Have you been thinking of adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet? Well this article I hope, will help with your decision making.
First of all did you know that there are over 11 types of omega-3 fatty acids found in nature. The three main types involved in human physiology are a-linolenic acid (ALA) found in plant oils, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) both commonly found in marine oils. DHA is the most abundant omega−3 fatty acid in the brain. Common plant sources that contain the omega−3 ALA fatty acid include canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts, broccoli, and spinach. The major source of animal omega−3 EPA and DHA fatty acids is fish.
There is good evidence that omega-3 fatty acids improve joint pain and stiffness in Rheumatoid arthritis (The British Journal of Nutrition, June 2012). Also it appears to protect against dementia, improve mental function and may aid in depression especially manic or bipolar depression (Current Opinion in a Psychiatry, January 2013). In one study of older people with a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids there was a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. (Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, March 2010). More research is necessary however, to confirm this association.
There is very good evidence that suggests omega−3 fatty acids modestly lowers blood pressure both systolic and diastolic, in people with hypertension, (American Journal of Hypertension, July 2014).
The benefits in cardiovascular disease and cancer is still being researched however on September 8, 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave "qualified health claim" status to EPA and DHA omega−3 fatty acids, stating, "supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease". It appears that omega-3 fatty acids may prevent plaque build up inside blood vessels.
If you are a vegetarian and do not care to eat fish, you can use omega-3 supplements. One gram per day is recommended for people with heart disease. It is very important to ask your doctor or health care provider before starting this supplement, for high doses can interfere with some medicines or increase the risk of bleeding.
BY RICHARD G. BERRY MD, FACP
THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. Always consult your Doctor, PA or FNP for any problems you may be having and for more information about what you have read.