Why do we need to include fish or substitute with supplementation to get our Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid (E.F.A.) intake into our body?
You see, the human brain is nearly 60% fat, and in recent years we have learned that fatty acids are amongst crucial molecules that will determine the brain’s integrity and its ability to perform optimally.
These amazing fatty acids are an integral part of our cell membrane (the outer cover of the cell) providing the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting ability, the contraction, and relaxation of the artery walls and inflammation throughout the body.
Fatty acids also impact on genetic function.
Essential Fatty Acids has shown to help prevent heart disease and Cerebrovascular accident/ stroke. They may help control the auto-immune disease lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Michigan State University researchers recently confirmed that consuming an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, can stop a known trigger of lupus and potentially other autoimmune disorders.
“What we discovered was when lupus was triggered by crystalline silica, a toxic mineral also known as quartz that’s linked to human autoimmunity, DHA blocked the activation of the disease,” said Melissa Bates, one of the study’s lead authors and a doctoral student in MSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Institute of Integrative Toxicology.
The findings have been published in PLOS ONE.
Essential Fatty Acids may also assist in decreasing eczema and may have a protective role against cancer and other conditions.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information Centre; “ Replacing saturated fat in the diet with a mixture of PUFA (both omega-6 and omega-3) is associated with beneficial effects in the cardiovascular system.”
Low DHA may also be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as other forms of dementia. Increasing EPA and DHA may be beneficial in individuals with type 2 Diabetes especially if the condition is associated with elevated serum triglycerides.
E.F.A.’s are required by the body for optimal health, but we are unable to synthesize or make these in our body so must be obtained from dietary sources. These sources include fish, vegetable oils, nuts (in particular walnuts), flaxseed oil and crushed flaxseed and a smaller amount in leafy vegetables.
It is also worth pointing out that there are many commercial supplements on the market that have a ‘one-type-fits-all’ dose. It is very important for your health care to be customised to your body and your needs at the time. A woman in her fifties will have very different nutritional requirements that say a 19 year old male.
So get some fish on your plate or source an excellent quality supplement from Your Naturopath!