Omega 3’s, they do a body good.
Although you may not know what they’re for, I’m assuming you’ve at least heard of omega 3’s. This is an essential fatty acid. (Essential just means you need to consume it in your diet because your body can’t make it)
Omega 3 means it has a double bond 3 carbons from the end. Omega 6 is another type of fatty acid which has a double bond 6 carbons from the end. Mind blowing right?
So what does our body use these omega 3s for?
They are used mainly in our cell membranes (the walls of each cell). Cell membranes are made up of a “phospholipid bilayer” which just means 2 layers of fatty acids and some other stuff like cholesterol and proteins.
Our cells communicate with one another through the cell membrane. If the message can’t get across the cell wall, then the cells can’t communicate. For example, if the nerve cells in your brain aren’t communicating with one another, do you see how this could be a problem? Sluggish brain, not able to concentrate/focus as a result. Sound familiar?
Omega 3s from your diet help make up this phospholipid bilayer, keeping it nice and fluid-like so that the messages can easily pass through.
When we do not consume enough omega-3 fatty acids, our body has a plan B… using Omega-6 fatty acids (found in vegetable oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and grapeseed oil) Omega 6’s will still work to make a cell membrane, however, they are much more rigid and don’t allow the messages to get across the cell membrane as well. So people who are lacking omega-3 fatty acids in their diet will not even realize it, but they won’t be able to focus very well or think clearly.
Omega 3’s also have an anti-inflammatory effect, so they help with joint pain and cramps.
Omega 3s are a common deficiency in the typical American diet. This is believed to play a big role in why there are so many cases of heart disease, cancers, and brain disorders like ADD/ADHD.
Omega 3’s can reduce triglycerides (blood fats closely related to cholesterol)when Triglycerides are high along with cholesterol, your chances of heart disease goes up.
Deficiencies in omega 3 fats have also been linked to: depression, anxiety, mood swings, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD and ADD. Research has shown some of these conditions will greatly improve with increased omega 3 fatty acid intake.
Other studies have shown that even if you don’t have any of these conditions, memory and focus can improve with consistent use of fish oil supplements.
Ok, so we know they’re important, but where do we get omega 3s? The main sources are fish, flax seed, and grass-fed beef.
I know, I’m not a huge fish fan either… and flax seed doesn’t sound like some thing that tastes great either. The problem with eating fish all the time is that it contains a rather high level of Mercury. If you’re not sure about the side effects of consuming mercury, google it and see all the crazy stuff it can do to your body.
I am usually not one to tell people to get their nutrients from a supplement, but in this case I think its all that we have left to do. Our natural resources have been so contaminated its not really safe to be eating fish all the time and you’d have to eat a lot of grass-fed beef to obtain the recommended amount. Therefore, I recommend taking a fish-oil supplement.
This opens up another can of worms though…. Not all fish-oil supplements are created equal. You may have tried a fish-oil supplement in the past and found yourself burping up a “fishy” taste all the time or tasting absolutely disgusting. The fish oil tastes like that because the fish-oil is rancid and spoiled. Companies will advertise that they get their fish-oil from Norway or Sweden, or some place where there’s low levels of mercury in the water/fish, but then they ship it over to the United States to put it in capsules. (its cheaper to capsulate things in the US rather than overseas for some reason) While shipping it over here though, the fish oil becomes oxidized and gets spoiled.
This is why a lot of fish oil pills taste and smell horrendous! And rightfully so, they’ve gone bad and are actually horrible for your body, full of free radicals! It’s like eating spoiled food! Ick!
One company I know to supply a clean, non-rancid fish oil is Nordic Naturals. They are 3rd party tested for mercury levels, which are undetected. They also encapsulate the fish oil in Norway in a nitrogen gas environment so the fish oil doesn’t get oxidized and go bad. It actually tastes kind of like olive oil, not like bad fish.
You can find this brand both online and in some health food stores, like Whole Foods. But I would recommend that everyone considers getting some fish oil supplements. Its just allowing the body to work the way God intended it. Your body will thank you too!