Archive for July, 2010

Non-Alcoholic fatty liver disease can be very serious

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, along with regular fatty liver disease which is alcohol-related, is one of the most common diseases in America. These 2 combined are the most common form of chronic liver disease and effect about one in 10 people.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affects a very significant proportion of our population. As the name suggests this is not caused by excess intake of alcohol, however it is also possible to get fatty liver disease from excessive alcohol consumption.

Those suffering from fatty liver disease have an accumulation of triglyceride fat in the cells of the liver in excess of what is normal. This can be caused by a range of factors including high cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, obesity or rapid weight loss, type 2 diabetes and certain medications, as well as some other factors.Non alcoholic fatty liver disease

Often those suffering from this disease do not observe any symptoms. Those that do suffer from symptoms may find that they suffer from unexplained loss of weight, unusual fatigue or pain in the abdomen.

Despite the fact that many people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease experience no symptoms it is still a serious disease and can lead to permanent liver damage. And research has also shown that those suffering from NAFLD can have higher mortality rates than the rest of us.

There is now evidence that increasing your intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids found in fish may have a role in helping reduce non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. And therefore that supplementing your diet with Omega 3 essential fatty acids can not only benefit your health in a wide range of other areas but may also be beneficial to that 10 percent of the population suffering from fatty liver disease.

A new study done on rats has found that “Omega-3 fatty acid supplements may have a potential therapeutic role in patients with NAFLD”.

This would make sense, as it is already known that increasing the intake of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and in particular DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid), the most important of the Omega3 fats, helps lower triglycerides and reduce cholesterol.

There is now ample evidence that the vast bulk of our population is deficient in our dietary intake of fish and therefore is deficient in our intake of the essential Omega 3 fats found in fish oil, and that as a result we are more prone to a range of lifestyle diseases.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is just one more condition which may well benefit from increasing our intake of the essential fatty acids known as the Omega3 fats.

If you do not supplement with Omega3 supplements now then doing so may be one of the best health choices you will ever make.

And to read more about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease click here and here and to read the study referred to above click here.

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Gradually the evidence supporting fish oil supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding is getting stronger and stronger.

There is plenty of evidence that a sufficient intake the important essential fatty acids DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) years essential to good health amongst adults. Browse some of the articles under the categories on the right to find out more about the benefits of fish oil supplementation on various health conditions.

However there is also growing evidence of the importance of an adequate supply of the essential fatty acids to a fetus and growing baby during pregnancy and the first few years of life, (and for the rest of life as well).

Today we specifically want to examine the issue of fish oil supplements during pregnancy and during the first few years. Will a baby, or fetus, benefit from increasing the intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids in those important first few months and years of life?Fish Oil and Pregnancy

There is now clear evidence of the importance of sufficient levels of the Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on the health of a human being almost from conception. Studies have shown improvements in mental development and other important areas of cognitive development where the infant has adequate levels of DHA and EPA.

For instance the University of Adelaide in Australia has demonstrated in a six-year study that high doses of DHA can help the mental development of infants. This study examined infants which were born premature.

It was found that premature babies have low levels of DHA which increased the possibility of impaired mental development.

The amount of DHA supplied to the infants was supplemented, in the case of breastfeeding mothers by giving and fish oil capsules, and in the case of bottle fed infants by using a formula with high levels of DHA added.

Babies, and in particular premature girls, who had a DHA rich diet showed better mental development than those that did not. Refer below for a link to the study.

Science Daily also reported that the reason researchers suspect that premature infants are deficient in DHA is because they will miss out on the DHA supplied to them during pregnancy in the 3rd trimester, where much of the DHA necessary for mental and brain development is acquired.

Canadian researchers also found that supplementing the food of preterm babies with DHA supplements, both in breastmilk and bottled milk, will increase the levels of DHA in preterm infants.

It is now generally considered that breastfed infants have better mental development than those which are bottle fed. Another study reported in science daily has now found that using DHA fortified formula on infants resulted in those infants doing better on a problem-solving test. The reason suspected is that breast milk contains some DHA whereas regular formula does not.

Part of the conclusion of the study was that “our results clearly suggest that feeding infants formula supplemented with high concentrations of DHA provides beneficial effects on cognitive development”.

These studies go further towards confirming a link between increased intake of the essential fatty acids known as the omega 3 fats by a mother during pregnancy and breastfeeding and superior mental development in a fetus and infant.

And that DHA fortified formula may provide better developmental outcomes in infants than regular formula.

And of course the best way for pregnant or nursing mothers to increase their intake of DHA and EPA cost effectively and safely is to take fish oil supplements, particularly given that due to the Mercury contamination of many species of fish pregnant women are often advised to avoid eating a lot of fish.

However always remember, if you’re pregnant or nursing mother you should always consult your doctor first.

Like all these things there will be ongoing research for many years to come. Currently some medical professionals still advise against Omega 3 supplementation for pregnant or nursing mothers, however the evidence supported of Omega 3 supplementation to these women is becoming stronger and stronger.

To read the reports of the 3 studies quoted please see the links below.

Report of Study 1

Report of Study 2

Report of Study 3

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There is evidence that for anyone overweight, fish oil supplements containing Omega 3 fats could help

We have spoken at length about many of the health conditions rampant in our society that are diet and lifestyle related. Many of these conditions are also exacerbated by being overweight or obese. Fish oil supplements might help you lose weight, and therefore improve your health in a variety of ways.

Fish oil contains what is known as polyunsaturated fatty acids, or what can also be called Omega3 fatty acids or essential fatty acids. These are good fats which are extremely important to your health and well-being. And research shows that because of dietary changes, and in particular a reduction in fish consumption, over the last century almost all of us are now deficient in the Omega-3 fatty acids.

The most important of the Omega-3 polyunsaturated acids are DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid).

Studies have clearly shown that increasing our intake of fish oils, often by way of fish oil supplementation, can beneficially impact a range of health problems, including reducing our risks of heart disease and high blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke and much more, such as a reduction in the risk of colon cancer.Weight and fish oil

For many people the risks of various health problems are exacerbated by their weight. And it would appear from scientific studies that increasing our intake of Omega 3 fish oil can help with any weight loss program.

Studies have shown that as part of a weight loss program involving exercise and dietary control, and in particular a lower fat diet, that increasing your intake of EPA and DHA found in fish oil can improve your chances of satisfactory fat loss.

For example in Australia researchers studied the effects of increasing the intake of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on weight loss by studying the weight loss results of groups of people, some taking Omega-3 fish oil supplements, whilst others did not, as part of a weight loss and exercise program. They concluded that the polyunsaturated fatty acids improved the activity of fat burning enzymes which resulted in better weight loss for the subjects on the fish oil supplements.

They also concluded that the Omega 3 fatty acids improve the flow of blood to the muscles during exercise increasing the capacity to burn fat.

Other studies have shown that increasing the intake of DHA and EPA can help reduce insulin levels, and that higher levels of insulin increase the ability of the body to store fat.

This is good news for anyone suffering from obesity.

Of course this doesn’t mean that if you are overweight fish oil supplements added to your diet will reverse this. Taking Omega 3 for weight loss is only part of a successful weight loss strategy, however if you are committed to losing weight by way of improving your diet and increasing your exercise there is now significant evidence that taking fish oil supplements containing the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA will improve your likelihood of success.

Remember though that not all fish oil supplements are the same. Some┬áhave high levels of active ingredients and are thoroughly purified from the possibility of any toxic contamination, and are much better value for money. Others aren’t.

And of course your health will improve if you take Omega3 supplements, both because of the health benefits from the essential fatty acids themselves as well as the health benefits of losing weight.
So if you’re overweight, fish oil supplements may be the best thing you can do for your health and your weight.

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