OMEGA-3, FISH OIL (EPA & DHA), FLAX OIL (ALA) & KRILL OIL

Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH

Do you complain about dry, itchy and rough skin, lifeless and dry hair, dry eyes, brittle nails, problems with falling asleep at night and waking in the morning, tiredness, attention problems, low mood & anxiety, joint pain, frequent urination, excess earwax build-up, premenstrual problems? If you do experience two or more of these symptoms, you probably suffer from common today deficiency of very important fatty acids called Omega-3.

Omega-3 is a specific type of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which means it contains more than one double bond in its chemical structure. The “3” refers to where the first double bond occurs.

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital nutrients for our health because human body doesn’t produce them on its own. It means we have to consume foods containing them in order to maintain our health.

When it comes to omega-3 benefits, it has been known to be good for brain health, obesity, inflammatory conditions (including arthritis), heart, mood, skin, eyes, fertility and during pregnancy. Omega 3 is one of the main components of cell membranes. It is a critical factor in maintaining a healthy heart, circulation, brain function and joint mobility.

TYPES OF OMEGA-3

There are the four most common types of omega-3 fatty acids found in food: ALA (alpha linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ETA (eicosatetraenoic acid).

– Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA) is found especially in flaxseed, flax oil, chia seed, walnuts, seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables, etc. Since ALA is known as a short-chain omega-3, our body has to convert it into long-chain EPA and DHA. Unfortunately, majority of experts suggest this process is rather inefficient, and only small amount of the ALA we consume is converted to the long-chain EPA & DHA our body needs. Therefore, if we rely on ALA as the only source of Omega-3, we may be deficient in EPA and DHA. However, some sources maintain that our body is efficient in converting ALA to EPA & DHA and that we don’t need to consume fish in order to avoid their deficiency.

Since, we are not sure whether consuming only ALA will produce enough EPA & DHA, it is safer to take both ALA (2 tablespoons a day of fresh ground flax seed & soaked chia seed) and EPA & DHA in the form of good quality distilled fish oil (about 1000mg per day), or if you are vegan or vegetarian you can get some EPA & DHA from 2 tablespoons per day of of chlorella and spirulina and higher standardised amount from algae oil supplements. They usually contain lower dose of EPA & DHA than most fish oils and are more expensive, but if you combine algae oil supplement with chlorella, spirulina, ground flaxseed and soaked chia seed you will have enough of EPA & DHA. In addition, some algae oil brands include only DHA, but one with both DHA and EPA will a better choice as it will produce more health benefits.

– Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA): EPA is a 20-carbon fatty acid found in algae, oily fish, algae oil or krill oil. Microalgae contain large quantities of high-quality EPA. EPA is more important than DHA in reducing inflammations in the body (including arthritis and brain inflammation). If we are deficient in DHA the body can convert some EPA into DHA.

– Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): This 22-carbon molecule is also found in algae, oily fish, krill oil and algae oil. DHA is less effective than EPA in fighting inflammation but it is much more beneficial in improving brain health, cognition and various neurological problems, including Alzheimer’s. Our body converts some DHA molecules back to EPA in order to keep them at fairly equal levels if you consume more DHA.

– Eicosatetraenoic Acid (ETA): ETA is a less-known omega-3 as it has only recently been recognized for its potent health benefits. Like EPA, it also contains 20 carbons, but four bonds instead of five. ETA is found in roe oil and green-lipped mussel. Apart from being anti-inflammatory, ETA can also reduce the production of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids such as especially the arachidonic acid.

It should be mentioned that EPA & DHA are also found in some plant sources such as algae including chlorella and spirulina. Also ETA should be found in microalgae but there is not enough data available on the dietary sources of ETA to confirm this claim.

OMEGA-3 & OMEGA-6 RATIO

The ideal omega-3 to the omega-6 ratio in the body is 1:1, which is associated with reduced inflammation, a lower lipid count, healthier blood vessels, and reduced risk of diabetes and some forms of cancer [>].

Most people today, instead of getting Omega 3, Omega 9 and healthy types of Omega 6 fatty acids overload their bodies with bad pro-inflammatory types of Omega 6 (mostly linoleic acid) found in popular commercial refined oils and popular fatty foods, such as chips, doughnuts, and also in meat, poultry and eggs.

Our body needs some omega-6 type of fatty acid, to function properly and prevent disease, but the problem is people consume way too much of it compared with omega-3 fats. The healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be 1:1 in order to keep inflammation in the body at bay. Unfortunately, the ratio of most modern diets about 20 or even 30:1!

FOOD SOURCES OF OMEGA 3

Rich sources of Omega-3 are: chlorella and spirulina (both contain EPA/DHA and ALA), fresh cold-pressed flax oil, fresh ground flaxseed, soaked for 30 minutes or longer chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds, fish such as salmon, cod, etc., spinach, black seed oil and cold pressed canola oil.

In order to make sure your intake of Omega-3 is sufficient, every day consume Chlorella and Spirulina because they contain both the animal (DHA/EPA) and plant based (ALA) omega 3 fatty acids. Unlike fish oils, they are not contaminated with heavy metals (If you use omega 3 fish oil make sure it comes from molecularly distilled oil). In addition, take also one or two tablespoons of soaked (for at least 30 min. in water, plant milk or juice) Chia seeds and fresh ground Flaxseed with your meal. Both are the highest plant sources of ALA omega 3 fatty acids which in our body should be converted into DHA and EPA (if our body makes the required for the conversion enzyme).

PLANT OMEGA 3 (ALA)

– Flaxseed oil is regarded as the richest plant source of Omega-3 fatty acid (Alpha Linoleic Acid) that is converted into EPA and DHA in the body. In addition, it also contains Omega 9 (Oleic Acid) and beneficial Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid) which in our body is converted to Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). Like Omega 3, both these fatty acids are known to help maintain healthy immune and nervous system function, among other benefits.

– Chia seeds is often regarded as the best known source of extremely important omega-3 fatty acid. Some sources suggest that it can be higher in omega 3 than even flaxseed >. Two tablespoons of chia seeds have over 5000 mg Omega-3 whereas two tablespoons of flax seeds have 2700 mg Omega-3. Some sources, however, suggest flax seed is higher in omega-3. Chia seeds are also higher in fibre and much higher in antioxidants than flax seeds. In fact, chia seeds are believed to have more antioxidants than fresh blueberries! Read more about Chia seeds >

On average, 1-ounce (28-gram), or around 3 tablespoons of Flaxseed contain 6,0006,400 mg of Omega-3, 8 grams of fibre, and 1,700 mg of Omega-6 fatty acids. The same amount of Chia seeds contains about 5,000 mg Omega-3, 11 grams of fibre and 1,600 mg of Omega-6. Both sources contain much more ALA than any other food.

HOW TO CONSUME FLAXSEED & CHIA SEEDS

Avoid consuming whole flax seed as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Because of the hard shell of the seed (which prevents omega-3 oxidation) your digestive tract cannot digest it and access the healthy omega-3 fats unless the seed is ground before eating. However, since as soon as the seed is ground the oxidation process starts, you really should consume it immediately after grounding the flaxseed.

As far as chia seeds are concerned, they need to be soaked for at least 30 minutes or over night, in a clean filtered (0r even better, distilled) water or any other healthy liquid (a juice, plant-based milk, etc.).

Both seeds can be also included as one of the ingredients of smoothies and blended thoroughly.

Like it is in case of all nuts and seeds, soaking both chia seeds and flax seeds in a distilled or filtered clean water or another healthy liquid, before eating them will stimulate them to release their own digestive enzymes. It means that soaking will trigger an initial sprouting process, making them easier to digest and will increase the amount of nutrients our body will be able to absorb from them. To soak the seeds, let them stay in water, juice or plant milk for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. Unlike chia seeds, soaked flaxseed require blending before consuming.

OMEGA-3 SMOOTHIE RECIPE

The following smoothie recipe is in my opinion the best way to consume flaxseed and chia seeds and it should provide sufficient amount of Omega-3 in the form of ALA and even some EPA and DHA (from chlorella & spirulina). In addition, this mixture will boost your energy, detoxify and regenerate your body and give many other health benefits:

Ingredients: 1 large carrot, 1 large beetroot, 2 tablespoons flaxseed, half glass of soaked 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of organic chlorella, 1 tablespoon of organic spirulina, 1 glass of plant milk (coconut, almond, etc.), coconut water, or another healthy liquid. The most important in this recipe are 3 ingredients: flaxseed, chia seeds and chlorella, plus a healthy liquid. Other ingredients are optional and and can be changed.

Blend all ingredients and add more liquid if the smoothie is too thick. Keep in mind that like flaxseed, chia seeds are very effective in absorbing water, so if you don’t want to soak chia seeds before blending you need to use more liquid.

Divide the mixture into 2 portions and have one about 15 minutes before breakfast. Store the other half in the fridge and have it before lunch.

CONVERSION OF ALA TO EPA & DHA CONTROVERSY

Unfortunately, there is a lot of controversy concerning whether plant sources of omega-3 are really beneficial. On one hand, some studies don’t seem to justify the idea that fish oil is better than plant-based sources of omega-3 as they demonstrate that humans (including children) are able to convert adequate quantities of ALA from plant foods into EPA and DHA in our bodies without any need to consume fish. Concluding the in-depth scientific literature review Professor John Langdon suggested that there is no evidence that our diets must include fish oils in order to provide adequate levels of DHA. It means that the unrefined plant products such as especially green leafy vegetables, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, or chlorella and spirulina provide us with enough ALA so that we could convert it to DHA and cover our daily needs of this essential fatty acid. In his 2006 review article, Professor John H. Langdon even suggests that DHA is not an essential nutrient for the brain development of infants because pregnant women are able to efficiently convert ALA to DHA and fetuses and infants receive DHA which is released from the mother’s fat tissue and provided with breast milk.

On the other hand, some scientists, such as Nordstrom, suggested that studies according to which humans are able to convert adequate quantities of ALA from plant foods into EPA and DHA in our bodies have used doses of flax seed which were unrealistically high. In addition, according to numerous studies which attempted to assess the conversion rate of ALA (from oral flax seed supplements) to the biologically active fatty acids DHA and EPA the ALA conversion to EPA was on average less than 4%, and the conversion to DHA was a only 1%!

In addition, several studies also suggest that some humans do not have special enzyme which is required for conversion of plant-based omega-3 to EPA and DHA. For example, according to Dr. Ski Chilton, „The Omega 3 fatty acids found in flaxseed oil and fish oil are not the same and they impact our bodies differently when we consume them. The Omega 3 in flax is called Alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, and it is a very good thing to be eating—much better than pro-inflammatory long-chain omega-6. However, most humans cannot efficiently convert ALA, a short-chain omega 3 found in plants to the potent longer-chain omega 3 bioactive, EPA and DHA, found in fish oil. The reason is simple. Humans are limited in a specific enzyme called delta-6 desaturase.” Due to the possible inefficient conversion of ALA (from plant sources) into EPA and DHA we are encouraged today to use a direct source of EPA and DHA in the form of good quality omega-3 fish oil supplements.

But even if the above conclusion is true there is a good reason to believe that if our plant based diet includes green leafy vegetables, some seeds and nuts (especially flax seed, chia seeds, hemp, pumpkin, and walnuts) and 8 to 14 (500 mg) tablets (4 – 7 grams) of spirulina and especially chlorella a day then we should cover our daily requirements for the omega-3 fatty acids.

ALGAE AS A PLANT SOURCE OF EPA & DHA

Fortunately, there seems to be a better solution than taking fish oil supplements. It is found in the fact that although land plant products such as seeds and nuts or green leafy vegetables contain only ALA but do not have EPA and DHA yet some marine plants such as seaweeds or algae may contain both of these more efficient forms of omega-3 fatty acids.

According to Dr. Julian E. Bailes from West Virginia University School of Medicine, “EPA and DHA may be obtained from a pure and sustainable source – algae, which is produced in a controlled environment, and is free of contaminants.”

If you google “vegan omega-3 EPA DHA” you will easily find such algae-based omega 3 fatty acids (such as Opti-3) offered online. They usually provide at least 200mg EPA and 400mg DHA per daily dose of 2 gelatin-free vegetarian capsules. Opti3 is a 100% vegetarian and vegan suitable and provides high dose of 300mg EPA and 500mg DHA per daily dose.

The only plant source of DHA is algae. Unfortunately, although some sources suggest spirulina and especially chlorella contain reliable quantities of DHA and EPA omega-3 yet none of them showed any scientific referencing. Therefore, since there is no available proof chlorella and spirulina contain DHA and EPA it’s better to use good, reliable and standardized algae-based supplements of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in order to achieve optimum speed of mental processing and CNS responsiveness, treat overweight, depression, insomnia, improve eyesight and heart health.

FISH & FISH OIL AS SOURCES OF OMEGA 3 (EPA & DHA)

Although fish is high in omega-3 it shouldn’t be included in any weight-loss diet because it contains a lot of fat, cholesterol and triglycerides. It is estimated that 60% of the calories consumed with fish come from fat which is of course incorporated into our body fat and contributes to obesity. But there are other even more important reasons why I wouldn’t include fish in a healthy diet.

We have been encouraged to consume fish because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3, like omega-6, plays very important function in human organism and is called an essential fatty acid because our body can’t manufacture it, which means we have to provide it with food we eat. Fish oil has a variety of health benefits. It might be helpful in case of high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity, depression, acne, osteoporosis, arthritis, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and many other health-related problems.

It is important to know that neither humans nor fish can create their own omega-3 fatty acids. Only plants can do it. The omega-3 polyunsaturated fat found in plants is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) while omega-6, which is also a polyunsaturated fat, is called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Fish eat algae and seaweed with ALA and convert it into a long-chain omega-3 called EPA and DHA. Since, like fish, we also have to convert omega-3 from plant foods, we are told that fish is much better source of this essential fatty acid because eating fish we provide our body with already converted omega-3.

Fish, however, can’t be even regarded today as a safe food because it is very high in dangerous toxins such as mercury or dioxins (absorbed from polluted water); and second, because animal-sources of omega-3 (unlike plant sources) tend to produce a lot of deadly free oxygen radicals in human body. In addition, unlike plant foods, fish don’t have any fibre, still contain similar amount of cholesterol as meat, and are often cooked or fried with oil in a high temperature. For this reason fish may raise the blood cholesterol as quickly as pork or beef. In addition, since fish, like meat and dairy, also contain highly acidic proteins it depletes calcium from bones leading to osteoporosis and kidney stones. The best examples of this harmful effect of high-fish consumption are Eskimos who have the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world.

Since DHA is found in high concentrations in human nervous system, it is believed that omega-3 can prevent neurological diseases and improve our mental health. However, some studies demonstrated that people who consume plenty of fish have the similar risk of developing dementia as individuals whose diet does not include fish. On the other hand, those who are on a plant-based diet characterize themselves as being in a better mood twice as often as people who eat meat on a regular basis, and are half as likely to suffer from dementia.

Fish is recommended as a healthy food especially because some fish-consuming nations such as people living in Japan are slimmer or have lower rates of heart disease than meat-eating populations. However, when we carefully investigate the diet of Japanese people we can easily conclude that their better health status can be due to the fact that they eat more unrefined plant foods, sea weeds, or sea algae such as chlorella.

Fish and Omega-3

It might be true that fish is less harmful than meat but it doesn’t mean it should be recommended as a health-promoting food because fish still contain a lot of cholesterol, too much of animal protein, and high concentrations of toxins such as extremely dangerous mercury which imposes a very harmful effect on our kidneys, heart, as well as the nervous and the immune systems. Mercury in fish also increases the formation of free oxygen radicals causing cancer or damaging our blood vessels and leading to heart attacks and strokes. It is also important to stress the fact that the same species of fish which are regarded as the best sources of omega-3 (EPA and DHA) usually have the highest levels of mercury! Mercury or dioxins aren’t of course the only dangerous toxins present in fish. People who consume fish on a regular basis also poison their bodies with lead, DDE, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Some experts suggest that it takes about one whole year on a fish- and shellfish-free diet to remove mercury from human body and even over five years to rid our organism of PCBs.

In some countries fish may even increase the risk of spreading prion infections as the fish farming industries often feed fish with the leftovers from slaughterhouses which may involve the risk of transmitting prions from infected cows or other animals to fish and then to humans. In the book Foods That Fight Pain Dr. Neal Barnard wrote that „anyone who eats fish for health reasons should think again: The flesh of fish can accumulate toxins up to 9 million times as concentrated as those in the waters that they live in, and the flesh of some sea animals, like shrimps and scallops, contains more cholesterol than beef. Fish on farms are also fed antibiotics that are passed along to humans, impairing the immune system. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 325,000 people get sick and some die every year in the U.S. from eating contaminated fish and other sea animals.” The same author also describes fish as “a mixture of fat and protein, seasoned with toxic chemicals.” It is obvious, therefore, that it is much wiser to consume plant sources of omega-3 because they do not contain cholesterol, mercury, dioxins, or other dangerous and harmful chemicals and substances which are found in fish.

A careful review of numerous scientific studies and thousands of articles dealing with the influence of the fish oil on human health led scientists to the conclusion that omega-3 found in fish doesn’t have clear beneficial effect on cancer, cardiovascular health or total mortality. According to the findings of this review, which appeared in 2007 in the American Journal of Cardiology, “The data supporting the inverse correlation of fish or omega-3 fatty acid (EPA and DHA) consumption and coronary heart disease are inconclusive and may be confounded by other dietary and lifestyle factors”. Also according to the results of a Dutch study published by Elizabeth E. Devore in the 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants who were on a high-fish diet had the same risk of developing dementia as those who never ate fish. These findings were confirmed in the same year by the study conducted by a group of Canadian researchers.

In 2013 a study results were published suggesting a correlation between omega-3 and prostate cancer. However, its methods and conclusions have been unanimously and widely condemned and criticized by respected scientific authorities as unfounded and unscientific. For example, Anthony D’Amico, professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School said about the study that it “cannot make the conclusion that it’s trying to, because these types of studies are not cause and effect… They left out some very important risk factors for prostate cancer… The scientific strength of it is weak, at best.”

Honest analysis of scientific data leads to an obvious conclusion according to which it is not high-fish consumption nor even fish oil supplements but the unrefined plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, and unsalted and unroasted seeds and nuts that make difference and reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, and many other health-related problems. It is, therefore, much better idea to consume raw unprocessed plant-based foods rich in omega-3 such as green leafy vegetables, unroasted and unsalted walnuts and seeds (especially chia seeds and flax seeds), or acai fruits. In addition to that, unlike fish, these unrefined plant foods contain a lot of fibre which also increases the level of adiponectin thus farther improving our body’s ability to control appetite and metabolism.

NEEDS OF EPA & DHA

EPA and DHA have different functions in the human body and our requirements for these two fatty acids changes throughout life.

DHA is highly concentrated in the brain, retina, testicles, and semen. It is important for normal growth and development, brain (CNS) function and the retina of the eyes, therefore it is mostly required by pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as children. Children continue to need DHA up until the age they start school due to its benefits on brain development and growth.

After the age of five, the need for EPA naturally increases due to its importance for academic performance, focus and attention. Dry skin conditions, asthma and allergies are also common in children and good levels of EPA at this time can help reduce the inflammation associated with these issues.

Between the ages of five and 65, the body continues to require sufficient levels of EPA. Low EPA levels in adolescents and adults have been associated with mental health issues, including depression, dyslexia and dyspraxia, heart problems, joint and bone conditions, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as MS and Parkinson’s. EPA also protects our genes and cell cycle, as well as helping to keep our stress response regulated, so an adequate supply of EPA throughout adult life can help prevent a range of chronic illness. In later life, the risk of cognitive decline and brain deterioration may become a concern; therefore the need for both, EPA and DHA is highly required. EPA has been shown to lower the risk of developing and worsening cognitive decline and dementia (Lin et al., 2012).

COMMON EFFECTS FOR EPA &DHA

Not surprising, there are some areas in which both EPA and DHA appear to be equally beneficial. As an example, both are equally effective in reducing triglyceride levels. This is probably due to the relatively equivalent activation of the gene transcription factor (PPAR alpha) that causes the enhanced synthesis of the enzymes that oxidize fats in lipoprotein particles. There is also equal activation of the anti-inflammatory gene transcription factor PPAR-gamma. Both seem to be equally effective in making powerful anti-inflammatory eicosanoids known as resolvins. Finally, although both have no effect on total cholesterol levels, DHA can increase the size of LDL particle to a greater extent than can EPA.

EPA and DHA do different things, so you need them both, especially for the brain. If your goal is reducing cellular inflammation, then you probably need more EPA than DHA, probably twice the levels.

IMPORTANCE OF EPA

Fish don’t biosynthesize EPA, which is actually produced by plankton that the fish eat. EPA then becomes more concentrated in fish the higher up the food chain they are. Micro-algae are the primary plant source of EPA in humans, and they are also the most important commercial source of EPA. Humans can biosynthesize EPA from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), although this process is much less efficient than simply absorbing it from food.

EPA is a precursor for several substances that are important in human nutrition, especially the fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Additional substances that require EPA include leukotriene-5, thromboxane-3 and prostaglandin-3, which affect the aggregation of platelets in the blood.

EPA also has direct biochemical uses, many of which involve joint conditions. It may also be able to support against low moods.

An EPA deficiency can cause many specific symptoms due to the large number of functions it performs. The most common general signs that you may need an EPA supplement include chronic pain, joint discomfort and fatigue, especially when they don’t have an obvious cause.

A compromised immune system is also a sign that you may need to supplement your EPA intake. Specific signs of an EPA deficiency often include hair loss, dry skin, eczema, poor circulation and mood swings.

The ultimate goal of using omega-3 fatty acids is the reduction of cellular inflammation. Since eicosanoids, derived from arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid, are the primary mediators of cellular inflammation, EPA becomes the most important of the omega-3 fatty acids to reduce cellular inflammation for a number of reasons. First, EPA is an inhibitor of the enzyme delta-5-desaturase (D5D) that produces AA. The more EPA you have in the diet, the less AA is produced. This essentially chokes off the supply of AA necessary for the production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids (prostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotrienes, etc.). DHA is not an inhibitor of this enzyme because it can’t fit into the active catalytic site of the enzyme due to its larger spatial size. As an additional insurance policy, EPA also competes with AA for the enzyme phospholipase A2 necessary to release AA from the membrane phospholipids (where it is stored). Inhibition of this enzyme is the mechanism of action used by corticosteroids. If you have adequate levels of EPA to compete with AA (i.e. a low AA/EPA ratio), you can realize many of the benefits of corticosteroids but without their side effects. That’s because if you don’t release AA from the cell membrane then you can’t make inflammatory eicosanoids. Because of its increased spatial dimensions, DHA is not a good competitor of phospholipase A2 relative to EPA. On the other hand, EPA and AA are very similar spatially so they are in constant competition for the phospholipase A2 enzyme just as both fatty acids are in constant competition for the delta-5 desaturase enzyme. This is why measuring the AA/EPA ratio is such a powerful predictor of the state of cellular inflammation in your body.

The various enzymes (COX and LOX) that make inflammatory eicosanoids can accommodate both AA and EPA, but again due to the greater spatial size of DHA, these enzymes will have difficulty in converting DHA into eicosanoids. This makes DHA a poor substrate for these key inflammatory enzymes. Thus DHA again has little effect on cellular inflammation whereas EPA can have a powerful impact.

Finally, it is often assumed since there are not high levels of EPA in the brain, that it is not important for neurological function. Actually it is key for reducing neuro-inflammation by competing against AA for access to the same enzymes needed to produce inflammatory eicosanoids. However, once EPA enters into the brain it is rapidly oxidized. This is not the case with DHA. The only way to control cellular inflammation in the brain is to maintain high levels of EPA in the blood. This is why all the work on depression, ADHD, brain trauma, etc. have demonstrated EPA to be superior to DHA.

Depression is a mental condition that ranges from mild to severe states of sadness. EPA found in fish oil has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression in some people. This benefit is most noticeable in those who have the most severe symptoms. Individuals with depression have been shown to have low levels of EPA in circulation. It is thought that by increasing the supply of EPA in the blood stream that brain function would be assisted. The recommended dosage varies, but a minimum of 100 mg to 300 mg of EPA is recommended.

Psoriasis is often characterized by raised red patches on the skin, and is an autoimmune disease according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, or NPF. The NPF states that dietary supplementation with fish oil has shown some promise in reducing mild to moderate symptoms of the condition. Dr. Lawrence Gibson of the Mayo clinic suggests that the EPA found in fish oil acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body, which likely suppresses the body’s immune response, thus blunting the overactive T-Cells responsible for psoriasis.

Lupus, another autoimmune disease, results in the immune system attacking the body’s tissues and organs. Studies conducted on the effects of EPA on lupus, have shown promise in a reduction of fatigue and pain in lupus patients. The anti-inflammatory nature of EPA is likely to play a part by suppressing the body’s natural immune response, which reduces the strength of the attacks on the body.

The University of Maryland Medical Center also notes that the EPA in fish oil has been implicated in cholesterol reduction and a resulting improvement in heart disease. EPA acts to lower the triglyceride levels in the blood. This decrease in triglyceride levels means that there is potential for decrease in cholesterol formation–important because high cholesterol levels are related to plaque build-up in the body which can result in stroke and heart disease.

In one study, individuals taking fish oil equivalent to 1.8 grams of EPA had a significant reduction in symptoms of eczema after 12 weeks. Researchers believe that these effects may be due to fish oil’s ability to reduce leukotriene B4, an inflammatory substance that plays a role in eczema.

SUPPLEMENTS WITH OMEGA 3 FROM FISH OIL

However, if you still think it would be a good idea to increase your daily intake of omega-3 by adding fish oil supplements make sure you choose only the best quality products as fish oils are frequently rancid and often cause unpleasant burps. Try to test your omega-3 capsules from time to time braking or biting one of them and smelling and tasting the oil. If it smells and tastes like rotting fish, discard it. A team of scientists from the New Zealand’s Crop and Food Research Institute tested the quality of fish oil capsules from many different brands and found out that a majority of the fish oils they took from the capsules to test already started to oxidize. According to the representative of the institute – Dr. Carlene McLean, “Many fish oil samples from the UK and Asian markets that we have tested contain oxidation byproducts, despite being within the sell-by date… Many fish oil supplements have a best-before date of three to four years. But fish oil starts to go off within days.” The quick degradation of the high in omega-3 fish oils is caused by their high content of the very unstable and highly unsaturated fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. As soon as the extracted from fish oil is exposed to oxygen, light, heat, or metals, the oxidation process begins. By the way, that is also the reason why fish get rotten so quickly.

It is important to avoid rotten fish oil products because instead of being beneficial to your health they actually turn to be harmful increasing risk of heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately, the same researchers from New Zealand maintain that even if the fish oil tastes and smells good it may not prove it hasn’t got rancid yet because after an initial stage of oxidation the bad smell and taste disappear in spite of the fact that the oil still continues to oxidize! For this reason some “experts” suggest we should eat fish instead of taking fish oil supplements but it is very unwise solution when we take into consideration the horrendous amount of toxins found in fish and seafood today.

Before you buy any omega-3 supplement always check the ingredients. The label must specify the content of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) (the higher their content the better). Make sure it says that the oil underwent molecular distillation (purification from toxins). Fish oils are extracted especially from fat where the environmental toxins such as mercury, dioxins, led, or PCBs are accumulated. Look for omega-3 supplements which are free from harmful artificial preservatives and which contain vitamin E which slows down the oxidation process. It is much better if the included vitamin E is not in the form of alpha-tocopherol, which is not very potent antioxidant, but rather in the form of more expensive and much stronger antioxidant gamma-tocopherol.

VIDEO BY DR GREGER >

VIDEO >

BEST WAY TO PROVIDE OMEGA-3 INCLUDING EPA & DHA

Since, we are not sure whether consuming only ALA will produce enough EPA & DHA, it is safer to take both ALA (2 tablespoons a day of fresh ground flax seed & soaked chia seed) and EPA & DHA in the form of good quality distilled fish oil (about 1000mg per day), or if you are vegan or vegetarian you can get some EPA & DHA from 2 tablespoons per day of of chlorella and spirulina and higher standardised amount from algae oil supplements. They usually contain lower dose of EPA & DHA than most fish oils and are more expensive, but if you combine algae oil supplement with chlorella, spirulina, ground flaxseed and soaked chia seed you will have enough of EPA & DHA. In addition, some algae oil brands include only DHA, but one with both DHA and EPA will a better choice as it will produce more health benefits.

DOSAGE

The recommended daily dosage of fish oil supplements is 1,000mg – 1,200mg. The results are usually noticeable after approximately three to four weeks of taking supplements [>].

KRILL OIL

Avoid krill oil!

Krill (Euphausia superba) oil is derived from a small, reddish-pink, shrimp-like crustacean about two inches long, found in the Antarctic ocean. Krill feeds on microscopic phytoplankton (high in omega 3) and its oil is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. While fish oil is gold in appearance, an antioxidant astaxanthin gives krill oil a reddish hue.

Unfortunately, along with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, and astaxanthin, krill oil also contains arachidonic acid which is known to contribute to various health problems. According to Dr. Greger, “The pro-inflammatory metabolites of arachidonic acid from animal products are involved in more than just neuroinflammation. They also appear to play a role in cancer, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders. For example, last year, we discovered eating at a lot of arachidonic acid may quadruple our risk of developing the inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis. The anti-inflammatory effects of a low arachidonic acid diet may help explain why patients with rheumatoid arthritis improve on a vegetarian diet.” (>) Arachidonic acid also contributes to depression (>).

In the Bible Krill is described by the Creator himself as an unclean food (Leviticus 11:9) as clean (allowed for human consumption) marine creatures are required to have fins and scales) >. The following article seems to give another scientific evidence the Biblical warning is right:

KRILL OIL, AND WHY AVOID IT” by Dr. Lawrence Wilson: “It is too expensive, and krill unfortunately contains a toxic form of potassium. This is not a healthful substance at all. It is possible that it could be filtered out of the oil, but it is not filtered today. As a result, anyone who uses krill oil or eats krill, as is done in Japan, may accumulate a lot of this toxic form of potassium.” (>)

HEALTH BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3

EYE HEALTH & DRY EYES

In one European study, subjects with higher Omega 3 levels were half as likely to develop macular degeneration. Omega 3 may also help proper drainage of intraocular fluid from the eye, decreasing the risk of increased eye pressure. Dry eyes are associated with deficiency of Omega 3 and Omega 7. This problem occurs when eyes are unable to produce enough tears (complex mixture of water, mucus, and fatty oils). Possible causes may include dehydration, central heating, caffeine, excessive sugar in the blood, hormonal imbalance during menopause, some medications, and especially deficiency of omega 3, omega 7, vitamin D and A.

A 1:1 omega-3 to omega-6 ratio protects against retinal angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels in the eye [>].

DHA is a key component of this protection. With a regular intake of dietary fish oil, protection is nearly definite [>].

FOETAL DEVELOPMENT

The need for fatty acids during pregnancy is hugely important. EPA and DHA supplementation during pregnancy has been associated with multiple benefits for the infant (Judge et al., 2007; Dunstan et al., 2008; Olsen et al., 2007). It is important that the mother has adequate nutrition with sufficient amount of omega-3 because the amount of omega-3 fatty acid in the mother is going to correlate with the amount found in the foetus.  This is because during pregnancy, the placenta transfers nutrients, including EPA & DHA, from the mother to the foetus. Several studies confirmed the benefit of omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy in terms of proper development of the brain and retina. During the third trimester, vast amounts of DHA accumulate in foetal tissue including the retina and brain, which may correlate with normal eyesight and brain function (Swanson et al., 2012).

A study by Judge et al.(2007) found that children whose mothers had taken DHA supplementation during pregnancy demonstrated significantly better problem-solving skills at 9 months old than those whose mothers had not taken DHA supplementation during pregnancy. Another study that performed a cognitive assessment of children 2.5 years after maternal EPA+DHA supplementation and children in a placebo group, demonstrated that the children in the EPA + DHA supplemented group attained significantly higher scores for eye and hand coordination than those in the placebo group (Dunstan et al., 2008).

Data suggests that fish oil may contribute to reduced reproductive ageing and extended reproductive lifespan [>].

High doses of fish oil supplementation improve markers of the female reproductive lifespan in women of normal weight [>].

The fetus of a pregnant woman can benefit from EPA and DHA for development [>].

There is evidence that fish oil may reduce the risk of premature birth and birth complications [>].

Fish oil is associated with larger birth weights [>].

One study suggests that women who take DHA supplements during pregnancy give their babies some degree of added protection against getting common colds [>].

DHA is very likely important in the formation of the acrosome, an arc-like structure on the top of sperm, which is critical in fertilization because it houses a variety of enzymes that sperm use to penetrate an egg [>].

Higher visual acuity after DHA supplementation is a consistent finding in infants born preterm. For infants born at term, the results are less consistent and are better explained by differences in sensitivity of the visual acuity test (electrophysiologic tests being more sensitive than subjective tests) or by differences in the amount of DHA included in the experimental formula.

Omega-3 fats are able to pass from mother to fetus, which assists with nervous system development [>].

DHA plays a significant role in the neural development of a fetus. The fetus is dependent on the mother to provide DHA, either through supplementation or diet [>].

DHA is critical for development in the first three months of life [>].

Breast milk is a significant source of DHA. A higher concentration of DHA in breast milk is connected to a mother’s diet and supplementation [>].

DHA supplementation should also be added to the formula to promote cognitive development [>].

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

One of the most well-known benefits of omega-3s are the way they positively affect risk factors associated with heart disease. Chronic inflammation is thought to be the cause of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease (Swanson et al., 2012). EPA and DHA are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and significant role in oxidative stress, ability to improve cellular function through changes in gene expression and ability to influence the levels of cholesterol by reducing bad (LDL), and increasing good (HDL) cholesterol (Bouwens et al., 2009). Inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP), TNF a, IL-1 and IL-6 are sign for an increased probability of experiencing a cardiovascular disease.

Studies repeatedly demonstrated that Omega-3 fatty are very beneficial in helping our body to maintain healthy heart function, blood pressure, circulation, normal blood cholesterol & triglyceride levels, and reduce blood clotting, thus lowering risk of cardiovascular problems. In fact, studies demonstrated high Omega 3 intake can lower stroke risk by 50 percent.

High triglyceride levels, a risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases, are reduced by EPA and DHA [>].

Normalizing the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is linked to cardiovascular protection [>].

Studies show that higher intakes of DHA and EPA reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease [35].

Fish oil supplementation is associated with a significant reduction in deaths from cardiac reasons [>].

Studies demonstrate that an omega-3 to the omega-6 ratio of 1:1 is associated with a 70% decreased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease [>].

A study of 89 patients showed that those treated with EPA and DHA had a significant reduction in high-sensitivity CRP (Ebrahimi et al., 2009). The same study confirmed the cardio protective effect of omega -3’s further by demonstrating a significant reduction in heat shock proteins which have been shown to be overexpressed in heart muscle cells after myocardial ischemia (Ebrahimi et al., 2009). Omega-3’s have also been shown to decrease arterial cholesterol deposition by anchoring LDL at the intimal layer, thus decreasing its penetration into deeper layers, and consequently preventing the development of atherosclerosis (Sudheendran et al., 2010).

TRIGLYCERIDES & CHOLESTEROL

Both EPA and DHA have the ability to reduce triglyceride levels, most effectively after several weeks of supplementation [>].

Reduction levels range between 15 – 30% [>].

Elevated triglycerides are a risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases and can also cause leptin resistance [>].

Other sources of DHA, such as algae oil and krill oil, tend to have the same benefits [>].

Fish oil reduces the activity of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP). This inhibition reduces triglycerides and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) levels [>].

MOOD, MENTAL HEALTH & COGNITION

A large body of experimental evidence indicates that omega-3 fatty acids have significant effects on mental health. Researchers have discovered that countries with high omega-3 consumption have a lower rate of mental health problems. This could be due to the fact that omega-3 is highly concentrated in the brain and normalizes the brain’s neural activity. Secondly, this fatty acid is a necessary component of the neurotransmitter serotonin – the brain’s good mood chemical. Problems with memory have also been linked to deficiencies in Omega 3 fatty acids.

Both 1 g and 2 g of ethyl-EPA helped alleviate symptoms of depression in bipolar patients [>].

There is evidence that suggests that taking fish oil alongside a proven anti-depressant could have significant effects [>].

A regular intake of fish oil reduces the rate of developing dementia and other cognitive decline diseases in adults and elderly individuals [>].

DHA activates the Cannabinoid system, which may be one mechanism by how it improves mood.

However, 220 mg/day DHA or DHA + arachidonic acid had no effect on depression symptoms during pregnancy (study with 119 women) [>].

Omega 3 fats have been suggested by research to have a calming and anti-depressive effect on the nervous system enhancing brain health and mental well-being. Rich sources of Omega-3 are: chlorella and spirulina (both contain EPA/DHA and ALA), fresh cold-pressed flax oil, fresh ground flaxseeds, soaked for 30 minutes or longer chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.

Depression and anxiety are common mental health concerns which can be improved with sufficient levels of omega-3. Several studies have already demonstrated an improvement in depression and anxiety symptoms after omega-3 supplementation, in double-blinded, randomized, controlled trials (Lin & Su, 2007; Kiecolt-Grasser et al., 2011; Ginty & Conklin, 2015). Some studies have also demonstrated correlation between omega-3s and a decrease in violence, antisocial behaviour, ADHD and bipolar disorder (Balanzá-Martínez et al., 2011; Peet & Stokes, 2005). Omega-3s have also been shown to reverse some cognitive decline. DHA is present in large amounts in neuron membrane phospholipids, where it is involved in proper function of the nervous system, which is why it is thought to play a role in Alzheimer Disease.

A recent study found that a diet characterized by higher intakes of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, dark and green leafy vegetables) was strongly associated with a lower AD risk (Gu et al., 2010). Low omega 3 levels have also been linked with low levels of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for helping us fall asleep. A study by Lavialle et al. (2008) demonstrated that deficient omega 3’s diet reduces night time melatonin secretion, which returns to normal with supplemented DHA.

Higher levels of DHA are correlated with improved verbal fluency in older people [>].

A study on healthy young adults suggested that after six months of daily doses of fish oil (Lovaza) improved working memory [>].

Other studies have demonstrated that youth who have a dietary intake of fish have experienced improved reaction time and memory retention [>].

Algal DHA taken for six months decreased heart rate and improved memory and learning in healthy, older adults (over 50) with mild memory complaints [>, >].

In another study, low doses of DHA supplementation improved memory and attention [>].

Higher DHA levels in middle-aged adults are related to better performance on tests of nonverbal reasoning, mental flexibility, working memory, and vocabulary [>].

NEUROPROTECTION

Preliminary studies showed that a high intake of DHA was associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease [>] and Parkinson’s disease [>].

Preclinical studies indicate that DHA improves memory and can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in mice [>].

Neuroprotective effects of dietary DHA have been described in animals models of Parkinson’s disease [>].

It was found that a diet rich in DHA might protect stroke victims from brain damage and disability and aid in a speedier recovery [>].

Accordingly, dietary administration of DHA reduces stroke-induced neuroinflammation in animal models [>].

However, clinical trials show that DHA does not slow the decline of mental function in elderly people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease [>, >].

EPILEPSY

The use of DHA by persons with epilepsy could decrease the frequency of their seizures. Studies have shown that children with epilepsy had major improvement with a decrease in the frequency of their seizures, but another study showed mixed results with 57 adults on DHA supplementation. The 57 subjects demonstrated a decreased frequency of seizures for the first six weeks of the study, but for some, it was just a temporary improvement [>].

STROKE & BRAIN CIRCULATION

Fish oil appears to improve blood flow to the brain in healthy individuals [>].

A high dietary intake of fish reduces the risk of stroke in elderly individuals [>].

The reduced risk of stroke is thought to be related to omega-3 fats, especially DHA [>].

ADHD

Research has confirmed that omega-3 fatty acids can improve the symptoms of ADHD more effectively than drugs.

Fish oil supplementation is effective in managing symptoms in children with ADHD [>].

There is evidence that both DHA and EPA are useful in treating ADHD [>, >].

AGGRESSION

The presence of DHA normalizes aggression [>].

DHA reduces aggression during relaxation following periods of high stress [>].

A 6-month study on schoolchildren ages 8 – 16 years old demonstrated a reduction in several measures of aggression [>].

INFLAMMATION

In one study, men who took DHA supplements for 6 – 12 weeks decreased the concentrations of several inflammatory markers in their blood by approximately 20% [>].

One study found that fish oil higher in EPA than DHA lowered inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6 and IL-1β, associated with neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases [>].

EPA and DHA produce molecules known as “resolvins”, which are named for their ability to “resolve” inflammation [>].

Resolvin molecules are responsible for the cooperation between fish oil and aspirin. When aspirin is introduced to the body, it allows EPA and DHA to be converted into resolvins [>].

This suggests that fish oil and aspirin have good synergy and should be taken together.

DHA produces NPD1 molecules, which have anti-inflammatory properties in the brain in response to strokes [>].

NPD1 also has anti-Alzheimer’s properties that prevent the inflammatory response caused by the disease [>].

Studies show that dietary supplementation of fish oil lowers the activity of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, and migraine headaches [>].

Fish oil may prevent or slow disease progression in individuals with mild inflammatory diseases [>].

BONE & JOINT HEALTH

Scientific research provides strong evidence Omega 3 may also help reduce the process that triggers the inflammation in the joints leading to damage and pain. Omega-3s have been shown to increase calcium absorption from the gut, in part by enhancing the effects of vitamin D; to reduce urinary excretion of calcium, to increase calcium deposition in bone and improve bone strength, as well as to enhance the synthesis of bone collagen. These actions of omega 3s have been pointed beneficial in reducing ectopic calcification which is a pathologic deposition of calcium salts in tissues (Kruger & Horrobin, 1997). Omega 3s can also impact the development of arthritis. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition (2012) , found that when a high-dose fish oil supplement is added to so-called triple therapy for rheumatoid arthritis (methotrexate, sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine), patients achieved better outcomes: they were far less likely to reach remission than those who did not take a supplement (Orchard et al., 2012).

Resolvins found in EPA and DHA appear to prevent certain inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α from inducing pain [>].

Human studies have shown the supplemental fish oil reduces inflammatory joint pain [>].

Omega-3’s are effective in reducing pain caused by arthritis [>].

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, high doses of fish oil decrease disease activity and a number of tender joints [>].

SKIN HEALTH

Omega 3 is naturally found in the cell wall structure. It allows the skin to absorb healthy nutrients and expel waste products that are harmful. Lack of Omega 3 and certain types of Omega 6 is one of the key causes of dry skin, eyes and hair, and brittle nails.

According to the 2009 study Omega 3 from Flaxseed oil and healthy Omega 6 supplementation increased skin hydration and diminished skin reddening.

A high intake of dietary fish products is linked to a reduced risk of skin cancer [>].

It is believed that this prevention is due to fish oil lessening the suppression of the immune system caused by sunlight [>].

Fish oil reduces the risk of sunlight on the skin and can protect against burns [>].

Fish oil decreases inflammation caused by UV light [>].

There is some evidence that fish oil supplementation reduces the severity of acne, especially in individuals with moderate to severe acne [>].

SKIN HEALTH & DRY SKIN

Omega 3 is naturally found in the cell wall structure. It allows the skin to absorb healthy nutrients and expel waste products that are harmful. Lack of Omega 3 and certain types of Omega 6 is one of the key causes of dry skin, eyes and hair, and brittle nails. According to the 2009 study Omega 3 from Flaxseed oil and healthy Omega 6 supplementation increased skin hydration and diminished skin reddening.

A high intake of dietary fish products is linked to a reduced risk of skin cancer [>].

It is believed that this prevention is due to fish oil lessening the suppression of the immune system caused by sunlight [>].

Fish oil reduces the risk of sunlight on the skin and can protect against burns [>].

Fish oil decreases inflammation caused by UV light [>].

There is some evidence that fish oil supplementation reduces the severity of acne, especially in individuals with moderate to severe acne [>].

PSORIASIS

Supplementary treatment with omega-3 fatty acids complements topical treatment in psoriasis and makes a significant contribution to improving symptoms [>].

WEIGHT LOSS

EPA and DHA have the ability to activate receptors in the body that increase metabolic rate [>].

DHA is correlated with weight loss in humans [>].

Fish oil’s anti-inflammatory effects have the ability to indirectly aid in fat metabolism in people with high inflammation or metabolic syndrome [>].

Fish oil can increase the secretion of adiponectin, which is responsible for breaking down fats [>].

High doses of fish oil can reduce abdominal and fat weight gain [>].

Fish oil increases enzymes in muscle cells, which is associated with fat loss [>].

Combining fish oil supplements with exercise and a proper diet is effective in weight loss [>].

DIABETES

A 1:1 omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is linked to a reduced risk of diabetes [>].

Some studies show that taking high doses of fish oil supplementation is associated with increased insulin sensitivity [>].

HEALING PROCESS

Fish oil reduces the rate of muscle degeneration [>].

Some studies suggest that lean body mass is better retained after surgery when increasing EPA in the diet [>].

There is evidence suggesting that fish oil aids muscle growth [>].

KIDNEY HEALTH

Omega-3 fats prevent the progression of kidney disease [>].

Supplementation promotes kidney function in those with diabetes [>].

The intake of omega-3 fats is correlated with protection from kidney disease associated with diabetes [>]. 

 GASTROINTESTINAL HEALTH

The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fats can assist in managing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and other gastrointestinal diseases causing inflammation [>].

Fish oil has a significant therapeutic role in individuals with ulcerative colitis [>].

THYROID HEALTH

EPA and DHA decrease blood lipids and cholesterol, which benefit thyroid hormones [>].

Studies suggest that omega-3 fats increase thyroid hormone signalling pathways in the liver [>].

 INFECTIONS

There is evidence that fish oil benefits individuals affected by Klebsiella pneumonia bacterial infection [>].

MUSCLE FATIGUE

Fish oil reduces the oxygen consumption of muscles, which promotes resistance to muscle fatigue [>].

EPA and DHA improve contractile recovery in muscles [>].

Fish oil lowers heart rate and oxygen demand during exercise without interfering with performance [>].

 CANCER

DHA was shown to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy in prostate cancer cells in vitro, and a chemo-protective effect in a mouse model was reported [>].

DHA measured in blood was associated with an increase in high-grade prostate cancer risk [>].

There is evidence that fish oil supplementation reduces the risk of prostate cancer in elderly men [>]. However, another study found an increased risk of prostate cancer from fish oil [>].

Fish oil is associated with a decreased risk of skin cancer [>].

In mice, DHA was found to inhibit the growth of human colon carcinoma cells, more than other omega-3 PUFAs [>]. The anti-cancer effect of DHA was caused by a decrease in cell growth regulators.

Fish oil is associated with improvements in clinical and functional parameters in advanced cancer patients experiencing weight loss [>].

Medical studies found that people taking fish oil received higher scores on assessments measuring the quality of life [>].

In addition to DHA’s possible anticancer effect, it may also be used as a non-toxic adjuvant to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy [>].

MIGRAINE HEADACHES

Fish oil supplementation reduces the frequency, duration, and severity of headaches [>].

There is evidence supporting that fish oil is beneficial in the treatment of migraine headaches in adolescents [>].

ANTI-AGEING

A new study found that higher intake of DHA slowed rates of telomere shortening, which is a basic DNA-level marker of ageing [>].

FLU

Although some sources suggest that since omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties it shouldn’t be recommended in flu and cold and in fact, in one study omega 3 fish oil reduced resistance to flu virus in mice. Other results of other studies, however, seem to prove some beneficial effects of omega-3 on immune system. A study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology concluded that the intake of DHA-rich fish oil may boost immune function by enhancing the function of immune B cells. On the other hand, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is generally thought to suppress T lymphocyte function. Nevertheless, the discovery about stimulating effect of omega-3 on B-cells is significant as it shows that fish oil does not necessarily reduce the overall immune response (in order to reduce inflammation), but may also have immune stimulating properties that could benefit individuals with compromised immunity. [>]

OTHER BENEFITS

Those who suffer with chronic fatigue are low in Omega 3.

The same fatty acid is essential for normal functionality of the immune system.

Deficiency of Omega 3 slows down metabolism contributing to weight gain.

Fish Oil DHA helps inhibit Epstein-Barr Virus [>].

Fish oil (DHA, EPA) inhibits CD40 and CD86, which are co-stimulatory molecules [>].

Fish Oil DHA+EPA suppresses pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNF-a and IL-1b [>].

Fish oil DHA increases the T-regulatory cells (Tregs) [>].

Fish oil DHA exerts anti-inflammatory activity by the activation of AMPK [>].

Fish oil DHA provide oral tolerance by activating the CD25 T-regulator cells [>].

Both DHA and EPA increased PPAR-gamma mRNA and protein activity in HK-2 cells [>].

DHA also activates RXR (Retinoid X Receptors).

Fish Oil DHA increase BDNF and/or normalize BDNF levels after traumatic brain injury in rats [>, >].

Fish oil DHA can prevent the negative effects of a high-fat diet on the 5HT1A receptor [>].

Fish oil DHA and EPA are cardiovascular prevention after myocardial arrest possibly by stimulating the vagus nerve [>].

DHA helps to mount the body’s antioxidant NRF2 response, which helps us detox.

RELATED ARTICLES

FLAXSEED (LINSEED) & FLAX OIL >

– CHIA SEEDS >

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