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The Incredible Health Benefits Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Nov 4, 2007
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient, meaning that they are required for normal growth in children. However, it is the benefits to adults that have received more attention lately. Back in 2006, the United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) gave what is called a "qualified health claim" to omega-3 fatty acids in the area of coronary heart disease. This important designation meant that there was evidence that omega 3s may reduce the risk of heart disease. It is not easy in the U.S. right now for over-the-counter supplements and nutrients to get this kind of strong backing, but perhaps this is just the beginning.

The following benefits of Omega 3s have also been suggested (please contact the author through the pages that are linked in the signature box for reference information):

- People with circulation problems, the most well-known perhaps being varicose veins, benefit from fish oil.

- Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce symptoms of ADHD in children (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).

- With Omega 3 supplementation, some children have had improved academic performance when they have previously struggled to learn.

- There have also been animal studies that have suggested that omega 3s might help decrease memory loss of people who are older

- Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to have an anti-inflammatory property that can help with neck pain and rheumatoid arthritis

- Women who ate fish containing omega 3s during their first trimester had over 3 times less risk of low birth weight and premature birth.

- Some studies have shown that there is a deficit in omega-3 fatty acids in many people with depression, and other studies have shown that omega-3 supplementation reduced depressive symptoms.

There are some people who should not take omega 3 fatty acid supplementation, so it is important that if you have a medical diagnosis you check with your doctor before taking omega 3s (For example, people with congestive heart failure and chronic recurrent angina may be told not to take these supplements).

There used to be concern that the fish oils sold for consumption, even in gels, contained heavy metals that were dangerous to your health. However, the fish oil industry has taken many steps to improve this and ensure they are safe. You can contact the maker of the supplement you are considering and ask about the current safety of their fish oil or fish oil gels.

Beyond supplements, the most widely available source of omega 3s are cold water fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines. Other fish such as tuna also contain omega-3 in somewhat lesser amounts.

Some people, particularly vegetarians and people who are concerned about the mercury and other heavy metal content, choose to take flax seed oil supplements instead of fish oil. However, while flax seed oil is six times richer than most fish oils in omega-3, the actual omega 3 chemical in flax seed oil is called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). This chemical, in turn must be converted to other forms to be fully effective in the ways mentioned above, and this process is not very efficient, especially as one gets older. Fish oil contains the end-state chemicals already, so no conversion is necessary.

It is clear that there are strong reasons to supplement with omega 3 fatty acids, and more specific benefits are being discovered every day. As always, you should consult with your health care provider before taking a nutritional supplement, so think about asking her or him about omega 3s today.
About the Author
For more information about the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, or about supplementation with omega 3s, please see either http://www.omega3fattyacids.co.uk or http://www.omega3s.co.uk
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