Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis are common in our society. If you are managing a chronic health condition, you may be interested to learn about the omega 3 fish oil benefits that can help manage and reduce the risk of some of these potentially life-threatening conditions.

What is the role of essential fatty acids? Two Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary for health. These are the polyunsaturated fats: Omega-6 (linoleic acid) and Omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid).

Essential Fatty Acids are essential because your body can’t make them, it is totally reliant on getting them through diet.

Fatty acids are essential for eye health, heart health, joint health, mental health, pregnancy and infant health as well as energy production, cell membrane formation, oxygen transfer from air to blood, haemoglobin manufacture and prostaglandin function (anti-inflammatory). Whoa, they really are ESSENTIAL!

Symptoms of EFA deficiency may include skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dry skin, heart and circulatory problems, fatigue, immune weakness, gastrointestinal and mood disorders.  A lack of dietary EFAs will also play a role in the development of chronic diseases including asthma, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

The Role of the Essential Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as oily fish (Mercury in Fish handout) and some seeds. Two servings of wild-caught, cold-water fatty fish per week are highly recommended. When it comes to seeds, we would have to eat copious amounts of them to obtain an optimal level of ‘active’ omega-3. High-quality, purified fish oil is therefore a very effective source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. This is why supplementation of omega-3 through fish oil is so beneficial.

Nutritionally important components of Omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Not all omega-3 sources are equal – for example flaxseed contains only small amounts of two important active components of fatty acids – EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and these are the two proven by research to be ultimately responsible for the major health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.  Similarly many cheap fish oil capsules contain inadequate amounts of EPA and DHA. Some types of fish oil contain higher portion of either EPA or DHA.

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in Safflower oil, Sunflower oil, Corn oil, Sesame oil, Pumpkin oil, Soybean oil, Walnut oil, Wheatgerm oil, Evening Primrose oil, cereals and whole-grains.  Some experts think that our consumption of the Omega-6 fatty acids have grown out of proportion since the introduction of processed foods.  Excess intake of omega 6 fatty acids can cause increased water retention, raised blood pressure and raised blood clotting.

It’s the ratio that’s important – There has been a lot written about the ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids, with most experts agreeing we should consume more Omega-6’s to Omega-3’s.  Modern Western diets typically have ratios of Omega−6 to Omega−3 in excess of 10:1, some as high as 30:1. The optimal ratio is thought to be 4:1 or lower. A high proportion of Omega−6 to Omega−3 fat in the diet is believed to be a major driver of disease processes.

As most people get adequate amounts of Omega-6’s from their diet we tend to supplement for Omega-3’s (mainly EPA & DHA) to lift up the omega-3 portion of the ratio.

Given a large part of the population has got this ratio way out of balance, a good quality, optimum ratio of EPA:DHA, pure fish oil is often recommended.

With so many different types of fish oils on the market, it is important to know what fish oil is the most beneficial to your body. It is essential to research the fish oil company before purchasing to ensure it uses sustainable practices, surpasses pharmaceutical standards and has the highest purity possible. Your fish oil should NOT smell fishy! If you are unsure of which fish oil is the right one for you, contact us.

Fish oil is a plentiful source of omega-3 fats, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which have many therapeutic benefits. Omega-3 is required for the healthy functioning of almost every cell in your body, and is especially important for your brain, heart, and nervous system. Make sure you are getting enough omega-3 – it’s vital to your health!

Omega 3 Fish Oil Benefits

Omega-3 rich fish oil can benefit you, whatever your age or life stage.

  • In pregnancy, it helps the baby’s brain develop, and also supports healthy brain and nervous system growth throughout childhood.
  • Omega-3 can support healthy mood in adults, and protect memory, concentration and cognitive function as you age.
  • It also greatly benefits heart health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • The anti-inflammatory actions of omega-3 aid in managing many chronic health issues, particularly relieving joint pain of arthritis commonly experienced in later life.

How Do You Know You’re Deficient?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients, meaning they cannot be made by the body and therefore need to be taken in through your diet. While many try to consume omega-3 foods such as oily fish (e.g. salmon, tuna) and nuts and seeds, deficiency is still extremely common in Australia with 80% of adults not meeting the recommended daily intake (RDI) of this essential nutrient.

Testing is available to find out your essential fatty acid levels.

Don’t Settle For Less

If quality is important to you, don’t be tempted by the cheap tubs of fish oil you see in the supermarket. These oils are often rancid (oxidised), giving them an unpleasant fishy odour and taste, and also reducing their health-promoting effects. They may also be contaminated with chemicals such as pesticides, or heavy metals, which may be harmful for your health. Make sure you do a fish oil quality test to ensure you get a quality product.

Insist On High Quality Fish Oils

You can be confident your Practitioner at Perpetual Wellbeing will only recommend high-quality fish oils made using processes that increase the purity of the oil and reduce heavy metal and pesticide levels, ensuring it remains fresh (and not rancid).

These fish oils undergo stringent quality testing to guarantee that purity exceeds Australian and international standards; with testing showing non-detectable levels of contaminants such as mercury, lead and cadmium. With a focus on sustainability, the oils are sourced from small pelagic fish and harvested using eco-friendly practices.

Four Simple Ways To Reduce Your Chronic Disease Risk

In addition to fish oil, here are some ways to reduce your risk of chronic disease:

  • Eat 5-7 serves of fruit and vegetables per day: Fruit and vegetables are full of fibre and other health promoting components that can reduce your risk of heart disease and many other chronic diseases.
  • Incorporate more vegetarian meals into your diet: Excessive meat intake, especially red meat, has been associated with heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Check out our Bean Minestrone recipe for a quick, easy, healthy and tasty meal idea.
  • Reduce your intake of processed foods: This will help minimise the amount of salt and sugar you eat, which will benefit your heart and brain health.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise keeps your brain and nervous system healthy, reducing your risk of chronic disease and optimising the health of your whole body.

The team at Perpetual Wellbeing offer the Essential Fatty Acids Profile test to assess your risk of omega-3 deficiency, and reduce your risk of chronic disease. Book an appointment with one of our practitioners.