18th Apr 2013

The Amazing Health Benefits of Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are renowned for their wide array of health benefits. They help to fight and prevent many serious illness and diseases including cancer, aids, heart disease, irritable bowel disease and arthritis.

They also reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels, prevent eye disorders, ulcers, acne, depression psoriasis, bipolar disorder, renal disease, and arthritis. Omega 3 can also help to reduce menstrual pain and sun damage.

But what exactly is an Omega-3 Fatty Acid? It is part of a group of acids know as Essential Fatty Acids which are so coined as they are essential to our body’s growth and development. What makes them so imperative is that our bodies cannot create this fatty acid and therefore it is essential that we consume it.

Omega Fats come in different forms, but the most popular are Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9. To avoid sounding to scientific, the Omega is simply an indication that this molecule contains a double bond and the number following is the position of that particular double bond. The long and the short of it, it is this special double bond that makes this fatty acid so flexible, which sets it apart as a Good Fat, as opposed to a Bad Fat, which is hard and inflexible.

Omega-9 is found in Olive Oil and has long been hailed as a healthy part of a well-balanced diet. You may be familiar with the Mediterranean Diet – a diet high in fruits, vegetables and legumes, fish and lean meats and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Research has shown that the Mediterranean Diet lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and a lot of it has been due to the omega-9 oils in Olive Oil.

Omega-6 is an essential fatty acid found in vegetable oils, grains, nuts, seeds and most other animal products such as eggs, meat and dairy. Like all things, it is fine for you in moderation. Omega-6 helps hormone development and allows for healthy cell-to-cell communication within our bodies.  However, with our modern day diets, which are extremely high in animal products, dairy, breads and starches and rather low in vegetables and fruit consumption, the level of omega-6 has become quite high in our bodies. Research has shown an irrefutable connection between these high levels of omega-6 and the increase in the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and bowel conditions.

Omega-3, on the other hand, is another essential fatty acid that is found in lesser amounts in certain foods, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and avocados, and higher amounts in fish and fish products. Research has shown that is has an extremely potent anti-inflammatory effect and our bodies actually need omega-3 in a specific ratio to omega-6 in order to counter the inflammatory effects that an overabundence of omega-6 can cause. Currently, our ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 within our blood is about 20:1, which is leading to the increase in many of the chronic degenerative diseases that plague our modern society today.  Traditionally, in our healthier, hunter-gatherer days, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio was closer to 3:1. As we can see, in order to re-set that ratio to healthier levels, we need to consume less animal products and increase our omega-3 intake.

Omega 3 is found in seeds and avocados, but in highest amounts in  fish oil. To consume enough of it through food, you need to eat oily fish 3 to 4 times a week. To most people, this is off-putting and inconvenient, because of the fishy smell in the kitchen after cooking, and the inconvenience of purchasing and eating fresh fish several times per week. So most people opt for the convenience of Omega 3 supplements.


Does It Really Work?

fish.jpgMany health supplements carry bold claims, but numerous studies show that Omega 3 has astounding health benefits, including these ones:

  • VITAL, at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston Massachusetts researched the effects of Omega 3 on 20,000 people. Results showed that Omega 3 fatty acids reduces the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease in previously healthy people.
  • A research paper by the Department of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, recommends the use of Omega 3 in the prevention of Coronary Artery Disease.
  • According to Renal Research, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, 25 years of research proves that Omega-3 prevents the progression of kidney disease and patient survival. This is thought to be because Omega 3 decreases the blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a well- known accelerant of kidney disease. But further clinical trials are needed.
  • A paper by Department of Family Medicine, MCHJ-FP, Madigan Army Medical Center, Ft. Lewis, Washington states that 1g of Omega 3 per day reduces risk of myocardial infarction, or cardiac death. Higher doses can reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and it can also improve infant neural growth and development.


What Are The Magic Ingredients of Omega 3?

Omega 3 supplements contain DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid)

DHA and EPA both have many health benefits. Both acids decrease triglyceride levels, which helps to prevent heart disease.


DHA has many other benefits including:

  • Brain development.
  • Improved eyesight
  • Protection of the immune system
  • Decreased mental deterioration
  • Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease


Some of the benefits health benefits of EPA

  1. Reduced ADHD symptoms
  2. Prevention of psychosis, depression, suicidal thoughts, and schizophrenia.
  3. Omega 3 fatty acids also contain anti-oxidants, which prevent the formation of the free radicals that cause many major diseases, including cancer


Could Omega 3 Supplements Benefit You?

Omega 3 has so many health benefits, and it is inconvenient to get the recommended weekly dose through eating oily fish. So it is beneficial to so many people. If you already suffer from a major illness such as heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease, Omega 3 could be a life saver. It is also beneficial in preventing disease and boosting the immune system and improving your brain development, concentration and eyesight.