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Omega 3 and Omega 6. Didn't Captain Kirk visit those planets? If you think that, then in the words of William Shatner, "Get a life!" And get some vitamins.
Actually, you probably already ingest more of the Omega-6 essential fatty acids than you need by eating:
* Safflower oil
* Soy protein
* Canola oil
* Sunflower oil
Americans ingest far too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3 that comes from cooked fish and fish oil. Nutritionists think the ideal ratio is 1:1. While you need Omega 6 to reinforce anti-inflammatory and anti-pain defense mechanisms as well as heart diseast, it alone isn't enough for health.
Omega 3 benefits outweigh those of simply taking Omega 6, and Omega 3 can also prevent or treat:
* Heart disease
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Ulcerative colitis
* Reynaud's Disease
A superfluity of Omega 6 without Omega 3 can actually aggravate these conditions. Ifyou must take Omega 6, opt for a fish oil suppllement that incorporates Omega 6.
After all, you need your health if you're going to dress up like a Klingon at the convention this weekend.
You remember the old joke, "If you think swimming is good for the figure, look at a duck." Or how about this one: "Have you ever seen cows drink milk? Maybe they know something."
Fish might know that fish oil and Omega 3 supplements have risks that don't outweigh the Omega 3 benefits. Omega 3 is rich in DHA and EPA that prevent diseases of the mind and body (fish is brain food).
Occasionally, Omega 3 can actually act as a blood thinner, especially if you're taking warfarin. Also, doctors don't recommend an Omega 3 fish oil supplement without vitamins C and E to prevent oxidative stress at high doses. So far, nothing you can't swim around, right?
Duck and dive: It's worth noting that Dr. Andrew Weil cautions about fish oil supplements that may contain toxins thanks to the manufacturing. Always be sure that the essential fatty acids you're buying come from a reputable dealer and not from your cousin Moonbeam's garage.
You can have a fantastic figure, feel better and think more clearly with Omega 3. But the fish, ducks and cows aren't quite so content.
It's a match-up worthy of "Shark Tale" or MOBY DICK: Fish oil goes head to head with cod liver oil. Just be sure that the fracas doesn't get out of hand or you might just hear the "Jaws" theme in the distance. The main difference between cod liver oil and fish oil is vitamin D. Cod liver oil supplements also include vitamin A, just for the halibut, whereas a fish oil supplement mainly contains Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. Some experts recommend taking cod liver oil with vitamin D only in cooler months, and Omega 3-rich fish oil in warmer months when the sun generates vitamin D in the body. If you live in California all year round, just limit your vitamin D and take Omega 3 with vitamin E to increase fat-soluble antioxidants and make sure the fish oil doesn't spoil in your body. Get the full Omega 3 benefits, but don't neglect the cod liver oil or you could have fighting fish on your hands!
Accidents always happen in threes, but so do good things. Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 are all multiples of three. Omega 9? Is Omega 9 a source of essential fatty acids? Omega 9 is actually an immune system booster and pain fighter, much like Omega 3. However, scientists caution that Omega 9, like Omega 6, may inhibit or limit Omega 3 benefits. Back to the accidents and bad luck again! Don't throw salt over your shoulder yet. A fish oil supplement with Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 will work if there is a 1:1:1 ratio--some research advocates a 5 to 1 Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratio, so your fish oil supplements with all three essential fatty acids would have a ratio of 1:5:1. Buy the right fish oil supplement and/or Omega 3 supplement. On the way back from the store, if a black cat crosses your path, throw her a fish oil supplement and you'll have good luck.
You know that all the fish in restaurants didn't volunteer to be broiled in tasty cream sauces. Unfortunately, you've ingested far too much omega 6 (although you avoid processed foods) and not enough Omega 3. You won't eat meat or fish, so what do you do to get essential fatty acids? Flaxseed oil is a great source of omega 3, but you're better off combining it with a fish oil supplement...surely, the lesser of two evils. Fish oil or cod liver oil combined with flaxseed will keep you from getting nutritional deficiencies and diseases that might, God or Goddess forbid, inspire impure thoughts of...steak. Or fish in cream sauce. So take omega 3 supplements, and if any of your friends protest, tell them you're actually doing it for the animals.
Bless my sole, it's a dilemma and I'm floundering around. Do I get my omega 3 from fish oils, supplements or a nice grilled salmon? Holy mackerel! How much fish oil do I need? Although mercury and pollution have limited the fish supply (I feel green around the gills), local health food stores will usually provide healthy, non-toxic fish so that young children and pregnant women can consume fish without PCB dangers. Sadly, most people aren't aware of the organic option and are not fish eaters, which is where fish oil comes in. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommend Americans double weekly fish consumption (the FDA advocated 12 ounces for children and pregnant women in 2004). There's no recommended daily intake of omega 3, so take supplements with a potency of 1000 mg and eat fish without mercury and PCB. After all, you're pregnant with a future school of fish and you have several little guppies who need essential fatty acids as much as you do. So tuna up your health with fish oil supplements!
Here's a shocker: Not every kid or adult with ADHD wants to be on Ritalin. The CEO of JetBlue Airlines swears it would take away his creativity. It's a sure bet, though, that he eats right. If he takes a fish oil supplement, his ADHD may be manageable without the side effects of Ritalin he fears. Who would have thought one of the Omega 3 Products benefit and actually preserve one of the benefits of ADHD, namely creativity? Kids and adults with ADHD may be missing several essential fatty acids in the brain. Fish oil with Omega 3 is thought to lessen the often frustrating effects of ADHD. Omega 3 is composed of EPA and DHA. DHA makes up the dopamine and serotonin receptors. Without them, a connection is missing. Kids and adults can't concentrate, and may act out because of the imbalance. But fish oil and fish consumption can restore the balance. You or your child may one day found a major airline of your own! Until then, you're happy having an alternative to prescription drugs and lots of worry at home.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|