Feb 07 2019
There is no doubt that Omega 3's can not only help your heart and joints but it will also help your brain. Most people are aware of this, but do the benefits of Omega 3's apply across the board for all types of Omega 3's? There are now many Companies in the world market today trying to capitalize on the Omega 3 'boom' with such a wide range of products and so many claims that it is hard for the consumer to sift out fact from fiction.
The purpose of today's newsletter is to try and concisely as possible give you the facts about Omega 3.
I will try to explain the most important ones by dealing with each of them individually.
Important Point # 1
Your prime objective for consuming Omega 3 should be to get DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) into your body. The scientific evidence supporting the benefits of DHA is now overwhelming. It is much more important than EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) which is the major Omega 3 component of most fish oils.
Important Point # 2
Not all Omega 3's will provide you with DHA and EPA. This is because these essential fatty acids are not present in a lot of Omega 3 products. For example, ground flax seed is an excellent oil for certain uses and contains Omega 3's but does not actually contain any DHA or EPA at all. Instead it contains alpha linolenic acid which your body has to convert to DHA and EPA.
In many people, particularly the elderly this conversion process is very inefficient. To give you an idea, it is estimated that most adults would have to consume 10 - 40 grams of flaxseed oil to produce just 0.2 grams of DHA.
So, if you want to get the proven benefits of DHA don't rely on getting your Omega 3's from vegetable oils such as flaxseed. Note: There is however now some products being produced from algae which contain good levels of DHA and do not require the body to convert the ALA to the DHA. But, they are still not readily available and they are expensive.
Important Point # 3
The best source of DHA is from fish oil. However, there are some drawbacks with many fish oils:
The amount of DHA is low in most fish oils. A typical level is 12% DHA and 18% EPA. The popular 'salmon' oils (which are not really salmon) are usually of the 12/18 type.
Many oils on the market today are from questionable sources and some have high levels of heavy metals or other contaminants such as PCB's. To ensure that you don't ingest these contaminants, either use oils which have been molecularly distilled, or are from impeccable sources with a reliable certificate of analysis. This basically rules out any oil which is processed from fish caught in the Northern Hemisphere.
Most fish oils are of the triglyceride form which does not easily pass through the cell membranes. Important Point # 4 Some suppliers of fish oil claim that it does not matter that the EPA is higher than the DPA because the body will convert part of the EPA to DPA. This is indeed true but like the conversion of ALA to DHA the percentage of conversion is very low. This is due in part to the high consumption of Omega 6 in the typical Western diet. Enzymes needed for the conversion are in 'short supply' in the bodies of those people who have a reasonably high level of Omega 6 intake (via vegetable oils). This is because the enzymes needed are 'used up' in having to deal with the processing of Omega 6 oils. As a result, the conversion in most people is quite negligible which further supports ingesting the DHA directly. Important Point # 5 As I indicated earlier most fish oils are in the triglyceride forms. A triglyceride consists of 3 fatty acids attached to a glycerol backbone. It does not pass easily through the cell membrane as it is changed. It also requires two enzyme steps to 'release' its fatty acids. Sometimes because of the structure of the triglycerides the fatty acids are not released but rather stay attached to the glycerol backbone. In contrast, if the oil is esterified during the concentration and purification processes the resulting substance can easily enter the body's cell membranes. The esterified molecule has no charge and only requires one enterase enzyme to release the fatty acid. (DHA). This enables the body to use it as an immediate energy source, or store it for later use.