Omega 3 Fatty Acids: What are They, Really?
"The physician who knows only medicine, knows not even medicine." Omega-3s are "fatty acids" that help build other fats in the body. They derive their name from their chemical structure -- the "omega" end of the molecule has its first double bond in the "3" position. Know what that means? Do you really care what that means? Isnt fat just fat?
Scientists have found that historically the Eskimos of Greenland have enjoyed exceptional heart health despite a diet very high in fat. After some research, it was discovered that the primary source of the fat in their diet came from sea mammals, which contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Research has uncovered a many beneficial health effects of these types of fats. They are essential for the proper development of nerves, eyes and brains in growing children. They protect against dying from a heart attack. And they have been studied for their beneficial effects on inflammatory diseases (see Dr Barry Sears Books on Omega 3 and inflamation) such as arthritis, lupus and asthma.
Three major types of omega-3 fatty acids exist. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is in plant foods such as flaxseed, walnuts and canola oils.
Eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, are found in fish and algae, especially in fatty fish such as salmon, trout and herring.
Human milk contains all three types of omega-3 fats: ALA, DHA and EPA. (DHA is the main type needed for brain, eye and nerve development.)
The American Heart Association recommends healthy people eat omega-3 fatty acids from fish and plant sources to protect their hearts. Have you heard of this miracle?
Scientific Evidence Reveals a Diet Rich in Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids Helps Support
A Healthy Brain
A Healthy Heart
A Healthy Immune System
Healthy Joint Movement
Balanced Mood and Sense of Well Being
Strength and Stamina
And Helps Maintain Cholesterol Levels that are Already within the Normal Range*
Your grandmother probably used fish oil in the form of cod-liver oil, which is rich in vitamins A and D. It was used to prevent rickets (a disease resulting in weak bones that is caused by a deficiency of those vitamins). Even though cod-liver oil is one of the most disgusting foods known to man, taking it daily was a given in many households. It turns out the reason that cod-liver oil was so beneficial was not because of those vitamins, but because of its high levels of the long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA.
EPA is a key factor for controlling insulin levels, and DHA is essential to maintain and rebuild your brain. So, Grandmother was doing an excellent job in promoting health in your parents.
Equally important, many neurological conditions such as depression, multiple sclerosis, and attention deficit disorders are linked to low levels of DHA in the diet; supplementation with fish oils rich in DHA often show dramatic improvement within a few weeks.
Dr. Barry Sears is a research scientist and creator of the world famous Zone Diet. His most recent book, The OmegaRx Zone - The Miracle of the New High-Dose Fish Oil, is the culmination of 20 years of research on the benefits of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil. In fact, Dr. Sears pioneered the development of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil, a highly refined nutritional supplement rich in DHA and EPA. This work continues his life long dedication to using diet to help people maintain their state of wellness.
Author Bio: My name is Ruth Bird, and I am the owner of 3 dogs, 2 are Registered Therapy Visiting Dogs, my third dog is blind. My passions are health for people and pets and promoting a happy, healthy and wealthy lifestyle. Omega 3 has become one of my favorite topics.
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