Just like other essential vitamins and minerals, a daily balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids arenecessary for good health. Our bodies cannot make Omega-3 or Omega-6 so we must supply them in our diet.
Fat is a hot topic! It is difficult to go anywhere without being reminded of it. From media and health advisors to the wide availability of low-fat foods, fat has become a conscious part of our daily living. For the most part, fat is regarded in a negative fashion. However, the term fat is broad by definition; in contrast to popular opinion that all fat is bad, there are “good” and “bad” fats.
Good Fats are essential to our health. These types of fats are essential; that is, they must be obtained from the diet, are necessary for health, and their absence from the diet can be detrimental. The “good” fats are the essential fatty acids (EFAs) from the omega-3 and omega-6 families. EFAs are required for the proper structure and function of every cell in the body, and are important for optimal health. EFAs increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals; nourish the skin, hair and nails; promote proper nerve functioning; help produce hormones; ensure normal growth and development; and prevent and treat disease. Research shows that EFAs aid in combating numerous health concerns. Examples include:
• elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels,
• high blood pressure,
• rheumatoid arthritis,
• mental conditions including depression
• diabetic neuropathy,
• menstrual and menopausal discomforts,
• skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis,
• poor vision
The Omega-3 essential fatty acids in balance with the Omega-6 essential fatty acids are the foundation of our health. This healthy balance of EFAs is critical to total body health, both inside and out.
In fact, each EFA plays many distinct and valuable roles in the optimal functioning of the entire body. In ancient times, humans consumed a ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s on nearly 1:1. In modern times, due the agricultural revolution with an increase in consumption of grains, grain oil, and grain fed animals, our diet became heavily loaded with Omega-6 the pro-inflammatory Omega essential fatty acid. Inflammation is an essential part of health, we want to be alerted by our body if we have an injury, the pain is a positive signal, the white bloods cells bring clotting agents and immune defense.
The body is designed to regulate our natural inflammatory response from Omega-6 with the natural anti-inflammatory response from Omega-3 EPA. This balance was lost with the agricultural revolution shifting our diets to increase grain and grain oil consumption. Then modern life further changed the balance with a further reliance on margarines, butter, and certain
plant oils (sunflower, corn, and safflower).
Now the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio in our diet is thought to have become 10-20:1!
This means we are consuming 10-20 times more omega-6 fat than omega-3 fat, when once we consumed them in roughly equal quantities. This has created a significant imbalance of fat in our body, resulting in a deficiency of the omega-3s. This imbalance needs to be corrected by increasing our dietary consumption of the omega-3s from plant based sources including nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables, as well as from cold-water fatty fish including salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies and mackerel.
But we have lost many of the sources of Omega-3 in our diet that our bodies need for optimal health. The need for a true Omega-3 supplement to help people get Omega-3 back into their diet, in a highly purified, concentrated form with a high ratio of EPA to DHA is what led Dr.Locke to turn her focus to the creation OmegaBrite. The Omega-3 EPA and DHA EFA's in OmegaBrite provide these essential nutrients we need for optimal health. That is why OmegaBrite can create such a powerful difference. By giving our bodies the Omega-3 nutrients EPA and DHA, in a pure concentrated oil in OmegaBrite, we are giving our bodies the building blocks of health.
Metabolism of Omega-3 and Omega-6
A key role of the EFA’s is to become incorporated into cell membranes. EFA’s increase the fluidity of cellular membranes. When dietary deficiency or imbalance of EFA’s exists, our bodies use saturated fats to take the place of EFA’s in cellular membranes. The result is a much more rigid and inflexible membrane. More flexible membranes have been shown to decrease the “stickyness” of blood cells (thereby decreasing the risk of stroke and heart attack), improve neuronal signaling (thereby improving memory and concentration), improve development of the visual and hearing systems, and possibly better allow cells to recognize and defend against carcinogenic change.
A second job of EFA’s is to be converted
into their longer chain metabolites, ultimately producing
hormone-like substances called eicosanoids; most notably the
prostaglandins which control the inflammatory processes. Inflammation
is involved in many of today’s modern diseases ranging
from cardiovascular disease to depression, as well as many
of the auto-immune diseases which include; arthritis, irritable
bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, colitis, psorasis,
lupus and fibromyalgia. The food we eat has a large impact
on the level of inflammation in our body. The major reason
our bodies are experiencing an increase in inflammation stems
from our dietary shift towards more omega-6 fats. Omega-6s
produce strongly inflammatory prostaglandins, while omega-3s
produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. There are profound
health implications that can result from this imbalance of
fatty acids. When in balance, EFAs promote optimal health
by creating fluid membranes, and by the production of the
appropriate amounts of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. When
out of balance, they can throw the body into chaos.
Not All Omega-3s Are Created Equally
As important as it is to increase our dietary levels of omega-3 fatty acids, not all omega-3s are created equally. There are three important omega-3 fatty acids to consider: alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is found in plant based oils like flaxseed oil, perilla oil, soybean oil as well as green, leafy vegetables, and nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds and flaxseeds. ALA is an important fatty acid as without dietary consumption, deficiency symptoms will develop. Ideally, ALA should be metabolized into the longer chain fatty acids, EPA and DHA . EPA and DHA can be found in the diet in cold-water fatty fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and anchovies.
EPA is directly responsible for the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, which are out of balance in most individuals due to the plethora of pro-inflammatory omega-6s in our diet. Furthermore, the limited ALA we do consume is converted to EPA and DHA at a very slow rate. This is a result of two factors; A) Being human! Humans are poor converters of ALA. B) Our poor conversion is worsened by a variety of dietary and lifestyle factors (ageing, smoking, alcohol consumption, stress, trans fatty acids, some pharmaceutical drugs and certain disease conditions including diabetes and eczema). As a result, most North Americans are deficient in EPA and DHA.
It is therefore evident that closer attention
needs to be paid to dietary fat selection. Greater intake
of ALA can be achieved by increasing consumption of fruits
and vegetables, as well as nuts. ALA can also be readily acquired
by dietary use of canola, flax, and certain other plant oils.
Attempting to obtain adequate amounts of EPA and DHA poses
greater challenges. Due to the restricted dietary sources
of these nutrients many individuals have turned to high quality
omega-3 fish oil supplements to obtain these health promoting
and disease preventing fats.
Omega-3 in Health and Disease
In the 1970s, the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil emerged when researchers noticed that people, such as the Inuit, who ate fish frequently suffered fewer heart attacks and died of heart disease at a lower rate than those who seldom ate fish. Not only did they not suffer from heart disease but other diseases such as asthma, diabetes, psoriasis, and depression were virtually non existent among this population of people. The Inuit advantage was attributed to the long-chain omega-3s EPA and DHA, found in their food staples of fatty fish and fish-eating marine mammals like whales and seals.
Currently omega-3s (specifically EPA and DHA) are being studied for various ailments. Scientists are rejoicing in the progress made thus far. Already human trials have shown benefit from EPA and DHA in conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, schizophrenia, childhood ADD/ ADHD, arthritis, psoriasis, and even as an aid to reduce stress levels. Scientists are also demonstrating that children born to women who took omega-3 fish oil supplements are developing mental, visual, and hearing function more quickly. These results are just the tip of the iceberg, for every day science is discovering new therapeutic uses of these simple yet vital fats.
One of the significant links between all
of these disease conditions is that of inflammation.
Omega-3s and the Inflammation Connection
Inflammation is a buzz word, with many people seeking ways to deal with their inflammatory conditions. Inflammation is caused by a variety of factors, but one of the most significant is that of diet and nutrition. An imbalance of fatty acids can lead to serious inflammation which manifests itself in a variety of disease conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA produces anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, most notably prostaglandin E2. Research has confirmed that when the body is given EPA from fish oil, the levels of inflammatory mediators decrease resulting in improvements in rheumatoid arthritis, depression and cardiovascular disease, as well as many other inflammation- mediated disorders. EPA helps to offset the imbalance of pro-inflammatory fatty acids obtained from our modern- day North American diet, thereby improving numerous disorders which afflict many members of our population.
Further support for the action of omega-3
fatty acids on inflammatory conditions comes from new research
released in March 2005. A new class of bioactive lipids called
resolvins has been discovered. These metabolic products of
EPA significant anti-inflammatory and protective properties.
Researchers have confirmed that resolvins inhibit the migration
of inflammatory cells to sites of inflammation and the turning
on of other inflammatory cells. This is clear evidence to
explain why fish oil has the anti-inflammatory effects that
Good Fats for Good Health
Consuming omega-3s daily is a vital component to overall health and well-being. As essential nutrients, our bodies require them, yet our modern diets have led to dangerously inappropriate levels of consumption. Therefore, supplementing with a high-quality omega-3 source is recommended to "create health". The omega3 nutrients in OmegaBrite provide us with the the Omega-3's EPA and DHA we need for optimal wellness and health from head to toe. Many people lack the ability to convert ALA to longer chain EPA and DHA essential fatty acids. By providing our bodies with the Omega3's in OmegaBrite, we are giving our bodies the building blocks of health. EPA is rapidly turned over in our bodies as it is used to modulate our immune systems as a normal part of health. We need to replenish our body with EPA on a daily basis for optimal health. By providing the high EPA nutrients in OmegaBrite we are giving our bodies the balance to Omega-6 and providing the foundation of health.
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