The next generation in omega 3s

Friday, May 8, 2015
What are omega 3s?
Omega 3s are a family of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, essential nutrients for human health and development. Research indicates that the two most beneficial omega 3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Although EPA and DHA work together in the body, they each have different functions. EPA supports the heart, immune system, and inflammatory response, while DHA supports the brain, eyes, and central nervous system.Our bodies cannot make EPA or DHA, so we need to get and store them from food, and the most concentrated source of these fatty acids is cold-water oily fish.The World Health Organisation recommends we consume a minimum of 500mg combined EPA and DHA a day.  Omega 3 fatty acids support cardiovascular function, healthy blood pressure and triglyceride levels, joint health, macular health, balanced mental focus and mood, healthy hair, skin and nails and general health and wellbeing.

Not all fats are unhealthy. Scientists and health professionals consider essential fatty acids (EFAs) vital to maintain good health and prevent a long list of common health problems.


A great body of evidence including 10,000 scientific studies collected over many decades shows the multiple benefits of omega 3 fatty acids for supporting cardiovascular health, brain development and function, mental health and inflammatory conditions. As a result, worldwide consumption of omega 3 supplements is growing faster than any other nutritional dietary supplement.

Unborn babies through to elderly people need omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids – found in fish, shellfish, krill, and oils from seeds such as flax (linseed), hemp, soy, canola (rapeseed), chia, pumpkin and sunflower, green leafy vegetables and walnuts.

A consumption ratio of 1:4 omega 6 to omega 3 is usually recommended, however, our intake of omega 3 has reduced over the years, yet our intake of omega 6 has increased. This is because most processed food is cooked in, or contains, omega 6 oils. Also, we consume far less game animals and seafood, while meat from animals that are grain and not grass-fed is no longer a useful source of omega 3. Some omega 6s have been shown to be inflammatory, so we need to decrease consumption of those and increase our 3s.

Omega-3s for kids
Among the many beneficiaries of omega 3s, children have the most to gain. From prenatal babies to adolescents, children rely heavily on EPA and DHA for visual, brain and immune system development, and for normal emotional and cognitive function. Much of that is due to rapid childhood growth of the brain.

Research also finds that omega 3 consumption in pregnancy may reduce the risk of allergies in children, colds in infants, and support learning.

Unfortunately only 22 percent of children get adequate amounts of essential fatty acids, and even children with a healthy diet including fish and fresh green leafy vegetables can benefit from a premium omega 3 oil supplement.

Common symptoms of omega-3 imbalance
 
Dry or problem skin and hair conditions, soft or brittle nails.Inflammatory conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and arthritis Lowered immunity, slow healing and allergic conditions Vision and dry eye problems Learning disorders and behavioural changes Mental deterioration and mood swingsWeakness, low energy and fatigueTingling sensations in arms and legsExcessive thirst or frequent urination
How do you know your omega 3 supplement is working?
Skin is the largest organ in the human body and is often the first visual indicator of an essential fatty acid deficiency. As omega 3s “moisturise from the inside”, the surprising beauty benefits of omega 3 become evident as it nourishes hair, skin and nails. Hair becomes healthy, with a lustrous sheen, skin clear and glowing, and nails strong and split-proof. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen!

The omega 3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA in fish oil, along with the essential fatty acid GLA found in borage and evening primrose oils, are crucial nutrients for skin health and function. They live in the membranes that surround skin cells, where they regulate a large number of cellular processes that directly impact skin health – keeping skin hydrated, protecting against free radicals and therefore age-related damage, and stimulating the production of healthy skin cells.

Pets
Most of today’s pet foods mainly contain omega 6 fatty acids from vegetable oils, and rarely adequate amounts of EPA and DHA. This results in an unbalanced ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 that can negatively impact the health of our pets.

Cats and dogs love fish or flaxseed oil drizzled over their dry food!

Fish oil
Fish are a rich source of high quality protein, vitamins and minerals, and the main source of omega 3 fatty acids. While eating fatty fish is the best bet for getting omega 3s in your diet, many people go for the vegetarian options due to a dislike of fish and fish breath/burps, as well as concerns about consuming mercury, PCBs, heavy metals and radioactive toxins in fish.

Unless you are vegan/vegetarian, there is no need to worry about all that! Fish oil can be taken in an easy-to-swallow, no fishy aftertaste or reflux capsule, plus it also comes in a flavoured liquid for kids and adults.

High potency, mercury tested, refined and distilled fish oil sourced from sustainably harvested wild, deep sea fish is without risk.

A reputable fish oil manufacturer will have third-party laboratory results showing the purity level of their fish oil.
Trustworthy brands also have GMP accreditation. Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is the term used to describe the systems manufacturers of medicines are required to have in place to ensure their products are consistently safe, effective and of acceptable quality. The requirements are expressed in a code of practice referred to as a Code of GMP (further information is on the Government MedSafe website).

It’s a good idea to mix it up a bit with your omega 3 source – once in a while take a break from fish oil and try flaxseed or hempseed.

Flaxseed (linseed) oil
Rich in omega 3, add it to your smoothie, yoghurt, cereal, salad dressing or drizzle over vegetables. It is not suitable for frying as the heat will destroy its nutrients.
Flaxseed is the first choice for vegetarians and vegans (followed by hempseed oil), and we make the best flaxseed oil in the world from flax growing on the fertile Canterbury Plains.

Hempseed oil
With a nutty flavor ideal for salad dressing, mayonnaise, dips, it is also not suitable for heat.
Modern science reveals that hemp contains all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary for human life – a rich source of both LA (Omega 6) and LNA (Omega 3) in balanced proportions – as well as a rare protein known as globule edestins, very similar to globulin found in human blood plasma.

author:

Sue

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