Most of us know that in order to stay healthy, your heart needs sustained cardiovascular exercise like walking, cycling, swimming or running along with a healthy diet. You may even know that you should either take a good quality fish oil supplement daily or eat plenty of cold-water fish, like anchovies, sardines, or salmon to ensure you are getting enough Omega 3s in your diet. But how much is enough? How do you know if it is good quality, pure, or safe? What if you hate fish and hear that fish oil supplements taste, well, fishy? What even are Omega 3s, essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA anyway?
Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids
comprise the two classes of essential fatty acids – essential because they are required for good health, but the body
is unable to synthesize them. They must be ingested in the food that we eat.
Your body needs both Omega 6 and
Omega 3 fatty acids in order to be healthy. Omega 6 fatty acids promote
inflammation which is necessary for a healthy immune response to injury,
allergy or infection. Omega 3 fatty acids promote an anti-inflammatory response
to keep inflammation from going overboard and creating other health issues.
Your body functions at its best when the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty
acids within a cell membrane is close to 1:1.
The problem arises when things get
out of balance. The Standard America Diet (SAD) is high in Omega 6 fatty acids,
and in most Americans the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is much too
high, contributing to a chronic state of inflammation. It is this chronic
inflammation the drives many of the diseases that we associate with aging such
as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s dementia.
So, start with a meal make-over.
Avoid all foods that are made from refined carbohydrates – sugar, sweeteners
and flour. Avoid refined oils and fatty meats. Animals raised in feedlots are
fed a diet of grains and corn which are high in Omega 6 fatty acids.
Instead, make sure that most of what
you eat comes from vegetables, fruit, raw nuts, fish, and meat and eggs from
animals that are pastured and eat grass, as nature intended. Or as Michael
Pollan so succinctly puts it in his book, In Defense of Food, “Eat food.
Not too much. Mostly plants.”
It would be nice if we could get
enough Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet, but research shows that this is
difficult at best. Researchers agree that 500 mg/day in the minimum amount of
Omega 3s that everyone should be consuming. The American Heart Association recommends
1000 mg/day for anyone with coronary heart disease and 2000 – 4000 mg/day for
anyone looking to lower their triglycerides. The FDA supports up to 3000 mg/day
for anyone wanting to improve a health outcome. Other studies find that fish
oil supplementation can reduce or eliminate the need for anti-inflammatory pain
medications in people with back and neck pain.
The most beneficial Omega 3s are
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docohexaenoic acid (DHA). Fish is an excellent
source of both but concerns about toxins such as mercury in fish make a
purified fish oil supplement the safest and most reliable source of these
essential fatty acids. It is possible to get EPA and DHA from plant sources
such as flaxseed oil, but the conversion from flaxseed’s alpha-linolenic acid
(ALA) to EPA and DHA is so poor that it cannot provide the necessary amounts of
EPA and DHA for optimal health.
So now you’re thinking about
purchasing a fish oil supplement. But how to choose? We’ve done the research
for you and are convinced that Nordic Naturals produce the best fish oil
supplements on the market. Because they are made in the natural triglyceride
form, they are 70% more absorbable than products made in the ethyl-ester form,
making them a great value. The triglyceride form is also more stable, so the
fish oils don’t go rancid and never taste fishy.
We know that this information my feel
like a lot to “digest,” but a good fish oil supplement should not be! In
addition to improving heart health, Omega 3s from fish oil support joint
health, the immune system, eye health, brain health and memory and are
essential in fetal, infant and child development. A quality fish oil supplement
promotes key anti-inflammatory pathways, promotes joint mobility and reduces
pain, and is safe for long term use.
685 East Remington Drive, Suite C Sunnyvale, CA 94087 Voice: 408-737-0330 Fax: 408-737-0692
We are located in beautiful downtown Sunnyvale on Remington Drive, across the street from the Sunnyvale Community Center.