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Big news about Omega Threes
12 May 2016

Make a change for May- omega three

Omega three supplementation can help with a whole host of health issues – heart, immune system, skin, hair, nails, eyesight, sleep, depression/focus, attention-based problems, gut bacteria health and a whole lot more. Why? Because we evolved next to water and probably part of our requirement was to eat fish regularly, it is thought. Nowadays most people – most – don’t get anywhere near enough oily fish, which some recommendations put at between 500mg a day (heart health) of EPA, 250mg a day (brain health) of DHA or up to 2000mg depending what you read.

The special ‘long chain’ fatty acids which are called omega 3 can be higher or lower up the chain. Lower includes plant-based or veggie sources like flax. Higher is usually fish oil. (Note, cod liver oil is not a good source as there’s not a lot of pure omega 3 in it and carries the danger of overdosing on vitamin A if you try to consume enough of it to meet targets.) LA from flax is far less important in the body than EPA or the even higher DHA. It’s EPA which is most important for almost everything, and DHA for the brain, pregnant or nursing mums and kids under 5. The body CAN make EPA from LA and then DHA from EPA but it takes a lot of time and other factors (enough enzymes, vitamins, low enough stress levels etc) but for vegetarians and vegans, that’s important to know and there are a few expensive non-fish EPA/DHA supplements. BUT for the vast majority the proportion being made is very low – often under 10% conversion. So for most, it’s best to eat more oily fish. Or is you’re worried about deep sea oily fish containing pollutants and toxins like PCGs , mercury and dioxins, you can safely take high dose EPA supplements.

I worked in the health food industry in the early to mid 2000s when it became known via the Durham school trials (Dr Alex Richardson et al) that omega 3 was beneficial in improving many kids’ reading ages and concentration at school. Since then omega 3 as an ingredient in lots of ordinary foods has rolled out across the food industry and the well-known government health recommendation of 500mg per day of EPA for heart health was established.

I list below what I take and what I recommend. BUT you have to choose what to do that is right for your own body and personal circumstances. You may decide to take three times more than I do each day, or less than I do. Or just to eat fish or veggie sources. None are wrong, it’s your decision.

Omega 6. Almost no one needs to take extra omega 6 as you already get enough from food. It’s omega 3 we desperately need more of. The 6 to 3 ratio is what’s important. You need 6, but most people have enough. You need 3 more as it’s relatively hard to get from a wide variety of foods – only fish type sources usually. And you similarly don’t usually need to add omega 9. Do google whichever aspect makes you curious, there is a ton of info on the net. You can take a blood test which will tell you how much omega 6 to 3 you have in your own blood – it’s thought a ratio of 2 or 3 omega 6 to 1 omega 3 is best. But many people – particularly those with bad diets, poor concentration, skin etc – may even have over 20 to 1. A doctor in Glasgow studied aggression in patients who were law breakers or suffering from depression and addiction and found that some of those with the most serious problems were over 30 to 1.

Choosing supplements. Please be careful to read the labels and see how much EPA is in EACH capsule. ‘1000mg omega 3’ on the front of the bottle may actually end up with only 180mg of EPA per capsule, sometimes less, especially if the dosage states ‘per two capsules’ or ‘per three capsules’ so do the maths carefully. Liquid supplements can be an alternative, often containing higher concentration of EPA in a spoonful.

I take a brand called ‘ideal omega’ or ‘wild alaskan’ (750mg EPA and 250mg DHA per capsule) from ‘Your Healthy’ in Glasgow, but there are lots of others. Seven Seas have some good liquids you can buy in high street, or even Holland and barrett have a specialist choice which contains JUST omega 3 in higher doses per capsule (eg 600mg EPA)

I take two capsules a day but if you are kick starting an intensive trial, you can easily take four or six a day. The doctor I mentioned above used to take six. You can’t overdose on omega 3, within reason (although see above re toxins in eating actual fish – organic is a good idea or a can of mackerel or pilchards can be highly effective too.)

My daughter Lauren takes the same, and it helps her eczema, along with avoiding SLS in washing products, face wash etc. All her childhood she had awful rashes and sore scabby skin and only when we discovered finally she was allergic to SLS (sodium lauryl or laureth sulphate – look out for ‘sulphate-free’ products) and used eco-egg type clothes washing machine products, did it finally go.

Dr Alex Richardson a professor at Oxford university and her site, FABresearch.org, wage a constant campaign to spread the word about the benefits of omega 3 supplementation. Her colleague Dr Joseph Hibbeln conducted studies in prisons using vitamins and omega 3 and found offenders offended less and were less violent when they used such supplementation.

This is a rough guide – do explore FAB research website and if you become an associate supporter you can access their whole database including slides from many many public talks.

Low concentrations of EPA and DHA resulted in an increased risk of death from all causes, as well as accelerated cognitive decline. The studies also suggest that a higher intake of omega-3s may bring certain health benefits that short-term supplementation cannot give.

Here’s another few links to help you research – if you find others do email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) so I may add them here to help people save time.

http://www.nutraingredients.com/Trends/Omega-3/Omega-3-supplements-could-save-EU-billions-in-heart-disease-spending

http://articles.mercola.com/omega-3.aspx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5a3lHx76OQ  - Dr Alex explains how low omega 3 levels are connected to kids learning and behaviour. DHA Oxford Learning and Behaviour study (DOLAB).

I know people who have used omega three supplementation to help with high cholesterol or high blood pressure but if you take blood thinning drugs like warfarin do seek expert advice or go google. And in any case this is not medical advice and as I say above, you have to go work out what’s right for you. I have, my daughter has, and many others I speak to have. But whilst it’s a panacea for some it may not work for a few – do go google, people.

 

Till the Fat lady Slims update – on our fabulous Facebook group for my weight loss book series, Louise Robinson had this to say this week – made me so proud.

Can't believe how freedom eating has changed my life for the better. I found Debbie Flint at the beginning of last year. I was in a bad place. Off work with stress, anxiety, depression and exhaustion. Eating nothing but junk food and bingeing regularly. Things I've battled for years. Debbie's whole freedom eating philosophy resonated with all areas of my life. I'm am in such a different place now. My weight is stable. Would like to lose a couple of stone but my mind is the healthiest it's ever been. I no longer obsess about calories. I don't binge. I can work through intense periods of stress without losing the plot!! I've made friends with my inner chimp who I call Mr C after his major Cadbury addiction. I'm mindful of everything. It grounds me. I'm in the driving seat and I'm enjoying my life. I feel very grateful to all in this group. The love and support is fantastic. I love hearing all your stories, celebrating your successes and more importantly pulling together when life gets tough.

Thank you everyone but an extra big thank you to Debbie for making it all happen”

Come join us on the Till the Fat Lady Slims facebook group here

And find out more about the books either on the TTFLS tab above

or get them on amazon in either paperback or ebook here.

 

So many great topics are covered in my ‘archives’ on the bottom left of this page – please feel free to look back at them for more info on other health subjects. Please note most of the sentences that may quirk your interest above, can be googled to find the sources or more info about each theme.

Best wishes

Debs

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