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Omega 3 Info

What are Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids

The term essential is deduced from Latin. Essential fatty acids are nutritional factors, discovered in 1929 at the University of Minnesota by George and Mildred Burr. Like vitamins, they are not synthesizable by the human body and therefore must be absorbed from food.

Essential Fatty Acids

We have already mentioned that essential fatty acids are nutrients that we must have to stay healthy. To really understand essential fatty acids, we must get down to the molecular level.

Omega Fatty Acids

The omega fatty acids are named according to the position of the first double bond in their carbon chains. Thus, the first double bond in the omega 6,s begins at the sixth carbon from the end of the chain. The first double bond in the omega 3,s begins at the third carbon position from the end of the chain, once in the body both omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids are bio chemically converted and control the body initially in two ways. First, they become incorporated into the cell membranes and secondly keep the cell membrane optimally fluid. If there are not enough omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, these cell walls will incorporate saturated fatty acids and other lipids and become less fluid. In fact, essential fatty acids are the major building blocks of cellular membranes surrounding every cell in the body, know as lipid bilayers, because they are made up of two layers of fat, these fatty acid walls help to control the opening and closing of the cells channels that allow the passage of important messenger molecules into and out of the cell. In a second pathway, the omegas convert to hormone like substances called eicosanoids that influence metabolic activities, it is important the body has an adequate balance. The recommended ratio is 3-5: 1 of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids.

How Fat Makes me Fit

I’m not talking about any old fat, but the kind of fat that is pulled out of fish and seeds. Particularly a fat called Omega 3.

Amazingly, taking this kind of fat can make you fitter.

Your brain functions at a higher rate, your immune system is boosted, cardiovascular disease is reduced and a lot more, simply by eating oil from a fish.

People much more intelligent than me, the kind who wear white coats and hang out in laboratories, tell me that if I take Omega 3 fatty acids as part of a balanced diet it will make me more healthy and fit than if I did not.

Benefits of Omega 3 fish oil

  • Increased brain function
  • Improved immune system
  • Reduction of cardiovascular disease
  • Controlling cholesterol
  • Increasing metabolism
  • Looking after the skin
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Maintaining water balance

It will even increase brain function. Now that really caught my attention as I’m always interested with increasing my brain function.

Omega 3 oils are extremely fashionable these days Health magazines rave about the benefits of omega 3 or tell you to chug down gallons of this super fat each day.

But what’s the reality? I confess, I knew relatively nothing about fish oils and omega 3’s before writing this article. But as I researched I was shocked. Let me explain.

Well I was shocked. Let me explain.

Omega 3 is an oil, a polyunsaturated fat, or alpha-linolenic acid. The shocking fact is that they are essential for the brain, nervous system, immune system, cardiovascular system and even our skin.

When I say essential I mean parts of our body would basically shut down or be function with less capability without omega 3. I don’t know about you, but I like to have my brain operating at full function.

When omega 3 is in the body it is converted into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Both DHA and EPA perform essential jobs for the body.

Here’s the problem. The body cannot create the essential acids by itself. It needs the omega 3 oils to do that. Actually it’s a little more complex than that, but I’m simplifying what could be a 10,000 word article.

Basically, we need omega 3 fats. Other fats like saturated fat and monounsaturated fat are not needed. You could very easily live a healthy, happy and productive life without those fats. They do offer energy, but unless you are going to burn off those fats they will soon move in and take up home in your gut or thighs. Evicting them will prove a lot harder in the long run.

Omega 3 in it’s simplest form, is a fat which is essential for the correct functioning of our body. If our body cannot create it, then where can we find it?

Most people in the modern world are deficient in Omega 3 oils, which means they are not performing to their potential, unfortunately there has been an explosion in saturated fat consumption. Compounding that, a lot of polyunsaturated fat has had the goodness stripped from them and become what is known as trans fats, or processed fats or perhaps you know them as hydrogenated fats.

These hydrogenated fats started out being full of natures goodness, containing omega 3 oils and other nutrients. But because exposure to heat and oxygen stamps natures goodness out of these oils the end product is nothing we really need apart from the calories.

Huge machines will process healthy oils like sunflower oil into hardened lumps of calories, devoid of anything we really need. Think about that when scoffing your favourite chocolate bar, which is basically chocolate flavoured vegetable fat with all of the good stuff stripped out.

So where can we find natural sources of Omega 3?

In descending order of concentration.

  • Salmon
  • Anchovy
  • Sardine
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna

One of the most convenient ways of getting omega 3 is with a supplement in capsule form. Not everyone wishes to eat fish everyday.

I don’t know about you, but I’m about to change my diet to a more omega 3 rich diet. Hopefully it will improve my game of chess.

Lyndon Antcliff

Pure EPA

What is Pure EPA?

What do we mean by Pure EPA? Well, nearly all of the fish oils on the market today contain varying amounts of both EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), both of which are Omega 3 essential Fatty Acids with known beneficial properties.

However, in order to define a fish oil as Pure EPA, we would expect it to be just that. In other words, we would define Pure EPA fish oil to be one where the DHA has been removed, leaving an extremely high concentration of EPA.

Using this definition, there are very few fish oils on the market that can claim to be Pure EPA, but Pure EPA is one of them.

Pure EPA contains no DHA at all and with a 93% concentration of EPA, is Pure EPA fish oil, available exclusively from mind1st.

Can we get Omega 3 fatty acids from food?

The answer to this question is yes and no. Yes you can get Omega 3 from some plant sources but the Omega 3 fatty acid EPA is only really available in any significant concentration directly from eating oily fish like Herring, Sardines, Mackerel, Tuna, Swordfish and Anchovies.

In fact generations ago our ancestors ate more fish and their ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids to Omega 6 fatty acids was roughly equal. Today that is simply not the case. We are not advised to eat too much fish and as we are consuming more processed foods our intake of Omega 6 is higher than ever.

Omega 6 is vital for health too and like Omega 3 it cannot be produced by the body so has to be sourced from food. The problem is we have an abundance of Omega 6 in today’s western diet and not much Omega 3, and yet these two interact in the body to promote health.

On their own, Omega 6 fatty acids are pro inflammatory whereas Omega 3 helps to reduce inflammation. Omega 6 thickens the blood whereas Omega 3 helps to thin the blood. We need to lower our ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 in order to improve health.

If it was an ideal world then yes we could get enough Omega 3 EPA simply by consuming more fish. However, the amount of EPA also varies from fish to fish.

Basically the larger the fish the more EPA it is likely to contain as larger fish eat smaller fish and consequently build up a greater concentration of EPA.

Another important consideration here is the toxic chemicals that are also present in fresh fish. The downside of eating fish high in EPA is that the larger predatory fish also contain more industrial contaminants.

However, no, you cannot get EPA from fresh fish in the kind of concentrations you can get with taking a fish oil supplement like Pure EPA.

Another advantage of Pure EPA is that the contaminants have been removed by highly sophisticated purification and filtration processes leaving pure oil concentrated in EPA.

What about Omega 3 from plant sources?

EPA is generally not present in plant sources and if it is it is a very small amount. The Omega 3 fatty acid that is present in plant sources and in some nuts and vegetable oils is in the form of ALA or Alpha Linolenic acid. This is the parent fatty acid in the Omega 3 family.

In theory our bodies should be able to produce EPA from the ALA in the plant sources however due to a number of reasons; our ability to do this has been severely diminished.

The ability to synthesis ALA in EPA varies from person to person but to sum it up, you would need to eat huge amounts of vegetable sources of ALA to get anywhere near enough EPA to make a difference. Some researchers are putting our ability to convert ALA into EPA at 5 percent or even lower.

Taking Pure EPA will help redress the imbalance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids and in doing so will not only help prevent disease but will enhance overall well being.

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