Sales of Omega 3 supplements are growing faster than any other nutritional dietary supplement in history.

Lets examine exactly what Omega 3 supplements are and what they do.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is one of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids known as essential fatty acids. It is, however, not the only essential fatty acid. Others include EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), and more. These are known as Omega 3 fatty acids.

They are known as essential fatty acids because scientists and health professionals who research our health consider them to be essential for the maintenance of good health, and to help prevent, or ameliorate a range of common health problems.

We have been brought up to believe that fats are bad for us. And in some cases this is true. For example saturated fat, most commonly found in animal products, is not good for our health. However it’s not true that all fat is bad for us and the Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA, are considered essential to good health. They are polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Unlike some nutrients our bodies are unable to create DHA, or the other essential fatty acids, itself. Rather we must rely on dietary intake for our supply of these Omega-3 fatty acids.

Whilst in the past there was a range of sources of DHA in our diet these sources have reduced over the past hundred years. Fish oil from oily fish was the single biggest source of DHA in our diets, however during the last century the amount of fish in the average American diet has reduced dramatically.Omega 3 Supplements

However there are other sources of DHA as well. For example meat has been a good source of DHA and EPA in the past, however is now not so. This is because most of our meat is now sourced from grain fed animals, and grain fed beef is low in these Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Grass fed beef is much higher in Omega3 fats however grass fed beef is now relatively rare in our diets.

Over the last 30 years research has established clearly that adequate supplies of  DHA and EPA, the 2 most important of the omega 3 essential fatty acids, is essential to a wide range of health issues. Research has shown that the average American diet is inadequate in Omega 3 intake and increasing our intake can offer a wide range of health benefits including a reduction in heart disease, including fatal heart attacks, a reduction in the risk of stroke, a wide range of brain benefits including improved memory and brain function and a wide range of other improvements in our health.

However to make the statement that Omega 3 supplements are possibly one of the most important health measures of our generation might be drawing a long bow. Or is it?

A study published in April 2009 performed by a group of Harvard University researchers the study examined your likelihood of dying from one or other of a series of various lifestyle factors.

Various mathematical formulas we used to estimate how many deaths occurred in one year (2005) as a result of each of these various lifestyle factors.
Lifestyle factors examined included smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, heart disease, alcohol consumption, stroke, diabetes and more.

It was estimated that approximately 467,000 deaths were caused by tobacco smoking. High blood pressure accounted for approximately 395,000 deaths. Overweight, lack of exercise and high blood glucose accounted for roughly 200,000 deaths.

But one of the interesting results of the study related to Omega 3 deficiency. There are probably not many health professionals who would list Omega 3 deficiency as one of your major risk factors, as one of the most likely causes of death.

Yet at number 12 on the list,  just behind a low intake of fruit and vegetables, came low dietary intake of the Omega 3 fatty acids. In other words a deficient intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids is a risk factor for dying, and one of the biggest risk factors.

Lifestyle diseases are often extremely difficult to address. Just ask any smoker how hard it is to give up smoking. Ask any drinker how hard it is to give up alcohol.

However addressing a deficiency of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids is not difficult at all, and simply involves eating more of the right type of fish or taking Omega 3 supplements. It’s simple, relatively inexpensive, and might save your life.

And when considered this way we don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that Omega 3 supplements may well be one of the most important health measures of our generation.

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