The verdict: What science says about Omega 3
They might not always agree on the interpretation of their individual studies, but when it comes to the benefits of Omega-3, scientists are united in giving it the highest praise.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been known since the 1930s, when scientists declared them to be essential for growth and health in the human body. In the 1970s, however, the health benefits of the so-called long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) were discovered.
Researchers studied the Greenland Inuit tribe and observed that despite the fact they consumed large amounts of fat from fish and meat, cardiovascular disease was practically unknown. The study brought to light that high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids reduce triglycerides, balance the blood pressure, regulate the heart rate and reduce atherosclerosis. It was also discovered that people who consume large amounts of fish such as the Eskimos and Japanese tend to have a lower incidence of heart- and many other chronic diseases.
This was the beginning of extensive and still ongoing research into the health benefits of Omega-3 long chain fatty acids.
Omega-3s cannot be produced by the body, but are available through plants and fish. One of the fatty acids found in plants like flax seed, soybeans and walnuts, is ALA (alpha-Linolenic acid). Compared to fish and seafood, the main sources of Omega-3, ALA plays a minor role. It is more important for the production of Omega-6 and your body cannot easily convert that into the long chain Omega-3 fatty acids that are so beneficial for your health. Fish, and especially oily fish, seafood and marine algae are rich in Omega-3, and are superior to plant based sources.
Salmon, sardines, mackerel, swordfish, snapper and herring – All of these are excellent sources of Omega-3, and a recommended daily intake of 500 mg of long chain Omega-3 can do wonders for your health. If you are not a fish or seafood lover, there is always the option to increase your Omega-3 intake by taking a fish based supplement. Natural Life™ Omega-3 capsules that contain 70% Salmon Oil and provide you with 1000 mg of natural fish oil per capsule. And children can benefit too, with fun tasting Omega-3 Smart Kids Soft Gel Burstlets.
Why is it so important to ensure a sufficient intake of Omega-3s?
Because most adults, and as research has shown, up to 60% (!) of Australian children suffer from a deficiency of Omega-3. This development seems to have come about with the start of modern life when seed oils, (for example sunflower, canola, cotton seed and corn) a rich source of Omega-6, were introduced. Until that time, people consumed diets that were high in seafood and other sources of Omega-3 long chain fatty acids, and relatively low in Omega-6. The consumption of vegetable oils – by itself and as an added ingredient to other food items – has increased significantly since the beginning and the end of the twentieth century.
Statistics show that today, an average person consumes 25 times more Omega-6 fatty acids than had been the norm. This development in dietary changes has caused the DHA level in people to decrease considerably, even to the point of serious deficiency, and this might be a contributing factor in the rising incidence of cardiovascular disease, mental disorders and many other modern chronic diseases we are affected by.
We need to be aware of balancing our Omega-3 and Omega-6 intake, by either reducing the consumptions of foods with a high level of Omega-6 or by increasing your diet with products rich in Omega-3. After all - Your health is your most precious possession.