Sunday, January 25, 2009
Omega-3: How to Properly Increase Intake of Omega-3 with Fish Oil to Protect Against Disease
You want to increase your overall health and energy level. You want to prevent heart disease, cancer, depression and Alzheimer's. Perhaps you also want to treat rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Raynaud's disease and a host of other diseases. One of the most important things you can do for all of these is increase your intake of the omega-3 fats found in fish oil and cod liver oil, and reduce your intake of omega-6 fats.
These two types of fat, omega-3 and omega-6, are both essential for human health. However, the typical American consumes far too many omega-6 fats in their diet while consuming very low levels of omega-3. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1. Our ancestors evolved over millions of years on this ratio. Today, though, our ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 averages from 20:1 to 50:1! That spells serious danger for you, and as is now (finally!) being reported throughout even the mainstream health media, lack of omega-3 from fish oil is one of the most serious health issues plaguing contemporary society.
The primary sources of omega-6 are corn, soy, canola, safflower and sunflower oil; these oils are overabundant in the typical diet, which explains our excess omega-6 levels. Avoid or limit these oils. Omega-3, meanwhile, is typically found in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and fish.
By far, the best type of omega-3 fats are those found in that last category, fish. That's because the omega-3 in fish is high in two fatty acids crucial to human health, DHA and EPA. These two fatty acids are pivotal in preventing heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. The human brain is also highly dependent on DHA - low DHA levels have been linked to depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's. Researchers are now also linking inadequate intake of these omega-3 fats in pregnant women to premature birth and low birth weight, and to hyperactivity in children.
Sadly, though, eating most fresh fish, whether from the ocean, lakes and streams, or farm-raised, is no longer recommended. Mercury levels in almost all fish have now hit dangerously high levels across the world, and the risk of this mercury to your health now outweighs the fish's omega-3 benefits. However, because fish would otherwise be immensely healthy, I had been searching for a safe source of fish for some time. I have found a great one with Primal Nutrition's Vital Omegas. You can go to www.masterformula.com to find out more about their great products.
Routine consumption of fish oil is another highly recommended method of increasing your omega-3 intake and improving your health, and is also the most convenient for today's busy lifestyles. Fish oil contains high levels of the best omega-3 fats - those with the EPA and DHA fatty acids - and, as it is in pure form, does not pose the mercury risk of fresh fish.