Omega….what?

©By Dori Cranmore R.N.

 

Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 7, Omega 9, EFA’s, EPA’s, DHA’s, Good fats, Bad fats….can be confusing and what does it all mean to our overall health?

Omega 3 is the single most important essential nutrient that is almost entirely missing from our modern day diets.  Evidence from thousands of clinical studies show Omega 3 can improve health and help prevent inflammation and dis-ease — including lowering triglycerides, general heart benefits, improving brain function, as well as helping with diabetes, strokes, depression, arthritis, allergies, circulation problems, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s, skin disorders, gout, and many others.  Fish oil is great for dogs – and cats! Adding fish oil to their food provides anti-inflammatory effects.

            There are three main types of Omega 3. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) are both found in cold water fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, krill, etc). The plant foods that contain these are seaweed, algae and chia seeds.  The third is ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is found in flaxseed oil, dark green leafy vegetables and some vegetable oils. Studies on 100% salmon oil say the body utilizes it more efficiently than other fish sources.

Now don’t confuse Cod Liver Oil with Fish oil.  Cod liver oil comes from the liver, whereas fish oil comes from the body of the fish. Cod liver oil is very high in Vitamin A – Take the recommended amount since it is very easy to overdose on Vitamin A (with possible negative implications for your bones). The only way to get omega 3 without the 6 and 9 is by taking fish oil.  Recommended for health maintenance is 3000mg daily, (1000mg for children). A large 4oz salmon steak (baked properly with the skin on and eating the gray next to the skin) delivers about 84mg of omega 3.

Sources of Omega 6 include seeds, nuts, and refined vegetable oils, such as soy that is used in most snack foods, crackers, cookies and sweets.  Soybean oil alone is so prevalent in processed and fast foods that 20% of the calories in the American diet are likely to come from this one source.

Omega 7 or Palmitoleic Acid can help reduce risk of type II diabetes, lower C-reactive protein and reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s found in macadamia nuts, and sea buckthorn.

Purity and potency mean everything when choosing Omega 3 oils. Make sure your brand has gone through molecular distillation.

Omega 9 is a monounsaturated fat known as oleic acid and found primarily in olive oil, emu oil and almonds. Omega-9 is a nonessential fatty acid, since it is produced naturally by the body when omega 3 and 6 are present.

Omega 3 by itself is vitally important to help decrease inflammation, which is the cause of all dis-ease in our bodies.

Dori Cranmore is a Registered Nurse and owner of All About Herbs Wellness Center in Wasilla.  This information is intended for educational purposes only and not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.  376-8327.