New Castle News

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September 26, 2013

Lori Brothers: It’s time to get hooked on fish oil supplements — for reel

NEW CASTLE — For a long time, I was faithful in eating milled flax seed or taking flaxseed oil.

It is a source of getting the essential fatty acids necessary to balance health. It has a nutty flavor, which I enjoy, and it’s good for me.

 I waffled with my fish oil. Sometimes I took it, sometimes I didn’t.

As my triglycerides began to rise, I found that plant-based essential fatty acids don’t have the same effect as the “marine-derived” varieties. Plants deliver the essential fatty acid ALA that has to be converted in our body to the primary good fat, DHA. I needed consistency.

The benefits of reducing triglycerides, decreasing inflammation, reducing formation of blood clots, lowering blood pressure, preventing irregular heartbeat and stabilization of heart rhythm and reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death, make fish oil supplements regularly worth considering.

Further benefits may include brain health, decreased depression, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, improved immune function, reduced risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers.

Caution should be taken if you have congestive heart failure or chronic recurrent angina or advanced impaired cardiac function. If you take blood thinners such as heparin or Coumadin you would have to work with your doctor to adjust your dosages. Always consult your physician.

There are three kinds of fatty acids:  Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA), EicosoPentaenoicAcid (EPA). Plant-derived sources contain ALA, a precursor to DHA and EPA. Sources include flax seeds, chia seeds and other vegetable sources. The marine-derived sources contain DHA and EPA. Sources include fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine, a service of the National Institute of Health, suggests the following doses of essential fatty acid supplements, to impact specific health issues. You will have to study labels to find the suggested dosage you are looking for, as different products deliver different combinations, and guidelines vary for each health issue.

For high triglycerides, 1 to 4 grams/day of fish oil; for high blood pressure: either 4 grams of fish oil, or a fish oil supplement providing 2.04 grams of EPA and 1.4 grams of DHA per day; for atrial fibrillation, eating tuna or baked or broiled fish providing omega-3 fatty acids one or more times per week seems to reduce the risk of atrial fib in patients aged 65 or older. For reducing the overall risk of death and risk of sudden death in patients with coronary heart disease, fish oil providing.03 to 6 grams of EPA with 0.6 to 3.7 grams of DHA; for keeping veins open after coronary bypass surgery, 4 grams fish oil containing EPA 2.04 grams and DHA 1.3 grams.

For treating asthma, 17 to 26.8 mg EPA and 7.3-11.5 mg DHA; for preventing childhood allergies, maternal ingestion of fish oil 4 grams daily, providing 32 percent EPA and 23 percent DHA with tocopherol, during late-phase of pregnancy.

For preventing and reversing the progression of hardening of the arteries, 6 grams/day of fish oil for the first three months, followed by 3 grams/day thereafter; for rheumatoid arthritis, fish oil providing 3.8 grams/day of EPA and 2 grams/day DHA; for painful menstruation periods, a daily dose of EPA 1080 mg and DHA 720 mg; for depression, along with conventional antidepressants, fish oil 9.6 grams/day.

I still eat chia seeds several times per week for their health benefits. I also enjoy milled flax seeds in smoothies or recipes such as the one listed today.

It turns out that woman can convert the ALA into the DHA our bodies need 2.5 times more effectively than men. So go for it ladies. Eat the plant-based omegas for the added benefits. Your hubbies won’t get the same impact of benefits, but a healthy snack is far better than an unhealthy snack. Then, reach for your right dose of fish oil supplements daily.

I do.

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