Foundational Five: Omega-3 Fats

Good health is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. More and more adults, and even children, are being diagnosed with degenerative and auto-immune disease. In 2011-12 more than two-thirds of adults were overweight or obese and one-third of children! These numbers are astonishing! What has happened??

AppleWellness has found there are foundations that make up the base of your health and you are able to maintain, or regain, excellent health.  We believe that everyone will benefit from taking the five power-packed nutrients that make up the Foundational Fivemulti-vitamins, probiotics, omega-3 oils, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories.

Known by a variety of names…omega-3’s, omega-3 fats, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-3 essential fatty acids. These names are used interchangeably and all refer to a nutrient that we can’t live without.

foundational-five-omega-3-health-store-madison-wi

What Are Omega-3’s?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of essential fatty acids.They that cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from a person’s food. The reason they are called “essential” is that they are essential for life.

What’s Their Job?

EVERY cell wall in the body is surrounded with essential fatty acids, thus every system benefits from them. Key areas that are dramatically affected include:

  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Brain Health
  • Cellular Health
  • Behavioral Functions
  • Digestive Health

Essential fatty acids also work to reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation damages tissue, causes pain, and can lead to serious medical conditions.

Who Needs Omega-3’s?

The typical American diet does not include adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. To make this problem more complex, most of us are consuming omega-6 fatty acids in excess amounts. Make no mistake, omega-6 fats are essential to health as well. But you need to consume a ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a proportion of approximately 1:1. Unfortunately most Americans are consuming these omega-6/omega-3 oils in a ratio of 20:1. The consequences of this imbalance are dire! Scientists have linked an excess of omega-6 with an increase in all inflammatory diseases, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, premature aging, and some forms of cancer.

To specifically answer the question of “who needs them”? Probably you. Because of the abundance of omega-6 fats and the lack of omega-3 fats in our culture it is unlikely you are eating these fats in healthy proportions.

What Are Omega-3’s health Benefits?

  • Gut Health:  Works to regulate inflammatory processes and responses, cooling inflammation in the gut.
  • Immune Health: An April 2013 study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology reports that DHA-rich fish oil enhances white blood cells, supporting immune function.
  • Heart and Circulatory Health: Improves healthy cholesterol levels, reduces hypertension, prevents heart disease, reduced risk of stroke, protects agains plaque and blood clots
  • Diabetes:  Omega-3 consumption may help lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.
  • Auto-Immune Disease: Studies suggest that lupus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis patients find decreased symptoms
  • Mental Health:  Omega-3 concentrations are found to be highest in the brain and nervous system. Balanced ratios improve general brain function improvements. EFAs have also been successfully used in the treatment of schizophrenia, ADHD, cognitive decline, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
  • Cancer Risk Reduced:  colon, breast, and prostate cancers
  • Skin Health:  Studies have found that omega-3s benefit skin health, specifically in cases of psoriasis and photo dermatitis.
  • Improved Fertility: This was found in recent studies in both men and women.

Isn’t Food A Better Source?

Which is better, a supplement or food source? That depends on the quality of your food source and also your commitment to incorporating specific foods into your diet. Honestly examine the omega oil foods listed below to determine if your diet is out of balance. Are you willing to make sure you lowering your intake of omega-6 fats and increasing your consumption of omega-3 fats? If you are unable to make the commitment, supplementation of a good quality omega-3 is essential for your health.

Omega-6 food sources common to the Western diet:  cereals, whole grain breads, margarine, and vegetable oils such as safflower, corn, and cottonseed, and soybean oils. Because soybean oil is used so extensively in processed foods, it is estimated that 20 percent of the calories in the American diet come from this single source. These are the types of oils found in most processed foods.

Omega-3 food sources:  The main sources of omega-3 fatty acids are oily cold water fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, herring, sardines, bass, and mackerel. It is recommended that you eat at least two servings of these fish per week. There are some omega-3s present in dark leafy green vegetables, flaxseed oil, nuts, and beans but the body’s enzymes have to convert them to EPA and DHA, the two omega-3 fats most easily utilized by the body. This extra step can be difficult for a body that isn’t working efficiently.

What to Look For In An Omega-3 Supplement

Typical fish oils are heat extracted, which damages the molecular structure. So when looking for a higher quality omega-3 supplement you want to look for one that meets this criteria:

  • Whole Food Form: Nutrients delivered in a whole food form are recognized and received by the body just like eating them in their natural form.
  • Balanced DHA and EPA:  Look for a product that delivers these nutrients in a 2:1 ratio. These numbers don’t need to be extremely high. It is more important that they are in a ratio that mimics the natural ratio you would receive consuming them in a serving of fresh salmon. (Their best source.)
  • Enteric Coating: An enteric coating guards nutrients and delivers them to the small intestine where they can be absorbed. Because most fish oils are not protected, 50-70% are destroyed in the stomach acid before they get to the small intestine.
  • No Risk of Rancidity:  Fish and krill oils are subject to oxidation, which results in rancidity. Consuming rancid oils causes oxidation in the body, triggering inflammation.

 

All of the nutrients included in the Foundational Five are an important part of your health’s foundation. Understanding the role they play is part of knowledge, and knowledge is power when it comes to navigating your health. If you need more information or assistance in choosing an omega-3 supplement or any of the other supplements included in the Foundational Five, be sure to contact us or stop in the store. The Apple Wellness staff offers their expertise as a resource to help you “Find Your Healthy Place”!

 

 

This is written as an informational guide and is not meant to replace professional medical care. 

 

Sources

http://stateofobesity.org/obesity-rates-trends-overview/

www.greenmomsmeet.com/2013/01/15-questions-about-barleans-omega-swirls-answered/#sthash.veSFFx47.dpuf

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids

www.omegascienceinstitute.org.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/09/14/omega-3-strongly-linked-to-behavior-learning-in-children/59556.html

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/who-needs-omega-3s

http://www.barleans.com/

http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/04/28/ultrawellness-lesson-4-gut-digestive-health/

http://www.livescience.com/38477-omega3-superstars.html

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/foas-nfa040113.php

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