Take Care Of Your <3 This Month

Health Science: Take care of your heart this month

The power of omega-3s

The power of omega-3s

Everyone seems to be talking about the benefits of consuming fish oil, so let’s spend a few moments to learn just what it is in fish oil that provides these benefits. Fish oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA. Omega-3s provide benefits for people at every stage of life, but statistics show that even the most healthy lifestyles may be lacking in this essential nutrient. Omega-3s are considered so important because of their contribution to overall health. Much like certain vitamins and minerals, we cannot generally produce adequate amounts of omega-3s on our own. Because many folks don’t like or have access to wild-caught fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel, supplementation with a top-quality fish oil supplement is important. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults who don’t eat fish should supplement with about 1 gram per day of an omega-3 product.

The cardiovascular benefits

There is more scientific evidence behind the cardiovascular benefits of fish oil than any other omega-3 supplement. Studies have linked EPA and DHA consumption with improved heart health and a multitude of cardiovascular benefits, all of which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.*

Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Helps retain normal blood pressure

  • Helps retain healthy triglyceride levels

  • Supports healthy LDL cholesterol levels

  • Supports a healthy inflammatory response

  • Helps maintain a healthy heart rhythm

Other benefits of omega-3s

Did you know that the benefits of omega-3s go far beyond the heart? Extensive research has focused on health benefits of EPA and DHA and has come to some interesting conclusions.

Brain: The relationship between adequate omega-3 intake and brain health has been the subject of much research. EPA and DHA, the omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil, are particularly concentrated in the brain—an organ composed of nearly 60% fat—and the nervous system, where they provide necessary building blocks for healthy cells and tissue. The cerebral cortex, which is responsible for memory and attention, is composed of around 20% DHA. EPA and DHA have been studied for their effects on mood,1 cognition, memory, learning, and attention.2

Joint Health: EPA and DHA have been studied for many different joint conditions and may help promote joint mobility and flexibility and also help reduce stiffness, swelling, and pain.3, 4

Pregnancy: The importance of EPA and DHA for normal infant development cannot be overstated. The essential fatty acids help with normal brain, eye, and nervous system development.5

Skin and Nails: Essential fatty acids are important for skin health and may help for a variety of conditions, including inflammatory conditions of the skin.6

Lean Body Mass: Athletes and those looking to maintain muscle mass may want to consider supplementing with fish oil. A recent study has suggested that there is a relationship between lean body mass (muscle mass) and the amount of EPA/DHA in the body.7

Immune System: While the impact of omega-3 oils on the immune system is just now beginning to be investigated, it appears that EPA and DHA may increase B-cell functioning,8 and may help enhance other areas of the immune system.9

1Giles GE, Mahoney CR, Kanarek RB. Omega-3 fatty acids influence mood in healthy and depressed individuals. Nutr Rev. 2013 Nov;71(11):727-41. PMID: 24447198.
2Uauy R, Dangour AD. Nutrition in brain development and aging: role of essential fatty acids. Nutr Rev. 2006 May;64(5 Pt 2):S24-33; discussion S72-91. PMID: 16770950.
3Lopez HL. Nutritional interventions to prevent and treat osteoarthritis. Part I: focus on fatty acids and macronutrients. PM R. 2012 May;4(5 Suppl):S145-54. PMID: 22632694.
4Miles EA, Calder PC. Influence of marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on immune function and a systematic review of their effects on clinical outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis. Br J Nutr. 2012 Jun;107 Suppl 2:S171-84. PMID: 22591891.
5Rogers LK, Valentine CJ, Keim SA. DHA supplementation: current implications in pregnancy and childhood. Pharmacol Res. 2013 Apr;70(1):13-9. PubMed PMID: 23266567.
6Nicolaou A. Eicosanoids in skin inflammation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2013 Jan;88(1):131-8. PMID: 22521864.
7McDonald C, Bauer J, Capra S. Omega-3 fatty acids and changes in LBM: alone or in synergy for better muscle health? Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013 Jun;91(6):459-68. PMID: 23746140.
8Gurzell EA, Teague H, Harris M, Clinthorne J, Shaikh SR, Fenton JI. DHA-enriched fish oil targets B cell lipid microdomains and enhances ex vivo and in vivo B cell function. J Leukoc Biol. 2013 Apr;93(4):463-70. PMID: 23180828.
9Calder PC. n-3 fatty acids, inflammation and immunity: new mechanisms to explain old actions. Proc Nutr Soc. 2013 Aug;72(3):326-36. PMID: 23668691.

*Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

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