At a Glance
- Provides DHA and EPA – the two most important polyunsaturated fatty acids – from fish oil
- Helps maintain healthy triglyceride levels within normal ranges, protecting cardiovascular health
- Helps modulate inflammation, providing benefits for inflammatory conditions of the digestive system
- Hemodiluting properties help to maintain healthy blood flow, promoting heart health
Fatty acids can be divided into two groups: essential and non-essential. While essential fatty acids must be obtained from food, non-essential fatty acids can be produced by the body from essential fatty acids and other food components like carbohydrates.
Most of the fats we ingest are saturated, non-essential fats, and are primarily animal fats. They improve the taste of our food, are stable chemical compounds (saturated) and can be used for cooking and baking. However, excess intake of these fats is also responsible for many of the health concerns of Western civilization, including plaque buildup in the blood vessels, poor cardiovascular health and obesity.
Essential fatty acids are unsaturated, meaning that they consist of one or more double bonds between two carbon molecules; depending on the number of bonds, they can be either mono- or polyunsaturated. These fatty acids cannot be produced by the body, and therefore must be obtained from the diet. Due to their chemical structure, they are very unstable and must be consumed fresh because they only last for a short period once they are extracted. Essential fatty acids are necessary for many diverse, vital body functions. A lack of these fatty acids can contribute to many health concerns including cognitive decline and dementia, mood disorders, poor cardiovascular health, unhealthy blood sugar levels, allergies, asthma and skin conditions.
Among the most important essential fatty acids are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Although scientists have been aware of their existence and makeup for years, this knowledge was more or less limited to the fact that both are Omega 3 fatty acids, and that they are found in cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel and algae.
There are two main groups of essential fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and omega-6 fatty acids, including linoleic acid. Both are long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids. When there is sufficient intake, the body can usually partially convert ALA from the Omega 3 family into the longer-chain fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This conversion is accomplished – very slowly – with the help of desaturase enzymes, the so-called «catalysts of the body», which are found in many tissues.
ALA, DHA and EPA have different metabolic effects. Therefore, they must each be ingested in sufficient amounts. Furthermore, Omega 3 and omega-6 fatty acids must be present in the right proportion. Excessive omega-6 intake can damage health. Omega 3 fatty acids, however, help to counteract these damaging effects. These are found in cold-water fish and algae from the northern seas, as they help to protect these creatures against the cold. Warm-water fish, however, produce more omega-6 fatty acids. Most plant oils contain omega-6 fatty acids; only very few provide Omega 3 fatty acids. Many experts believe that the higher the Omega 3 intake the better. In most people, the ratio of omega-6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is 20:1. However, an optimal distribution would be at least 6:1 or even 3:1.
Cultures who include only small fish in their diets show markedly lower DHA levels in the brain than inhabitants of coastal areas who have access to larger ocean fish. Moreover, in many people who «consciously» eat a nearly fat-free diet, the proportion of saturated fatty acids decreases, but unfortunately, so does the intake of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids can be beneficial in many areas of health:
Maintaining healthy blood lipid levels: An increase in blood lipid (fat) levels is an important risk factor for many cardiovascular concerns. Maintaining healthy blood lipid levels is of particular importance if there are additional risk factors like uncontrolled high blood sugar levels or unhealthy blood pressure, and in cases of chronic alcoholism. The intake of Omega 3 helps to maintain healthy triglyceride levels within normal ranges. At the same time, EPA and DHA levels are increased.
People who limit egg, meat and fish consumption, for instance, vegetarians, or those who consume little fat, or who have a fish allergy.
Inflammatory digestive conditions: These health concerns are caused by chronic inflammation of the intestines and are accompanied by diarrhea, bleeding and intense abdominal pain. The quality of life in people suffering from inflammatory digestive system conditions can be rather restricted. Omega 3, due to its ability to modulate inflammation, can help soothe symptoms in these cases. These properties can also help protect against concerns relating to inflammation in the joints.
Desaturase deficiency: Many people have a congenital desaturase deficiency. An acquired deficiency occurs in cases of stress, diabetes, obesity, excess consumption of sugar and unsaturated fatty acids as well as intake of anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen. This enzyme is also not active in children under one year of age.
People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol: Alcohol damages brain cells, which consist largely of DHA. If no additional DHA is ingested, the damaged cells cannot be replaced.
Promoting healthy blood flow to extremities: Certain health conditions can result in disturbed blood supply to the fingers and toes, which worsens in cold weather and can be very painful. Due to its effect on prostaglandin synthesis, Omega 3 helps to promote healthy blood flow and discourages unhealthy blood vessel dilation, which inhibits blood supply to the extremities.
People who show signs of a DHA deficiency: Omega 3 fatty acids can also be beneficial for those with symptoms of DHA deficiency such as diminished visual acuity and defective vision, impairment of concentration and learning, inflammatory dermatological conditions, neurologic concerns like mood disorders and cognitive decline.
One softgel contains: 1250 mg fish oil concentrate (contains EPA 450 mg, DHA 300 mg) in pharmaceutical grade.
Other ingredients: gelatin, glycerol, purified water. The fish oil is a product from Chile and Peru and contains traces of anchovies.
In normal cases take 1 softgel in the morning and 1 softgel in the evening at mealtimes with plenty of fluid. If you experience deficiency symptoms increase dosage accordingly.