According to recent research:
Consuming omega-3 fatty acids from fish may be associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer
Researchers analyzed 26 international cohort studies that included a total of more than 883,000 participants (and more than 20,000 cases of breast cancer). They found that, for every 100 mg per day of omega-3 fatty acids that a woman consumed, she had a 5 percent lower risk of breast cancer. One thing to keep in mind: The study was just correlational. “Evidence from either experimental or observational studies suggests a protective effect of marine n-3 PUFA (omega-3 fatty acids from fish) on breast cancer, though no conclusive results have been achieved,” the authors write in the study.
Omega-3s are pretty well known for their health superpowers, though, and fish are an excellent source of them—specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two types of omega-3s that promote heart and brain health. That said, as with any nutrient, it’s possible to get too much of a good thing—in fact, another new study suggests that having excessive blood levels of omega-3s may put men at a higher risk for prostate cancer.
So how many omega-3s do you need to consume each week to reap the benefits without going overboard? About 1,750 mg, says Bethany Thayer, MS, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Henry Ford Health System. You can get that from eating about two four-ounce servings of fish, she says.
Of course, different fish vary in omega-3 content—some options like anchovies put you over the weekly recommendation with just one serving, while others, like tilapia, don’t touch a quarter of it. So use this guide as a reference for what you’ll get in a typical four-ounce serving. (And remember: Even if a fish isn’t crazy-high in omega-3s, it likely still offers a lot of other health-boosting nutritional content, like protein, potassium, and vitamin B12, says Thayer.)
The Standard American Diet
High in OMEGA-6
The Standard American Diet is rich in saturated fats, trans fatty acids, and arachidonic acid. Saturated fats and trans fatty acids result in stiffer, non-permeable cell membranes, which reduce cell communication and limit adequate transport of nutrients into a
cell. Arachidonic acid is an Omega-6 fatty acid found primarily in meat and dairy. Arachidonic acid is the precursor to
immune molecules that create inflammation and can contribute to chronic inflammatory diseases such
as heart disease.
Diet high in Essential Fatty Acids
Rich in OMEGA-3 and GLA
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) because they cannot be produced in the human body and therefore they must be obtained from the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish are a direct source of EPA and DHA, two fatty acids vital for proper cellular function. EPA and GLA are precursors to immune molecules that promote a positive immune response and are the body’s strongest inflammation-reducing compounds. The American Heart
Association recommends the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids to reduce risk factors associated with
heart disease including hypertension, high triglycerides, and atherosclerosis. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce the
risk of sudden cardiac death.
Researchers from Tufts University discovered that an increase in DHA in the blood lowered the risk of acquiring dementia, which can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Medical science is working hard on finding a method of prevention for cognitive disorders today, and DHA has shown much promise. The participants in In another study conducted by neuroscientists at UCLA, researchers found out that a diet high in Omega-3 helps to protect the brain against memory loss and also provides protection against cell damage in those with Alzheimer’s disease. The study also discovered that adding Omega-3 fatty acid DHA might lower the risk of getting Alzheimer’s. The study was conducted using two separate groups of mice. One group was fed a diet that was not healthy, while the other group was given a diet rich in DHA. The result was that the group with the DHA diet performed much better in memory tests. Even though the mice were genetically predisposed to acquiring Alzheimer’s, the DHA seemed to offer mice protection against getting the disease.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do need to pay close attention. Looking at the labels of the items you buy at the grocery store is important to maintain optimum health. Reading labels can seem intimidating at first, but once you know how to do it, and how important it is, you will find yourself reading labels on everything you eat.
Omega-3 supplements: Sources, benefits and dosage. From supporting supple skin to promoting heart health, learn about the benefits of Omega-3 supplements here.
In the late 1970s, studies revealed that Greenland Inuits had substantially reduced rates of heat attacks compared with Western control subjects. These observations generated more than 4,500 studies to explore this and other effects of omega-3 fatty acids on human metabolism and health.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DHA) are two omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce the risk of death, heart attack,
stroke and abnormal heart rhythms in people who have previously had a heart attack. These effects are due, in part, to the fact that omega-3s reduce high cholesterol levels, reduce high blood pressure and help to prevent and treat atherosclerosis by slowing the development of plaque and blood clots.
The most powerful way omega-3s contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease is their effects on blood triglyceride levels. Elevated triglyceride levels have been identified as an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids at dosages between 200 and 5000 mg per day has been shown to support cardiovascular health and reduce serum triglyceride levels.
According to recent research, the extent to which omega-3 fatty acid supplementation decreases serum triglyceride levels is dependent on the dose taken. This means that the greater the intake of omega-3s, the larger the decrease in serum triglycerides.. The level of improvement in triglycerides also depends on the level at which an individual’s starting triglyceride level. This means that a person with a higher triglyceride level to begin with would see a greater reduction in serum triglyceride levels compared to someone with a lower starting level of triglycerides. Individuals with normal fasting triglyceride levels may still benefit from omega-3 supplementation.
Krill Oil boasts unique Omega-3 that can be easily absorbed into the human body much better than Fish Oil. It has also been found to contain Astaxanthin, a red coloured antioxidant that supports cardiovascular health, vision, muscle and joint function.
Omega 3 fatty acids helps in Cancer, Cardiovascular, Depression, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Psoriasis, Dry eye, Arthritis, Pregnancy.
Dr. Frank Sacks
Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
1. What are omega-3 fatty acids, and why should I make sure to include them in my diet?
Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as n-3 fatty acids) are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for health. We need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, and since our bodies cannot make omega-3 fats, we must get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with many health benefits, including protection against heart disease and possibly stroke. New studies are identifying potential benefits for a wide range of conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. What foods are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids? How much do I need to eat of these foods to get enough omega-3s?
There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets: One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), and flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA.
We do not know whether vegetable or fish omega-3 fatty acids are equally beneficial, although both seem to be beneficial. Unfortunately, most Americans do not get enough of either type. For good health, you should aim to get at least one rich source of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet every day. This could be through a serving of fatty fish (such as salmon), a tablespoon of canola or soybean oil in salad dressing or in cooking, or a handful of walnuts or ground flaxseed mixed into your morning oatmeal.
3. What are omega-6 fatty acids? Should I be concerned about the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids in my diet?
Omega-6 fatty acids (also known as n-6 fatty acids) are also polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients, meaning that our bodies cannot make them and we must obtain them from food. They are abundant in the Western diet; common sources include safflower, corn, cottonseed, and soybean oils.
Omega-6 fatty acids lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and reduce inflammation, and they are protective against heart disease. So both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are healthy. While there is a theory that omega-3 fatty acids are better for our health than omega-6 fatty acids, this is not supported by the latest evidence. Thus the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is basically the “good divided by the good,” so it is of no value in evaluating diet quality or predicting disease.
4. Is it better to get omega-3 fatty acids from food or from supplements?
Certainly foods, since the plants and fish that contain omega-3 fats have other good nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals. People who do not eat fish or other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids should consider taking an omega-3 supplement of 500 mg per day; fish oil is used in supplements, but there are also vegetarian supplements that have ALA. Studies suggest that people who have already had a heart attack may benefit from higher doses of omega-3 supplements (basically, double the 500 mg), so if you do have heart disease, consult your healthcare provider about whether taking a higher dose of omega 3s makes sense for you.
5. I am a vegetarian, so I do not consume any fish. But I get plenty of ALA in my diet, from canola and soybean oil, ground flax seed, and walnuts. How efficiently does the body convert ALA to DHA and EPA? Should I take an algal DHA supplement?
If you are getting adequate ALA in your diet from oils and nuts, I am not sure you really need to take an algal DHA supplement. As I mentioned above, the body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA; it is not known if ALA has substantial health benefits as is, or whether it must be converted to EPA and DHA to produce most of the benefits. My current interpretation of the science is that ALA is important to nutrition because it is an essential fatty acid, and that at least part of its benefits come from its conversion to EPA and DHA. I don’t advocate that vegans take n-3 supplements if they are getting ALA from vegetable oils, vegetables, walnuts, and other vegetarian sources as described above.
6. Can omega-3 fatty acids be destroyed by high-heat cooking?
Not if the oil is fresh. In fact, even in frying oil that is used for days, you still can find ALA in it.