This unsaturated fatty acid acquired the name fish oil because it is found most plentiful in cold water fish. The omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve a wide range of aliments. They are vital in the production of hormone like substances called eicosanoids which regulate the inflammatory response in the body. They are also incorporated into the membranes which surround all cells. This explains the diversity of conditions which improve with the addition of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. It is often said that any condition which ends with an "itis" would benefit from fish oils. Recent published studies have demonstrated the benefits of Omega3 supplementation for rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, colitis, depression, dysmenorrhea, and vision. There are even promising studies in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes.
The omega-3 fatty acid, linolenic acid, is converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and further into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It is the EPA and the DHA that are used to make the anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. The fish oils contain preformed EPA and DHA where other oils like flax seed need to convert its omega-3 into the EPA and DHA before it can be utilized in the production of the eicosanoids.
The standard American diet is partially to b lame with our insufficient consumption of the fish and grains which contain the omega-3 oils and the over consumption of omega-6 oils from wheat grain, corn and animal fat. The production of our foods also limits our intake with hydrogenation of oils reducing the omega-3 content in most processed foods. Free range buffalo meat contains six times more omega-3 than grain fed steers.
A typical adult should increase their intake of the omega-3 oils by increasing their consumption of cold water fish, flax seed, etc. and/or supplement with a quality supplement. According to the American Heart Association this supplement should contain 500-1000mgs of omega-3 oil with both DHA and EPA. Supplying the body the nutrients it needs allows major improvements and omega-3 fatty acid is not a drug, it is food, so give yourself time to utilize this essential oil to rebuild and correct the inflammatory imbalances.
If you have any serious health conditions discuss omega-3 supplementation with your doctor.
Jeffrey A. Brown DC, CCN
Alexandria Chiropractic Center
Practice of Chiropractic, Acupuncture, & Clinical Nutrition
101 S. Whiting Street