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The Omega 3 Summit has recognized the health benefits of Omega 3 oils

We have talked at length about the health benefits of Omega 3 oils on this website. Unfortunately there are still many people who rate Omega 3 oil supplements along with many of the more esoteric nutritional supplements.

Many of the more esoteric nutritional supplements have very little scientific backing. But the same is not true for the health benefits of Omega 3 oils.

This has been backed up in the last few days, on 4 March 2011, with recommendations just released from the Omega 3 Summit

The Omega 3 Summit took place on the 3rd and 4th of March 2011 in Bruges, Belgium. It was a global summit intended to examine the health benefits of the Omega 3 fats and to “start the turnaround” in long chain Omega 3 consumption worldwide.

The summit was addressed by some eminent experts on the subject. Not only were the health benefits of Omega 3 oils considered but also the best sources of these oils, and the sustainability of those sources.

And the official press release issued at the end of the summit emphasises the importance this worldwide summit placed on the health benefits of the long chain (LC) fatty acids EPA and DHA.

A document was signed by attendees of the summit observing that “brain and heart disorders resulting from LC-Omega 3 (EPA + DHA) deficiency are the biggest challenges to the future of humanity”.
Benefits of Omega 3 oils

That’s a serious statement. It indicates the level of concern that these experts have in the decline, particularly in the western world, of our intake of the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA.

The summit also observed that “associated costs are currently bankrupting health care systems and threatening wider economic instability worldwide”.

That is also a very serious observation, and underlines the fact that many modern lifestyle diseases may well be prevented by an adequate intake of the Omega3 oils, and that the growing number of people suffering from these diseases threatens to overwhelm our health care systems.

And it is a recognition, by people expert in the field, that increasing our intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids will help prevent many of these conditions.

The issue of Omega 3 oil dosage was also considered, with the recommendation being a dietary intake of greater than 1000 milligrams of long chain Omega 3 oils for anyone consuming a Western type diet.

Another matter which attracted their attention was the poor conversion of ALA, one of the Omega3 fats, into DHA. ALA is the fatty acid commonly found in plant sources, and DHA is the fatty acid commonly found in fish. ALA is effectively a precursor to DHA and must be converted to DHA in the body, however this conversion is very poor, and for this reason many of the commonly recommended plant sources of the Omega 3 fats are not an adequate source of essential fatty acids.

That’s because plant sources of Omega3 contain ALA, not DHA. Flax seed is the most commonly recognized of these plant sources. Only fish oil capsules contain high levels of both DHA and EPA.

Whilst it is true that the health benefits of many of the less mainstream nutritional supplements are far from proven, and whilst these health benefits are rarely recognised by mainstream experts, there is now no doubt about the health benefits of the Omega3 essential fatty acids, as well as the fact that these are now formally recognized and mainstream.

Are you getting enough Omega 3 oils in your diet?

You should be, for your health’s sake.

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Are carrots good for eyes? Probably not. But taking more Omega 3 in your diet will definitely be good for your eyes

Are carrots good for your eyes? Is it a myth or is it true? Whilst some consider it a myth that carrots are good for the eyes, it is now being shown that getting more Omega3 essential fatty acids in your diet is certainly good for the eyes.

We have already discussed the importance of increasing your daily intake of the Omega3 essential fatty acids DHA,(docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) to help prevent macular degeneration, the leading source of blindness in our older people. A new study by Dr. Mike Sapieha, a neurobiochemist and Harvard researcher of the Maisonneuve Rosemont Hospital Research Centre of the University of Montréal has demonstrated that the Omega3 essential fatty acids may well help reduce your risk of loss of vision and blindness more generally.

And of course your eyesight is one of the most important of all your senses. And the loss of your eyesight can be catastrophic, so protecting it is very important.

(To read the study click here, note that the original version will be in French. Google translate should help if you wish to read it in English.)

Whilst it may be a myth that carrots are good for the eyes it seems clear from a number of studies that you ought to be taking Omega3 essential fatty acids in your diet for the sake of your eyes, along with many other health conditions which seem to be becoming more prevalent in our society.Are carrots good for the eyes

One of the causes of loss of vision and blindness is the growth of wild blood vessels in the eye that can damage the retina. This can affect the vision of people from babies right through to the elderly and including those who are suffering from diabetes, and is considered by some to be the major cause of blindness and loss of vision.

In the study mice were fed an Omega3 rich diet, and the result was a reduction in the growth of wild blood vessels of around 50 percent. Further studies are now being undertaken with people with the use of Omega3 supplements.

Whether carrots are good for eyes is debatable, but it is becoming clear that for a wide range of reasons everyone should be supplementing their diet with more of the Omega3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, including to help protect the health of your eyes.

How to do this is another question. Everyone can eat more fish of course, however fish is getting much more expensive, and much fish is contaminated with industrial toxins and our government tells us not to eat too much because of this. Or you can take fish oil supplements each day, which the authors of this website do. But you still need to be careful when choosing your supplements.

So remember, there are few benefits from eating carrots for your eyes. Carrots don’t do very much, but increasing your intake of the essential fatty acids every day will, and it will also improve a wide range of other areas of your health as well. To find out more about the other health conditions which may be positively impacted by taking fish oil supplements browse our categories on the right.


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Which should you be taking, cod liver oil or fish oil?

Cod liver oil vs fish oil. It is an interesting debate. Should you be taking cod liver oil supplements or is it better taking fish oil?

Cod liver oil has been popular for a long time, and has certain health benefits. Like everything old habits die hard, and if grandma thought that taking cod liver oil was good for you then it must be. And we’re not saying that it isn’t, necessarily. It’s just that now that fish oil supplements have become so popular some people are questioning whether they should be taking fish oil supplements or cod liver oil. Hence the great fish oil vs cod liver oil debate.

The first question to ask yourself is why you are taking either. Presumably it’s for health reasons, not just for the taste. And in almost all cases because the essential fatty acids known as the Omega 3 fatty acids, and in particular DHA and EPA, have been found in numerous scientific studies to be good for you in a number of different health areas, even to the extent that the American Heart Association now recommends that we include the Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet.Cod liver oil vs fish oil

So if you’re looking for the health benefits of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids the next question to ask is how much of the Omega 3 fats you’re getting in each of the 2 options, namely cod liver oil and fish oil. Sadly the bad news for those looking to take grandma’s advice is that there is much more Omega 3 essential fatty acids in the best fish oil supplements then there is in cod liver oil supplements.

So unless you found an extremely cheap source of high-quality cod liver oil supplements chances are you’re paying too much for what you want to get, namely Omega 3 fatty acids.

There are some potential problems with cod liver oil in other areas as well. The first of these is contamination. There is now much evidence that many of the fish in our oceans are contaminated with a range of toxic chemicals including Mercury. For that reason our preferred fish oil capsules are produced from fish which are caught way down in the southern ocean where contamination is limited, and they are also decontaminated thoroughly.

However the cod which provide the oil are generally found in the North Sea, which is contaminated to a higher degree than the southern ocean. And, as the name suggests, cod liver oil comes from the liver of the fish, and it’s the liver which can accumulate many of the toxins.

And finally there are some other issues to consider when taking cod liver oil. It is high in both vitamin A and vitamin D, and access intake of vitamin A is not good.

In the US example pregnant women are advised not to take too much vitamin A. Excess vitamin A can cause liver problems, whilst possibly more serious repercussions can include birth defects and central nervous system disorders.

Cod liver oil also has vitamin D, which is an important vitamin which is produced in your body from the sun. For some people living in climates which are very low in sunlight this might be an advantage, but for many it’s not. Excess vitamin D can potentially lead to vomiting and nausea.

If you feel you might be deficient in vitamin D it’s better to be tested and take specific vitamin D supplements where the quantity of vitamin D supplied is regulated. But of course you need to talk to a medical specialist about that first.

Notwithstanding all of the above there is clearly some health benefits from taking cod liver oil. Grandma was right. It’s just that fish oil is now a better alternative, and for this reason fish oil comes out in front in the great cod liver oil vs fish oil debate.

So if you’ve been wondering about fish oil vs cod liver oil, stick to fish oil. There’s good reasons to do so.

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Is there much Omega 3 in Salmon that almost all of us eat?

Is there much Omega 3 in salmon? It would seem a silly question really. Everyone knows that salmon is one of the best sources of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. And so if we are looking to increase our intake of Omega 3 fats then eating salmon is a good way to do it.

Or is it? There is no doubt that wild salmon are packed full of all those good Omega 3 fatty acids. Problem is most of us aren’t eating wild salmon, we’re eating farmed salmon.

The rise in the farmed salmon industry has been nothing short of amazing. In the 1980’s we were eating wild Alaskan salmon. Now most of us, when we buy salmon, are eating farmed salmon. Farmed salmon are cheaper to produce than wild salmon are to catch. So they are very price competitive.

So is there much Omega 3 in salmon that come from the fish farm? Well no, not nearly as much. In fact there are estimates that farmed salmon has around a third of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids that wild salmon does.

Not only that but there is also more Omega 6 fats in farmed salmon. That is a bad thing, not a good thing, as we are now eating too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3.Omega 3 in salmon

And there are serious issues with chemical contamination of farmed salmon. Studies show that farmed salmon have much higher levels of such nasty chemical contaminants as PCBs, pesticides and more.

Salmon from the farm are fed antibiotics as well as dye to give their flesh that nice appealing red color.

There is no doubt that eating the right fish is a good way to increase your intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and if you are eating wild caught salmon then you are eating the right fish. If you’re eating farmed salmon you’re not.

So when you buy your next fillet of fish at the supermarket make a point of asking them if the salmon you are buying is farmed or wild. Chances are it’s farmed, and as we said there is not a lot of Omega 3 in salmon from the fish farm.

In fact the best, most cost effective way to get your Omega3 daily is to take simple fish oil supplements. This is cheaper than trying to buy wild salmon each week, is much simpler, particularly if you’re not a big fan of fish, and the highest quality fish oil supplements aren’t contaminated.

Note that not all fish oil supplements are high quality (some are) and there are some issues of toxic contamination with some of them.

So don’t assume there is any, or much, Omega 3 in the salmon you have on your plate. There may be, if it’s wild salmon, but chances are there’s not.

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