About Omega 3 Fish Oils Archives

Prevention helps, and Omega 3 DHA can help in prevention of various health conditions

There is little doubt that modern demographics are changing. In the more developed world we are seeing an ageing population as the baby boomer generation moves through the 60s and 70s, and predictions are, in Australia at least, (according to the Australian Government’s Intergenerational Report, 2010) that by the year 2050 the over 65 is will make up aging-omega-3greater than 20 percent of the total population.

As a result much one of the biggest issues facing our society is health care for older people. As the population ages the pressure on the health care system increases dramatically, posing various pressures on financial resources allocated to it by the government.

In Australia the government is trying hard to overcome these challenges. For example there are now significant steps undertaken by the government to help reduce pressure on the public health system, for example by encouraging the uptake of private health insurance. This is achieved by offering a substantial government rebate to individuals who take up private health insurance, thereby offering a significant incentive to do so as well as reducing the cost to the taxpayer.

Because of course anyone taking out private health insurance will reduce the burden on the government purse of supplying free healthcare through the health care system.

Not only is the government attempting to make citizens more responsible for their own health care, they are also attempting to make citizens more responsible for their own retirement with various requirements all directed at increasing the retirement funds available to individuals through their own savings.

What has all this to do with Omega 3 I hear you ask? Simply this.

As they say an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Prevention of health problems is cheap, the cure of health problems is expensive, and the costs are often ongoing for chronic diseases.

One of the better ways of helping prevent various chronic health conditions which manifest themselves in older people is to ensure an adequate intake of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and in particular DHA. There is substantial evidence that for everyone, but particularly for older people, increasing the intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids in our diet is well worth the small cost.

As we’ve said elsewhere on this website there’s a range of debilitating diseases which afflict primarily older people. Macular degeneration, for example, is a condition of the eye affecting older people and which is the leading cause of blindness in older people.

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is also a disease that is much more common (though not exclusive) to older people, as is arthritis, vascular disease, heart disease and much more.

There is substantial evidence that those of us who have diets very low in the Omega 3 essential fatty acids may well benefit from increasing our intake of the Omega 3 fats, particularly DHA, and that this increase may well have positive benefits at helping ameliorate the risks of these types of diseases.

Of course simply increasing your intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids does not remove the risks of developing these diseases, however there is considerable evidence that increasing the Omega 3 intake may well have some preventative effect.

Over and over studies are showing that as our diet changes, and as seafood is gradually removed from a diet, (seafood being the major source of the omega 3 fats in the past) there is a growing risk of many of these diseases.

There is no doubt that governments are struggling to deal with the implications of an ageing population, and one of the most serious implications is to budgets worldwide as health-care costs soar as the baby boomer demographic bulge moves through into and past retirement age.

This produces substantial challenges, and increasing public awareness of the health benefits of the Omega 3 fats is only one small way of dealing with this. But it is certainly one of the important aspects of the mix.

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A new study suggests that Omega 3 deficiency and suicide amongst soldiers might be related

Over the last few weeks we have talked about the link between Omega 3 fats and various mental disorders, including just recently discussing the results of a new study showing a link between ADHD, Omega 3 fatty acids and improvements in learning outcomes.

Just landed on our desk is a report of a new study which also talks about a related matter, the possible role of low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids in suicide.
Omega 3 and suicide
This study has been reported on the website psychiatrist.com, and notes an escalation in the number of deaths by suicide amongst the US military over recent times.

Could Omega 3 deficiency and suicide be related somehow?

The study sought to determine whether deficiencies in the Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, were associated with an increased risk of suicide amongst members of the US military.

Participants in the study were active US military personnel.

The results of study were that the risk of death by suicide amongst US military personnel was 62 percent greater amongst those with a low serum DHA status.

In fact the evidence suggested that low levels of DHA were a stronger predictor of the likelihood of suicide than factors which are expected to be more powerful, and in particular whether or not the particular individual was exposed to the death of another soldier.

Of course this does not prove that a low level of DHA contributes to the risk of suicide, or causes suicide. Clearly there are other factors at work and amongst US military personnel, particularly amongst active personnel, and these must also be taken into account. But it would suggest that DHA deficiency may well rank up there with those other factors as potential contributing factors, and may be one of the biggest.

Suicide is a problem for the military

Levels of suicide in the US military personnel are much higher than levels of suicide amongst the general population. In fact the defence Department recognizes the problem of suicide among soldiers and is actively encouraging US service personnel to seek help where they feel and they need ti, as well as attempting to identify any soldier who may be particularly at risk.

There may also be an issue for the military as far as their food preparation goes. It was generally found that service personnel have low levels of DHA, and perhaps the military could consider improving the diet of soldiers by offering some Omega 3 fortified foods, although preferably by offering soldiers Omega 3 capsules, as Omega 3 fortified foods may not be all that effective.

However there is also no doubt that further study should be undertaken to ascertain what role low levels of Omega 3 fats, and DHA in particular, may play in increasing the risk of suicide.

It’s a fascinating question, and as more evidence comes to light we shall bring it to you.

Source of the study

 

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New research is showing a link between ADHD, Omega 3 fatty acids and improvements in learning outcomes

Over the last few years there has been a number of studies about the link between Omega 3 and ADHD, as well as other learning and cognitive disorders and other mental disorders such as depression and postpartum depression.

Omega 3 fatty acids are good fats found primarily in fish oil, and most of us don’t get enough of the Omega 3 fats in our diet. This includes children.

There’s a new ADHD Omega 3 study out

A new study has now supported the conclusion that an adequate supply of Omega 3 essential fatty acids can help ameliorate the effects of ADHD.

One of the most well-known studies linking increased intake of Omega 3, and in particular DHA, is what is generally called the “Durham study”.

This was a trial undertaken in Durham in the UK where a group of students that were generally considered to be slower at learning were given Omega 3 supplements, and the conclusion was drawn that the children receiving the omega 3 supplements did better at school than those who did not.ADHD, Omega 3 and learning

Along with this study there have been others, not just in relation to ADHD, and find out more about the study you can read our article about ADHD, fish oil and learning.

The conclusions of the study, namely that more Omega 3 fatty acids, found primarily in fish oil, can help children with ADHD, have now been supported by a new Australian study published this month. 

The study concluded that low, or sub optimal levels of the Omega 3 fats may contribute to ADHD, as well as to other developmental problems.

75 children between the ages of 7 and 12, all with ADHD, were studied, and in particular blood levels were taken to ascertain their Omega 3 levels, and cognitive assessments were provided for the children to do. Other conclusions were that higher Omega 3 levels predicted lower levels of anxiety or shyness and that higher levels of DHA predicted “better word reading”, and that higher levels of Omega 6 contributed to poorer reading, vocabulary and spelling as well as attention.

It seems that there is strong emerging evidence of the link between Omega 3 and ADHD, and that children with ADHD will do better with optimal levels of omega 3 intake compared to children with ADHD with sub optimal levels of Omega 3 intake.

Source – the Australian study:

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There’s Omega 3 in nuts, but should you be eating them?

As more and more people recognize the importance of Omega 3 fatty acids to health, more people are also looking for Omega 3 foods, in other words foods high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

And today we wanted to look at Omega 3 in nuts. Because nuts are a rich source of Omega 3 fats, and are also yummy, and should be good for you for other reasons as well. But there’s still some questions about the health benefits of eating nuts.

Nuts are high in fat.

Although there is Omega 3 in nuts they have a bad reputation, not necessarily well earned, for several reasons. Many people associate eating nuts with consuming high levels of fat, and assume that just because nuts are high in fat they are no good for you.

However avoiding nuts because of their high fat content reveals a basic misunderstanding of the role of fats in health.

It’s important to understand that there are different types of fats, and that not all are bad for you. In fact some are extremely good for you.Omega 3 in nuts

Saturated fat, which is the type of fat found primarily in animal products, is not good for you, and for this reason you should limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat. However Omega 3 fats, or what are often called the essential fatty acids, are fats which are extremely good for you.

However not all “Omega” fats are Omega 3. It is also possible to get Omega 6 fats, (and others), which, whilst important for your health, should not be consumed in excess.

The most common source of Omega 6 fats in our diet is vegetable oils, commonly used in processed foods. These are very high in Omega 6.

Researchers are beginning to understand that many of us now eat way too much Omega 6 fats, and not enough Omega 3. In the past we tended to eat roughly as much of the Omega 6 fats as the Omega 3’s, now there is a tendency to eat way more 6 than 3, and this is not good for us. There’s even a ratio for it, called the Omega 3 Omega 6 ratio. (Scientists love ratios.)

Nuts are high in Omega 3, however also contain 6 as well. For this reason many people who have begun to learn about the ratio assume that nuts are not good for you.

Confused about Nuts and Omega 3 yet?

It all becomes pretty confusing doesn’t it? Nuts and Omega 3 go together, but so, it seems, do nuts and Omega 6. To confuse the matter further nuts also have some saturated fat.

So should you eat nuts? Are they good for you?

Evidence says nuts are healthy, but……

There is scientific evidence that eating nuts can help protect you against heart disease. This may be because of those good essential fatty acids. Walnuts have also been shown to lower cholesterol.

And there is some evidence that Oleic acid, commonly found in olive oil, may help protect against heart disease. Almonds, for example, contain Oleic acid.

And there is emerging evidence that nuts may help with type II diabetes.

There’s even evidence that walnuts can help prevent breast cancer.

And yet nuts are also very high in calories, and so perhaps should be avoided for this reason, particularly if you’re watching your weight. Then again they are also high in fibre, which can help you lose weight.

And so it’s even more confusing.

And to make it even more so, there is the added argument about ALA, DHA and EPA. The Omega 3 fat in nuts is ALA, and it is generally accepted that this type of fatty acid is not nearly as important to your health as DHA and EPA, commonly found in fish. Find out more about this particular issue read our article about ALA Omega 3.

So there are no crystal clear answers about eating nuts. It all depends. However there are solid reasons why adding some nuts to your diet can be healthy, with some qualifications.

If you’re trying to lose weight eat nuts sparingly. There’s no doubt they’re high in calories.

And if you’re not trying to lose weight then eat nuts in moderation as well.

Whilst there’s Omega 3 in nuts, there’s better ways

But if you’re eating nuts for Omega 3, there’s better ways. The best Omega 3 rich food is fish, which gives you a supply of DHA and EPA, the 2 most important Omega 3 fats. 2 fish meals a week should ensure a basic level of Omega 3 intake, though we usually suggest that a daily fish oil supplement is by far the simplest and most cost-effective way to an adequate intake of Omega 3 fats.

By all means eat nuts, they’re yummy and nutritious, but in moderation. But they’re not the best Omega 3 food. The best Omega 3 food is fish.

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