A “Miracle” Nutrient For Reducing Inflammation??
To continue our series on reducing inflammation, let me just give a quick recap of what we’ve covered so far by reviewing some of the key points from the previous newsletters.
-Inflammation in the body is a major contributor to the formation and perpetuation of all diseases and painful physical ailments.
-Your bodies Ph level is a good indicator of the level of inflammation in your body.
-With a Ph testing strip that you can buy at most health food stores or online, you can measure your Ph in just minutes and get a good idea of how inflamed you are.
-With a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can reduce your level of inflammation by improving your Ph.
-The first thing to begin to reduce is your sugar consumption, because sugar is one of the most inflammatory foods there is.
-You can also greatly reduce your inflammation by limiting your consumption of saturated fats.
-You can also very easily reduce your body’s inflammation by consuming alkaline water, which can be produced by special filtration systems that are available inexpensively online.
Today I want to share with you another strategy for reducing your inflammation, which is to increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help with numerous aspects of our body’s health and unfortunately they are grossly under consumed by most people. The following is an excerpt from an article I found written by researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
“Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can’t make them — you have to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which many nutritionally oriented physicians consider to be way too high on the omega-6 side.
The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop heart disease. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.
Fish, plant, and nut oils are the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, tuna, and herring. ALA is found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, purslane, perilla seed oil, walnuts, and walnut oil. The health effects of omega-3 fatty acids come mostly from EPA and DHA. ALA from flax and other vegetarian sources needs to be converted in the body to EPA and DHA. Many people do not make these conversions very effectively, however. This remains an ongoing debate in the nutrition community; fish and sea vegetable sources of EPA and DHA versus vegetarian sources of ALA. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include sea life such as krill and algae.
Both EPA and DHA can be taken in the form of fish oil capsules. Flaxseed, flaxseed oil, fish, and krill oils should be kept refrigerated. Whole flaxseeds must be ground within 24 hours of use, so the ingredients stay active. Flaxseeds are also available in ground form in a special mylar package so the components in the flaxseeds stay active.
Be sure to buy omega-3 fatty acid supplements made by established companies who certify that their products are free of heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium.
How to Take It
Dosing for fish oil supplements should be based on the amount of EPA and DHA, not on the total amount of fish oil. Supplements vary in the amounts and ratios of EPA and DHA. A common amount of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil capsules is 0.18 grams (180 mg) of EPA and 0.12 grams (120 mg) of DHA. Different types of fish contain variable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and different types of nuts or oil contain variable amounts of ALA. Fish oils contain approximately 9 calories per gram of oil.
Children (18 years and younger)
There is no established dose for children. Omega-3 fatty acids are used in some infant formulas. Fish oil capsules should not be used in children except under the direction of a health care provider. Children should avoid eating fish that may be high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. (See Precautions section.)
Do not take more than 3 grams daily of omega-3 fatty acids from capsules without the supervision of a health care provider, due to an increased risk of bleeding.
- For healthy adults with no history of heart disease: The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish at least 2 times per week.
- For adults with coronary heart disease: The AHA recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 1 gram daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 – 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen. Supplements should be taken under the direction of a physician.
- For adults with high cholesterol levels: The AHA recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 2 – 4 grams daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 – 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen. Supplements should be taken under the direction of a physician.
- For adults with high blood pressure, scientists generally recommend 3 – 4 grams per day, but you should only take under the supervision of a health care provider.
Next time I’ll be back with another strategy for reducing your body’s inflammation, so you can move better, feel better and perform better.
To your health!