With all the hype about fat-free foods, you may find it hard to believe that fats are actually essential to your health, but they are! Fats are necessary for our bodies to function properly. But not all fats are equal. Omega-3 fatty acids are the healthy fats that are hard to come by. They are essential fats, which means that the body must get them from food because it can’t make them. Foods containing Omega-3s include fish, vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.
The list of benefits of omega-3 oils is a long one, indeed: Stronger hearts, calmer and smarter brains, healthier pregnancies, smarter and healthier babies, successful children, slimmer bodies, smoother skin, improved vision, stronger bones, less inflammation, stronger immune systems, faster wound healing and slowed aging. To hear an audio on The Power of Omega-3s by clinical nutritionist, Jim McAfee, go to healthspiritlife.com/media/audios/.
Sadly, due to widespread deficiencies in the American diet resulting from the way we process our food and our poor food choices, it is virtually impossible to get enough omega-3s in our diet and it has become necessary to supplement. There are literally thousands of research papers on the benefits of fish oil supplementation.
NeoLife’s Salmon Oil Plus is an excellent choice, delivering standardized amounts of all eight omega-3 fatty acids (most fish oil supplements only have two) in ultra-high potency. It has an advanced technology called “molecular differentiation”, which reduces burping and fish odor, and is screened for over 200 potential contaminants with an allowable detection limit of ZERO, making it the most pure product on the market.
Both EPA and DHA deliver significant benefits for the heart. “Omega-3 oils decrease the stickiness of blood platelets, dramatically reduce triglyceride levels, decrease the thickness of the blood, decrease the tendency to form clots, and increase the health of arterial walls.”1
While omega-3s are especially important for the development of babies’ brains during pregnancy, these oils are vital for brain function at any age. “They have been shown to increase test scores of students who supplement, decrease the risk of postpartum depression, improve mood by upregulating serotonin, relieve bipolar symptoms, decrease the aggressiveness and irritability associated with stress, improve dyslexia and attention deficit, protect the brain from alcohol damage, improve concentration, increase the speed with which we are able to think, improve learning, preserve mental functioning into old age, and decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia as we age.”2
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Canadian researchers found that infant girls whose mothers received DHA supplements from their fourth month of pregnancy until delivery were less likely to have below-average visual acuity at 2 months of age than infant girls whose mothers did not receive the omega-3 supplements.
Several studies indicate omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent degeneration and dry eye syndrome in adults. They may also assist in proper drainage of intraocular fluid from the eye, decreasing the risk of high eye pressure and glaucoma.
Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in the body’s ability to respond to leptin, a key hormone involved in obesity that is responsible for signaling the body that we are full and need to stop eating. There are other factors important for proper leptin function, such as adequate sleep, exercise and a low intake of sugar. Sugar is a major cause of leptin surges, contributing to leptin resistance and weight gain.3
EPA plays a major role in preventing some of the complications of autoimmune diseases. Omega-3 oils have also been shown to benefit Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Interestingly, a study published in 1998 found that mice on a fish oil diet lived twice as long as normal, producing half the normal levels of harmful auto-antibodies as they aged and manifesting lower than normal inflammation. They had no kidney disease, which typically affects this breed of mice and low blood cholesterol levels.4 “Fish oil is the only nutrient of which I am aware that has been shown in an actual study to prolong life as effectively as fasting.”5
It is clear that supplementing the diet with omega-3 fatty acids offers great promise for people of all ages. They benefit the whole body, literally from head to toe!
1Harris, William S., and Connor, William, “The Effect of Salmon Oil upon plasma lipids, lipoproteins, and triglyceride clearance, Transactions of the Association of American Physicians, xciii, 1980, 148-155.
2 Carper, Jean, Your Miracle Brain, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000, 82-104.
3Winnicki, M., et al., Fish-rich diet, leptin, and body mass, Circulation, July 2002; 106(3):289-91.
4“No-fault fat: More praise for fish oil, Science News, October 8, 1988.
5McAfee, Jim, “Omega-3 Breakthrough”, Image Awareness Wellness Institute, May 4, 2006, Volume 2: Issue 5.