Omega 3 fatty acids
Those Good Old Days of the Halibut Liver Oil are Back!
Do you remember the days of “halibut liver oil time”? Omega 3 fatty acids in those days were considered a health remedy for winter colds, rickets, and other ailments.
Fish oils were the answer to vitamin D and A deficiencies, indeed, any sickness that might improve with a dose or two of the stuff, brought the bottle out.
But for some reason the advance of medical science pushed this old fashioned but potent remedy, as with so many others, to the back of the medicine cabinet. It`s time to get the bottle back out again, and “dust it off” so to speak, and learn why this old fashioned remedy really works.
How important are Omega 3 fatty acids? Even more important to you is, the question, “Can they have a positive effect of your blood pressure?”
The answer is yes! They cut silent inflammation through their anti-inflammatory properties. Put simply, this reaction reduces Arahidonic acid (AA) the building block of pro-inflammatory eicodanoids, another name for long chain Omega 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are made of of Protagalandins which cause pain, and Leukotrenes which cause swelling. To reduce silent inflammation you need to get a good balance between AA and EPA.
Fish oils are loaded with essential fatty acids. Essential indeed! Both Omega 3 fatty acids and 6 are very necessary for our health, but why? These alpha-linolenic and linoleic acids are major anti-inflammatories that our bodies need. We get these necessary nutrients from certain foods we eat. It is important to know however, that an imbalance of the two will render them quite harmful. Omega 6 is so dominant in the Western diet that rather than being an anti-inflammatory, it is a major problem for inflammation throughout the body, and that includes the cardiovascular system. Inflammation in the arteries is a high risk factor in developing high blood pressure and heart disease. Omega 3 brings inflammation down, so a 1.1 ratio between these two polyunsaturated oils is proving to be the ideal healthy balance.
Do You Buy From a Reliable Source?
Some people do not think about heavy metal and PCB contaminants in fish oil supplements, but they exists, and what`s more alarming is that they are present in leading brands. FIS (Fish Information and Services Ref:1) highlighted a report that 5 leading brands of Omega 3 fish oils contain PCBs. These are organic pollutants that can accumulate in fat if fish oils containing them are consumed over time. It has been proven that they interfere with sex hormones and can cause cancer to develop. So beware of the wording on your fish oil packaging and know the source.
Ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6
But there are more health reasons why we should make sure we get enough of them in the correct ratio, in our diet. Omega 3 fatty acids act as a natural blood thinner, helping keep the arteries and veins clear from blood clots.
If you are taking aspirin or warfarin and are planning on supplementing Omega 3, you would need to work along with your doctor and maybe wean of these drugs as you increase your dietary sources.
Clinical trials show alpha-linolenic acid to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. An alternative to Statins? Linoleic acids are needed for blood clotting, cell proliferation, and immune responsive inflammation. However, if there is an imbalance of the typical average ratio 20.1 over a long period of time, the dominant linoleic acids would eventually cause havoc.
Now we know how important both are, we need to know some of the sources of each. You can get Omega 3 from oily fish such as salmon, sardines, halibut, and tuna. You can also get it from foods such as eggs, flax seed or oil, butternut, and walnuts.
What about Omega 6? Foods such as nuts, seeds, wholegrain bread, flax and hemp seed oil, soybean, pumpkin seed, and walnuts. Eating less red meat which has too much omega 6 and eating more fish that has more Omega 3 will help balance the ratio.
There have been no conclusive clinical trials to prove that fish oils lower blood pressure. But there seems to be enough of them suggesting that they do. That is why we are always seeing and hearing the promotion of foods that are fortified with omega 3 and 6, claiming they are good for heart health. But really! Our mums and grandmas knew they did all along. Didn`t they?
Use a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids 3 – 8 grams a day depending on your health and biological make-up.
Nordic Naturals Omega 3 fatty acids – passed IFOS Consumer Report
This is equal to 1 to 3 tsps or 4 to 6 capsules according to Dr. Barry Sears – The Anti Inflammation Zone Pg. 80, 81