Category Archives: omega-3
by John Phillip
(NaturalNews) Despite a continual assault on the health benefits of omega-3 fat supplementation by the mainstream media and Big Pharma drug manufacturers, solid evidence is released by the scientific research community to vindicate the critical importance of the long-chain fatty acids. The omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA have repeatedly been shown to help prevent chronic diseases ranging from cancer and dementia to heart disease and stroke. It is an indisputable fact that these essential fats are necessary for the human body to assimilate the billions of cellular structures that form our organs and tissues and aid DNA replication.
Researchers from Ohio State University have published the result of a study in the journal, Brain, Behavior and Immunity that demonstrates how taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements can change the balance of oils in the diet to slow a key biological process linked to aging. The study team found that most healthy, middle-aged and older adults who took omega-3 supplements for four months altered the ratio of their fatty acid consumption in a way that helped preserve tiny segments of DNA in their white blood cells.
Telomeres naturally shorten over time as a consequence of poor diet, stress, environmental and household pollutants. Many consider telomere shortening to be a normal part of the aging process. Scientists know that telomeres shorten faster as a result of increased oxidative stress, a process induced by consuming foods laden in trans or hydrogenated fats and sugars and by chronic disease.
Omega-3 fats lower systemic inflammation to slow and reverse telomere shortening
This research is important because it supports the notion that telomere shortening can be prevented and even reversed by lifestyle improvements including supplementing with the omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA to alter the blood ratio with inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Lead study author, Dr. Jan Kiecolt-Glaser commented “The telomere finding is provocative in that it suggests the possibility that a nutritional supplement might actually make a difference in aging.”
To implement the study, researchers broke participants into three groups (106 disease-free adults, average age of 51) and were supplemented with 2.5 grams of active omega-3 fats (combined EPA/DHA in a 7:1 ratio), 1.5 grams of the long-chain fats or a placebo. Both groups of participants who took omega-3 supplements showed, on average, lengthening of telomeres compared to telomere stability or decline in the placebo group. When the scientists reviewed the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in the overall diet, they found a direct relationship to telomere lengthening, where a lower ratio was clearly associated with lengthened telomeres.
The research team concluded that improved omega-3 to omega-6 fat ratios obtained with fish oil supplementation resulted in a reduction in total body systemic inflammation. Telomere shortening was reduced and even reversed to lower risk of chronic disease in the cohort group. Based on the findings of this study and numerous other prior research bodies, most adults will want to supplement with 1,200 to 2,400 mg per day of a molecularly distilled fish oil (in a 7:1 EPA/DHA ratio) to extend natural lifespan as part of a total health maintenance program.
Sources for this article include:
by John Phillip
(NaturalNews) Omega-3 fats from foods including fish, chicken, nuts, and seeds are preferentially sequestered after consumption and used for critical functions to maintain optimal brain metabolism and function. These long-chain fats are used to form the highly permeable cell wall membrane of nerve cells, as electrical and chemical transmissions through this barrier are limited when sufficient omega-3 fats are unavailable from blood circulation.
Researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York have published the result of their work demonstrating the close relationship between Omega-3 fats, blood saturation levels of amyloid proteins and risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the prestigious journal, Neurology. The study confirms that lower blood levels of a protein related to Alzheimer’s disease (amyloid-beta plaque) can protect against memory problems, mild cognitive decline, and progression to Alzheimer’s disease in many cases.
The lead study author, Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas noted “While it’s not easy to measure the level of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain in this type of study, it is relatively easy to measure the levels of beta-amyloid in the blood, which to a certain degree, relates to the level in the brain.” The brain normally generates amyloid proteins as a metabolic byproduct that is broken down and cleared in the youthful, healthy brain. The study suggests that Omega-3 fats from dietary sources can aid this process, though the scientists did not specifically note this conclusion.
Increased omega-3 fats from diet lowers beta-amyloid levels in the blood up to thirty percent
Researchers looked at 1,219 people that were over the age of 65 and free of dementia. The participants provided information regarding their diet for an average of 1.2 years before their blood was tested for beta-amyloid. The scientists specifically monitored ten nutrients including saturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, mono-unsaturated fatty acid, vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin D.
The study determined that higher levels of omega-3 fats consumed by eating fish, chicken, nuts, and seeds directly correlated to lower blood beta-amyloid levels. Researchers found that consuming one gram of omega-3 per day (equal to approximately half a fillet of salmon per week) was associated with 20 to 30 percent lower blood beta-amyloid levels. Researchers found that most people do not eat enough omega-3 enriched foods to adequately raise blood levels of the essential fat.
Dr. Scarmeas concluded “The more omega-3s one eats, the less the beta amyloid levels are… we were able to relate something that we eat with a very specific mechanism in the body that is very strongly related to Alzheimer’s.” This study did not account for intake of the pre-formed omega-3 fats supplied through fish oil supplements, known to dramatically boost blood saturation of the long-chain fats. Nutrition experts suggest several servings of fish, chicken, nuts, and seeds each week (or supplementing with 1,200 to 2,400 mg EPA/DHA daily) to significantly lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
ASPIRIN – The wonder drug, also, it is believed, reduces the chance of death by cancer by inhibiting an enzyme that promotes cancer proliferation in tumours.
“A landmark study to be published in the June issue  of the American Journal of Clinical Health provides direct evidence that refined, highly processed carbohydrates are worse for your heart than saturated fat.” Leslie Beck Globe and Mail, May 2010. Foods that do not provide a rush of insulin (low GI – under 55): “grainy breads with seeds, steel-cut oats, 100% bran cereal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, pasta, apples, citrus fruit, grapes, pears, legumes, nuts, milk, yogurt and soy milk.”
OMEGA-3: According to “studies reviewed by Dr Gomez-Pinilla (professor of neurosurgery and physiological science at UCLA), the benefits of omega-3s include improved learning and memory, and resistance to depression and bipolar sisorder, schizophrenia, dementia, attention-deficit disorder and dyslexia. Omega-3s are found in oily fish such as salmon, as well as in walnuts and kiwi fruit…” The Economist, July 19 2008
[vegetable] “Fats may be guarding against hip fractures” was the title of Dr Richard Beliveau’s column in the Whig on December 14 2010. “Replacing these fats [saturated, eg in red meat and in whole milk]”, Beliveau said, “with those with a vegetable origin, particularly olive oil and oils rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 (flax seeds, for example), is a simple and effective way to improve the quality of fat brought into our body, thereby contributing to the prevention of several diseases, including those affecting bone density.”
Vitamin D ”[I]n Scotland the sun is only strong enough to provide vitamin D between April and September. If the body’s reserves of vitamin D run out during the winter, they need to be topped up from oily fish, eggs, meat or a supplement.” BBC News Sept 2010
“More cinnamon, less cancer” was the title of Dr Richard Beliveau’s column of March 22, 2010. I put cinnamon along with honey on my multi-grain toast this morning. No butter! By weight, cinnamon has 25 times more more polyphenols than wild blueberries. ‘Attention on Prevention’ is the sub-title of Beliveau’s columns.
Pistachio nuts may help prevent your arteries from clogging, your blood vessels clean and your heart healthy and strong. Consumer Reports on Health. We use non-salted pistachio nuts. Also containing phytosterols like pistachio nuts are sunflower and pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and pine nuts.
Inflammation – Rosmarinic acid curbs inflammation. Rosmarinic acid can be found in rosemary, of course, and also oregano, sage, thyme, marjoram and lemon balm.
To be healthy we need thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week. According to Paul Taylors’ Globe and Mail Column on March 20 2009, moderate-intensity walking is 100 steps in 60 seconds times 30 minutes – “a brisk walk” said Dr. Marshall.
Raw veggies are not necessarily more nutritious was Leslie Beck’s thrust in her May 27 2009 Globe and Mail column. Tomatoes and spinach are better for you if cooked. Broccoli, kale and garlic, better raw.
Mental Health : “there is nothing so urgent that it cannot be postponed in favour of a cup of tea”
PHYTOCHEMICALS: The highest levels of anti-cancer compounds (phytochemicals) are found in greeen tea, soybeans, and tumeric. Phytochemical activity “targets the processes involves in the development of a tumour”. p.75 Foods that Fight Cancer by Beliveau and Gingras
GOBS + CCC + TTT – I’m trying to remember the eleven chapters in Part II of Foods that Fight Cancer: three begin with T – tumeric, tomatoes and tea (green); three with C – citrus, chocolate (dark) and cabbage; and GOBS with a silent W (actually the W is invisible) stand for: red wine, garlic (onions etc), Omega 3s, berries (blue in particular) and soy.
The term “whole grain” bread includes the wheat germ, but “whole wheat” may not.
“GREEN TEA holds a place of prime importance in any diet planned with cancer prevention in mind. Of all foods, it contains one of the highest proportions of anti-cancer molecules” p.115 Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer by Beliveau and Gingras is a terrific book. We now use Japanese gyokuro green tea as it is richer in catechins. Gyokuro is about $32 for 100 grams.
As soon as you cook meat at over 350 degrees, HCAs (carcinogens) are produced. Marinating before cooking is one way to reduce HCAs.
“We now know that monounsaturated fats can reduce the total cholesterol and the LDL while protecting the HDL, the good cholesterol.” page 33 Good Fat – Bad Fat by Louise Lambert-LaGace and Michelle LaFlamme, 1995. “Monounsaturated fats are found in plant foods such as olive oil, canola oil, hazelnuts oil, almonds, avacadoes, pistachios . . ”
“Olive oil actually can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s because olive oil containsphenol, an ingredient that keeps your arteries elastic. That’s important because “elastic” arteries can handle sudden changes in your blood flow –the secret of preventing a heart attack.” from the ad for Consumer Reports, ‘The Best of Health’ book
cod liver oil “Basiclly, if you’re taking your teaspoon full of cod liver oil, it’s fine…but higher levels are not associated with health.” Reinhold Vieth, professor, department of nutritional sciences at U of T.
SAGE – I now add a broken-up sage leaf or two to my soups. Sage contains essential oils, flavonoids, antioxidend enzymes and phenolic acid. Sage is supposed to enhance memory and reduce inflamation. from The Perricone Promise
The allium vegetables (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots) help improve blood cholesterol and fat profiles, as do spices, particularly ginger and tumeric.” Michael Vertolli
IRISH COFFEE – Only Irish coffee provides in a single cup all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.
Définition des oméga-3
Les oméga-3 sont un groupe d’acides gras essentiels, cela signifie que l’homme doit recourir à l’alimentation pour s’approvisionner en ce nutriment, car il ne peut pas le synthétiser lui-même.
On trouve les oméga-3 dans de très nombreux aliments (voir ci-dessous) ainsi que sous forme de compléments alimentaires. Selon de récentes études des acides gras seraient bénéfiques pour soigner et surtout prévenir des maladies très variées.
Définition chimique des oméga-3 (partie complexe, pour spécialiste)
Les molécules d’oméga-3 présentent une longue chaîne hydrogénocarbonée avec plusieurs doubles liaisons (on parle aussi d’acides gras polyinsaturés : ce qui signifie que la chaîne n’est pas entièrement saturée en atome d’hydrogène H).
La notion d’oméga-3 est un terme générique qui regroupe différents acides gras : l’acide éicosapentaénoique (EPA) avec 20 C et 5 doubles liaisons, l’acide docosahexaénoique (DHA) avec 22 C et 6 doubles liaisons et l’acide docosapentaénoique (DPA) avec 22 C et 5 doubles liaisons.
Comme on peut s’en apercevoir le 3 du terme oméga-3 signifie au sens strict, 3 liaisons insaturées, or certains acides gras faisant partie de cette famille ont plus de 3 liaisons (5,…), il s’agit donc plutôt d’un groupe d’acides gras au sens large.
Où trouver les oméga-3 ?
Dans la nourriture, les oméga 3 se trouvent principalement dans des huiles végétales et dans les poissons.
Huiles végétales présentant des oméga-3 :
> huile de colza
> huile de germe de blé
> huile de noix
> huile de lin
> huile de soja
> huile d’olive
Attention pour les huiles végétales il est toujours préférable de s’alimenter avec une huile pressée à froid.
Poissons riches en oméga-3 :
> Poisson d’eau froide : saumon, thon, anchois
Vous pouvez également trouver en pharmacie des compléments alimentaires oméga 3 (sous forme de gélule d’huile de poisson, saumon,…) à base d’oméga-3 pour compléter l’absorption de ces précieux acides gras.
Selon l’AFSSA (organisme sanitaire français), il est recommandé de consommer cinq quantités d’oméga-6 pour une quantité d’oméga-3. Ce dosage n’est malheureusement pas respecté surtout dans les pays industrialisés. En effet, à cause d’une mauvaise habitude alimentaire caractérisée surtout par une hausse des calories ingérées, la tendance se tourne vers une consommation abondante d’oméga-6 contre une faible ration d’oméga-3.
Dans ces pays, une personne avale en moyenne jusqu’à 8 portions d’oméga-6 contre une portion d’oméga-3. Aux États-Unis, le taux est particulièrement alarmant puisque le ratio entre ces deux acides gras essentiels peut atteindre les 40 : 1.
Si vous voulez connaître le dosage idéal en acide gras essentiel, le mieux est de solliciter l’avis de votre médecin ou d’un professionnel dans ce domaine à savoir les pharmaciens ou les nutritionnistes.
Les effets supposés des oméga 3
Les acides gras (pas seulement les oméga-3) jouent un rôle capital dans le corps humain, il agissent souvent comme des hormones pour délivrer divers messages, c’est le cas par exemple après une blessure, le corps émet alors des signaux caractéristiques de l’inflammation. Divers acides gras (comme les prostaglandines) interviennent dans ce mécanisme de l’inflammation. Ils ont donc un rôle anti-inflammatoire.
On suppose que les oméga-3, stockés dans la membrane cellulaire, grâce à leur transformation en d’autres molécules, peuvent aussi intervenir bénéfiquement et jouer un rôle protecteur du mauvais cholestérol et dans l’inhibation de la formation de la plaque d’athérome.
Indications, utilisations en médecine
Au vu des effets mentionnés ci-dessus, les oméga-3 auraient un rôle très bénéfique contre diverses maladies inflammatoires comme : l’arthrite (y.c. polyarthrite rhumatoïde), le stress, l’acné ou encore le cancer (en prévention). Certains parlent même d’un effet possible lors de dépression (oméga-3 et dépression : si on part du principe que la dépression a une composante inflammatoire). Les oméga-3 sont également fortement indiqués en prévention de différtentes maladies cardio-vasculaires : excès de cholestérol, hypertension et l’AVC. On estime aussi que les oméga-3 peuvent améliorer les capacités du cerveau (concentration, mémoire,…).
Egalement en prévention de l’endométriose.
Remarquons que comme tout médicament, certaines contre-indications (lors d’opération) et d’effets secondaires (risque de saignement) sont à prendre en compte, c’est particulièrement le cas avec des compléments nutritionnels riches en oméga-3, prière de demander conseil à un spécialiste et de lire la notice d’emballage.
If there were a top 40 of good foods, a chart rundown of the right things to eat, then anything containing omega-3 fatty acids would have been number one for years. They even have their own international awareness day, which takes place this Wednesday.
Omega-3 is the name given to a family of unsaturated fatty acids found mainly in oily fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines and anchovies, and also in eggs, meat, milk and cheese.
The naturally occurring acids of the omega-3 family can apparently boost our brain power, keep our hearts healthy, strengthen our bones, and much more. You can ingest the fatty acids by eating a lot of the right kind of fish or by taking fish oil supplements – little golden capsules rich in omega-3.
Hardly a week goes by without yet another media report on “The wonders of omega-3 fatty acids” (as a headline in Canada put it recently).
Last month it was reported omega-3 can protect against psychotic disorders such a schizophrenia. An international team of researchers gave a daily dose to 81 people deemed to be at risk from psychosis and found it seemed to cut the rate of psychotic illness – including schizophrenia – by 25%.
But how much of this is hype, and how much reality? Is there a danger that a largely fish-derived fatty acid is being turned into a modern-day magic potion?
Dietician Evelyn Tribole is a firm believer in their potency.
“While it can seem that omega-3s do everything but wash your windows, it’s important to remember that they are essential nutrients”, says Ms Tribole, author of The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet: Maximise the Power of Omega-3s to Supercharge Your Health, Battle Inflammation, and Keep Your Mind Sharp.
She says modern forms of food production are reducing the amount of omega-3 in our foods, “contributing to a global omega-3 fat deficiency in the diets of most people”.
“For example, animals that graze on grass have higher omega-3 contents in their meat – and the longer they are out to pasture, the more omega-3s accumulate in their meat. But today the great majority of animals dine on [corn grain], which is devoid of omega-3s.”
That is bad, she says, because “remarkable and consistent” scientific studies show us omega-3 is good for brain function, mood disorders, heart health and more. And she dismisses the claim that this is just a fad.
“Yes, food and nutrition seem to run in fashionable trends, with followers and believers. In this case, however, there is a lot of good evidence for the benefits of omega-3s.”
But others are sceptical.
Dr Lee Hooper, lead author of one of the most thorough studies on the apparent benefits of omega-3, published in the British Medical Journal in 2006, urges people not to get “carried away”.
The interest in omega-3 has snowballed over the past decade, giving rise to more and more scientific studies, books about how omega-3 can make you super-healthy, and government- and corporate-funded omega-3 promotion groups, such as the Omega-3 International Awareness Day and The Omega-3 Group in Scotland.
Over the past 10 years, about 12,500 scientific studies on the benefits of omega-3 have been published, both reflecting and reinforcing the fashion for consuming this apparent super-food. Today, everything from loaves of bread to frozen fish fingers come with a “RICH IN OMEGA-3” tag.
Yet the “systematic review” carried out by Dr Hooper’s team shows the claims are often as fishy as the omega-3-rich foods themselves.
“According to the evidence we have so far, omega-3 does not seem to help for cancer prevention or treatment; with children’s learning or behaviour; with cognitive function; or in preventing cognitive decline with age or mental health problems, including bipolar disease, schizophrenia.”
Similarly, there’s “no evidence that the fatty acids assist with cystic fibrosis, allergies, asthma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or kidney disease”.
Dr Hooper’s study found evidence omega-3 improves children’s learning abilities and behaviour to be “very poor”.
On the plus side, “omega-3 probably does help with arthritis, pain and stiffness,” she says. And it definitely seems useful for people recovering from a heart attack.
“I would very much want anyone I know who has had a heart attack recently to be consuming omega-3.”
It’s beneficial for those who have had a heart attack because research shows that the “long-chain fatty acids” in the omega-3 family get into the membranes of our cells, helping to “improve the heart’s electrical activity” and reduce blood pressure, among other things.
Crucially, though, this doesn’t mean those who have not had a heart attack can reduce their risk of having one by consuming omega-3, says Dr Hooper.
“There’s no evidence that omega-3 reduces the risk of death or heart attack or stroke or anything like that in those of us who have not recently had a heart attack,” she says.
Dr Hooper says her aim is not to generate a backlash against a trendy nutrient, but simply to get to the truth about its limited benefits.
But if so many of the claims are just hype, how did it get to that stage? Why are so many benefits laid at the door of omega-3?
Dr Hooper says believes the fashion for omega-3 betrays our herd-instinct – how, “as a group”, we periodically get overexcited about certain foodstuffs. There always seems to be some “new food panacea” to our problems, she says.
Another doctor, Michael Fitzpatrick, says the omega-3 fad is just the flipside of the anti-junk food campaign. Just as see certain kinds of “junk food” as “morally and constitutionally corruptive”, we tend to elevate other foods as “saviours of human health”.
So much so, says Dr Fitzpatrick, GP and author of The Tyranny of Health, that today there is almost a “cult of omega-3”.
Below is a selection of your comments.
Why is it in the stories about Omega-3 that we rarely see a discussion of Omega-6 and the Omega-3 to -6 ratios? Similarly for Sodium, we rarely see discussions of Sodium/Potassium ratios. Isn’t it so in each case that the interaction of the two substances is as or more important than the dose of either alone?
Steve Foster, Leiden, The Netherlands
I support the view of the dietician on this subject. There is a lot of robust evidence of its beneficial effects. It is clear from the patients I see that there is little to no intake of omega-3 in the diet – very little fish, organic chicken or nuts. I disagree with Dr Hooper – every single child which has started omega-3 capsules only without increasing intake of fish has shown improved concentration and behaviour (more balanced blood sugar which reduces aggression, volatility etc). In my experience there is a general improvement in depressive patients with the intake of omega 3 either in tablet form on natural fish intake.
Jennifer Hargreaves, Worthing, West Sussex
You seem to have missed the other scientific fact about omega 3 that no-one mentions. Only fish-derived omega-3 is proven to help with brain, heart and joint function, plant-derived omega-3 doesn’t really help at all.
D Simpson, Edinburgh
Where is the science in this piece? You can’t just dismiss various unnamed studies with another equally vague references to another study. In the absence of scientific detail am I just supposed to take the journalist’s word for this?
Jonathan Gay, London
I think Dr Hooper should turn her attention to Aloe Vera next. It seems there nothing that won’t cure as well.
I am sceptical about most things, in particular when they appear to be a fad, however, my son had some difficulties with concentration at school and also behaviour in the home. After reading about the effects of Omega 3 and in particular a range of products, which contain omega 3, 6 & 9 fatty acids, we decided that our son was going to try a course of the capsules. After about a week we had comments back from the school re. what had we done to change our sons behaviour? The level of concentration and cooperation in class had markedly improved in a short space of time. That improvement is still there today, some six years after we first started him on the capsules although he has long since ceased taking them as it is always preferable to obtain nutrients from our normal diets rather than processed versions.
This story takes me back to the early fifties when I was in the local infant school. Every moring we had to line up for our spoonful of malt and our cod liver oil. Of course we were still living with rationing then and another item doled out was orange juice. Modern diets seem deficient in a lot of good items – fruit and veggies especially’I don’t see it as a “food fad” but more of the wheel turning a full circle and people are starting to realize that traditional food – meat and veggies etc., is not all bad.
John Wood, Hixon, BC, Canada
Having taken Omega 3 capsules for the last 4 years, both as a corporate CEO and as a part-time symphony orchestra conductor, my levels of mental concentration have increased tremendously, very noticeable shortly after beginning a daily regimen. A son in the US who owns a large graphic arts prepress business, claims his total focus for doing this work which requires extreme attention to detail, is possible only because he takes Omega 3 daily.
William Alexander, Acapulco Mexico
I live in a fishing town. Salmon is everywhere. I eat lots of salmon on my doctors recommendation. When I don’t, my arthritis gets worse very quickly. When I eat it at least 6-8oz of it 2-3 times a week, arthritic pain and other symptoms do seem to greatly diminish over 2-3 weeks. I don’t know about Omega-3 and all that, but if salmon has the highest concentrate of it, then maybe there’s something to it.
Larry Weinberg, Gold Beach, OR USA