Skip to main content

Omega 3 - Why we need 'em


The medical journals are filled with study after study touting the proven health benefits of Omega 3 Free Fatty Acids (Omega 3 FFA)in our diet. These fatty acids are called "essential" because they cannot be synthesized in the body and must be obtained through diet or supplements. There are three types of Omega 3 FFA: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha-linolenic acid (AHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These essential FFAs are vital components of almost all cell membranes

Our Western diet changed dramatically after 1913 when refined vegetable oil (margarine, etc) came on the scene. These refined oils are a major source of Omega 6 FFA and it threw off the body's healthy balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3. What was once a ratio of 2:1 is now as high as 17:1. We stopped eating fish, wild game, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables and substituted corn sugar and processed foods. Our diets are severely out of whack and our health is showing the effects.

A new study released in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that older adults who had depressive symptoms, coupled with diets low in Omega 3 FFA had higher levels of inflammatory chemicals in their blood. These inflammatory cytokines have been proven to influence the onset of many serious conditions including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, alzheimers and cancer. Omega 3 FFA act as an antinflammatory and make blood less likely to form clots. Studies have also shown a connection with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and low levels of Omega 3 FFA. The study's author said when it comes to how people respond to stress "diet is not just a sideline player". Depression and stress, coupled with diets high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3, may influence how we age and what diseases we acquire.

I prescribe Omega 3 supplements to patients with arthritis and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides). We all know it is better to get our nutrients from our diet but few of us have the kind of diet our hunter-gatherer forefathers had.
If we could all eat like great-grandma, coupled with the benefits of the scientific advances of the 21st century, who knows how long we could live? If you can't eat a diet high in fish oil, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, walnuts and vegetables, supplementing with Omega 3 FFA is a wise move.

See my prior post on the negative effects of chronic stress

Comments

Scott said…
Thank for the clear explaination and the recommendation....I've been using fish oil since you recommended it, and except for a fish 'burp' now and then, within a half hour of ingestion...all's well. Call me the Omega man!
viagra online said…
Thanx, my mom loves this kind of blogs and since I got nothing to do I like visiting blogs... I bet she will love this post, since she is so worried about eating healthy food all the time.
Goodness, there's really much effective info here!

Popular posts from this blog

scintillating scotoma

Nothing like experiencing a medical condition first-hand to really help a doctor understand it from the patient's point of view.  After all these years, I had my first (and hopefully last) scintillating scotoma while sitting on the couch playing "words with friends" on my ipad and watching TV.  A scotoma is a partial loss of vision in a normal visual field.  Scintillate is flashing, sparkles.  Put them together and you have moving, flashing sparkles with a blind spot in your eyes.

This visual aura was first described in the 19th century  by a Dr. Hubert Airy who had migraine headaches.  The visual sparks and flashes are in a zig-zag pattern and they can precede a migraine headache or occur without any pain.   The scotoma affects both eyes and closing one or the other does not make it go away.  Sometimes the term "ocular migraine" or "retinal migraine"  are used to describe this phenomenon but these involve only one eye, not both.  The terms are often …

Do Doctors Make Too Much Money?

An article in theNew York Times says the reason health care costs are so high in the United States is because doctors are paid too much. I saw that and my eyes bugged out. I just came home from a meeting with physicians and hospital administrators and the entire meeting was spent discussing the financial challenges physicians face in keeping their doors open to see patients. The goal of this meeting was to keep health services in that community so patients will have someone to care for them. Not a person in the room would agree that the doctors earn too much.

Physicians paid too much? Lets break that down. A doctor spends a minimum of 11 years in education and training after the age of 18. Many are in training for 15 or more years. They are living on student loans and contributing zero to their family's income until the residency years. At that time they earn less than minimum wage if you factor in the 80-100 hour workweek. When a doctor emerges from training (and believe me…

Why Are Doctor Bills So High?

Who hasn't wondered why doctors need to charge so darn much for an office visit? If you have insurance and bother to look at what the insurance company pays, it is always much lower than the charge. Why does medical care cost so much? Is the doctor gouging? One of the best explanations I have seen is stolen from another blog. I would like to give credit but all I know is the name Dr. Adam. He shows this letter to his patients:

Why are doctors' bills so high?

Over the past few years several patients have asked this question. It is a very good question that needs to be answered in the context of our current health care system.
When I was growing up and went to my family doctor, my parents or I paid around $10 for a typical minor problem visit (in 1966). With inflation, that would be around $62 today (in 2006 dollars) (http://www.westegg.com/inflation). Today Medicare reimburses me approximately $33 to $45 for a similar patient visit. When I was a teenager the overhead costs of…