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omega 3: fountain of youth?

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Omega 3 supplements and foods enriched with them have a long history of being beneficial to the human body. Some people even argue that this supplement essentially serves as a modern day fountain of youth because of the multitude of benefits that effectively fend off signs of aging. Omega 3’s are the healthy and fatty acids that are found in many foods such as some fish, nuts and oils. There are three main contributors that make up the reason as to why omega 3’s are so healthy: alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Alpha-linolenic acid is one fatty acid that is considered to be essential to good health and is the counterpart to the other essential acid linoleic acid. Essential acids are classified as such because they are acids that the human body does not produce on its own, but are vital to good health and well functioning immune systems. Having a deficit of these essential acids can lead to poorer health and possibly the onset of many diseases and illnesses.

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There are a few sources from which we can obtain these necessary acids, but historically people do not ingest nearly the amount of them that is recommended by physicians and researchers. These essential acids are found in things like flaxseed, soybeans and some green vegetables such as spinach.

For those searching for ways to incorporate more Linoleic acid into their diets subtle changes in the oil one cooks with is a great way to do so as safflower, sunflower and corn oil are all vital sources of this acid.

Alpha-linolenic acid plays a crucial role in our physiological health and well being and research shows that many Americans do not consume nearly enough of it to reap the benefits. The main source of this acid would come from fish like tuna and salmon.

How Omega 3’s Work

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Each one of the cells within our body is protected by membranes which collect and divert nutrients we ingest into the cells to keep them healthy and functioning properly. These membranes are mostly made up of fatty acids; but those fatty acids have to keep their fluidity and be replenished if they are to work properly. Since the body doesn’t produce new fatty essential acids on its own, the only way to ensure that the membranes are getting fresh and consistent amounts of omega 3’s is to take omega 3 supplements or to eat the foods that contain them.

As much as 90% or more of Americans do not get their daily recommended dose of omega 3’; this is disturbing to many physicians and researchers since it is a vital source for the body. Those who do not intake enough of the omega 3’s may experience fatigue, brittle nails, thinning or dry hair, joint pain and muscle aches and difficulty concentrating.

Omega 3 and Better Health

Proper amounts of omega 3 have been linked to many studies which conclude that by taking the right amount of this fatty acid, those who suffer from ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, cancer, depression and cardiovascular disease report less severe symptoms. At the same time researchers believe that taking omega 3 may ward off many of these illnesses in the first place.

Other health ailments that may improve or not develop at all with the proper intake of omega 3’s include but are not limited to:

Multiple sclerosis

Obesity

Osteoarthritis

Osteoporosis

Psoriasis

Some research also reveals that omega 3 may very much increase our psychological well being particularly in people who suffer with depression and bipolar disorder. Those who were involved in studies who were diagnosed with bipolar and or depression reported feeling better overall relating to their moods and less instances of feeling moody, irrational and anxious.

Best Sources of Omega 3

Cold water fish are excellent sources of omega 3 and include salmon, tuna, shrimp and cod. Nuts are also a prime source of omega 3 such as walnuts and almonds. Leafy and green veggies such as kale, spinach, and collard greens also offer high amounts of this beneficial fatty acid. Green beans and soybeans are also perfect ways to get your daily dose of omega 3.

How Much Omega 3 is Enough?

The Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences regulates such acids and recommends that one’s daily intake of omega 3 should be 1.6 grams per day for men (teenagers as well) and 1.1 grams for teenage and adult women based on the recommended 2,000 caloric intake per day.

Other regulators suggest that for 2,000 caloric diets per day the amount of omega 3 can actually be increased to 4 grams per day for males and females.

Omega 3 Supplements

Other doctors encourage getting the omega 3 intake from food sources if possible, the supplements sold on the market and in stores is still a good option particularly if you don’t like the foods that are enriched with them.

Since it takes the body more time to metabolize omega 3 in pill form, taking a higher dose is usually recommended (up to 4 grams) but if you are taking at least the minimal as listed above, you are on the right track.

 

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