as well as Herring, Hoki and krill) are all very high Omega 3 very low toxin fish. Higher in Omega 3 and lower in toxins than any larger body fish. For larger fish, Salmon is considered to be the best for high Omega 3 and fairly low toxin fish. Cod is also considered to be better than most. As for eating other types of fish, Omega 3 contents vary, and toxin levels vary as well. Three times per week is recommended to be the most. Tuna is known to be extremely high in toxins particularly in mercury (it is likely the highest of all fish). It's intake should be limited to once a week or less. Brand name products. Taking a supplement has become the main way to get the beneficial Omega 3 long-chain fatty acids EPA & DHA. Typically, most mass market or generic brands don't meet the standards we've touched on. But, there are many clean, high quality, high concentration, fish oil supplements on the market in capsule and liquid forms that do... Solgar Vitamin & Herb; Zahler's (kosher); Nutri-Supreme Research (kosher); Now Foods; Source Naturals; Renew Life; Carlson Labs; Nordic Naturals; Nature's Way are a few of the nutritional supplement manufacturers who make high quality fish oil products and meet (or exceed) all of the above standards. These are some of the best brands out there. There are others that may belong in this list as well. But, these manufacturers all have very good product and are among the largest, most affordable, and most available in stores. Storing and keeping. Fish oil capsules should not be refrigerated but must be kept away from direct sunlight and not placed near a heat source. Always refrigerate liquid fish oil after opening. Form. Determining if your Omega 3's are in triglyceride or ethyl ester form shouldn't be a major concern. There is a leaning in general that favors triglyceride but not a consensus. There are experts in favor of each. It seems both forms have value, and good reasons for being used. The discussion mainly deals with the body's ability to utilize and convert Omega 3 fats into usable components, about product stability, and about concentrations. But, most products sold in stores are ethyl esters. In general most brands don't offer a triglyceride form Omega 3 (Which is probably why most people have never even heard of these two terms. That, and because manufacturers don't print which form the fish oil is in on their labels). As well, the research we read and hear about encouraging us to take Omega 3 fish oil supplements is based on studies that have been conducted using the same products and even
brands that we buy when we go to our natural health stores. That is to say the great majority of this research was done using the ethyl ether form of fish oil which is typically what we buy as well. (For performing a research study a product may have been gotten from the source supplier of a branded product rather than from a specific brand.) Despite infomercials and internet ads insisting that the form they're promoting is the only one that works, the main thing to know is that both forms provide our body's with the critically important EPA & DHA Omega 3 long-chain fatty acids. In short, though one may be better, both are good. Both will work. Overdose. In general, and in most cases, one cannot overdose on Omega 3 (or fish oil). You can waste money though. If you consume large quantities of Omega 3 fish oil but your body doesn't need it, even let's say to help a health condition (meaning if you take considerably more than you require), the body will get rid of it and evacuate what it doesn't need, unused. It is best to take what your body needs, not more. (Though most people do not self diagnose or treat, or engage in taking really high doses, it's important to note that mega-doses of Omega 3's can act as a blood thinner. If you have thin blood, 'Thrombocytopenia,' or are on blood thinners do not exceed average recommended doses of Omega 3's without professional guidance.) History. As a point of historical perspective. Fish oil was first uncovered as a major health benefit when researchers observed that the Inuit and Eskimo eat a diet extremely high in fat, animal fats and whale blubber (apparently a favorite food), and yet have a small fraction of the heart disease of average adults in the Western world. For the Inuit and Eskimo heart disease averages between 1% and 3 % of the population, and averages as low as 1% in some areas. Compared, to between 50% and 60% for most of the Western population, and even higher in some Western cultural centers. Once significant research was conducted it was uncovered that the Omega 3 fats in all of the fish and marine products eaten by the Inuit and Eskimo protected their hearts and is what kept their incidence of heart disease so low. Even when their average diet had extremely low amounts of calories from plant and vegetable sources and well more than 50% came from fats, since their diet consisted of food items that provided them consistently with extremely high amounts of Omega 3's, their hearts remained healthy. Conclusion. The benefits of taking Omega 3 fish oil are well documented, Doctor and Nutritionist recommended. It's conclusive, do it consistently. Here's to your health!
Written by: Ian H. Seinfeld - C.H. Natural Products 2000 Warransville Center Road South Euclid OH http://www.centralhealthonline.com The reader is encouraged visit the above website for a printable copy of this article with a full list of
research resources in a full color 3 column format, as well as to view other articles by the same author.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ian_H_Seinfeld
==== ==== Who should take Fish Oil? In your search to get healthier in 2012, it's worth doing your homework in the area of natural health: staying well so that you don't find yourself needing to cure an illness or disease. Natural nutrition has been proven to help you build better health - and without side effects. Since inflammation is now associated with all kinds of health challenges, using supplements such as fish oil that help fight inflammation can be beneficial. You doctor has hundreds (if not more) patients, with the primary purpose of treating illness and disease. It is up to each of us as individuals to build our own better health. http://antiagingbydesign.com/who-should-take-fish-oil ==== ====
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