The Benefits Omega 3 Fatty Acids provide for a vast array of health issues is amazing. One of the secrets of these oils are their anti-inflammatory properties. While all oils provide lubrication, just like in your car, without the benefits omega 3 fatty acids bring to us, we would be as stiff as the tin man- but from the CELLULAR level on out!!
Known variously as:
these 'Essential Fatty Acids' are a vital component of the cell wall in every one of your cells in your entire body. And because they are liquid at body temperature, unlike most Saturated Fat and 'trans' fatty acids, when you get adequate amounts of n3 fatty acids, they keep your cell walls, joints, skin and just about everything else in your body supple and flexible.
"These n-3 fatty acids have been part
of the human diet for some 2 to 4 million years,
during which our genes were adapting to our environment,
including our diets.38 They are safe and have been
listed on the GRAS ("generally regarded as safe") list
according to the Food and Drug Administration in
amounts up to 3.5 g of fish oil per day."
Really the key to the benefits omega 3 fatty acids are their inflammation fighting ability. Aside from keeping cell walls healthy, most all the fish oil health benefits are due to this ONE super ability of n 3 fatty acids.
Inflammation is one of the most insidious and least understood causes of most illnesses- and it's still almost completely unrecognized as the source of these problems.
While inflammation is not the ONLY reason that we have health problems, if chronic inflammation could be eliminated, it would reduce a huge number of chronic health problems that plague westernized nations who get very little n 3 fatty acids in their diets.
The electrical system of the heart is a complex intricate machine that never stops or pauses your entire life- that is without causing some major problems. While modern medicine has created drugs and even implanted electronic equipment in order to help those people who have some of these dangerous and uncomfortable heart electrical disturbances, they don't always work so well. In fact, the side effects of some of drugs that are supposed to IMPROVE these problems can actually lead to worse and different heart rhythm disturbances.
But with the benefits omega 3 fatty acids have on the heart, these- along with magnesium supplementation- could drastically decrease the need for any implantable devices or dangerous drugs to smooth the electrical conduction system of the heart and make it less irritable. The heart rhythms that seem to be improved by Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplements are those that contribute to:
While no one is entirely sure of it, there is a hypothesis that these heart rhythms are caused by inflammation that makes the heart more irritable. And researchers and doctors seem to believe that the validity of a treatment is no good if they do not understand the reasons why the therapy works. Well, studies DO show the benefits omega 3 fatty acids have on these heart rhythms- but doctors are still not using them for that purpose despite studies concluding that n 3 fatty acids have benefits like:
• "…substantially reduced the incidence of postoperative AF [atrial fibrillation]… and a shorter hospital stay" in patients who have had open heart surgery where atrial fibrillation after surgery is a major problem. (1)
• " for individuals at high risk of fatal ventricular arrhythmias, regular daily ingestion of fish oil fatty acids may significantly reduce potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmias."(2)
• " Increased consumption of n-3 fatty acids reduces mortality from sudden cardiac death, indicating that such acids have anti-arrhythmic effects."(3)
• "…we have summarized the growing clinical evidence that these n-3 fatty acids are antiarrhythmic and can prevent sudden cardiac death in humans."(4)
• "… evidence for clinically significant antiarrhythmic properties has also been detected in association with omega-3 fatty acid intake. Arguably the most significant finding in this data set was the reduction in the incidence of sudden death in survivors of myocardial infarction."(5)
• "…Our data suggest a powerful effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the reduction of atrial tachyarrhythmia-fibrillation in these patients, without significant adverse effects."(6)
Pain conditions seem to respond well to n 3 fatty acids. There have been MANY positive studies done that show benefit to conditions such as:
These benefits, however, are not the 'get a pain and pop a pill' kind of benefits. In other words, n 3 fatty acids need to be taken over months and years in order to have positive benefits. Again, they act to help decrease inflammation and slowly, over months and years, pain that has inflammation as a contributing factor can improve.
But don't make the mistake of thinking that because these effects aren't immediate, that they are not POWERFUL. Sickle cell anemia and Rheumatoid Arthritis are some of the most painful chronic conditions that there are. If it can help sickle cell patients to have fewer trips to the hospital for a 'sickle cell crisis' then they are likely to be able to help YOUR painful chronic condition too!
While the Dangers of Saturated Fat to the heart have been exaggerated, the benefits omega 3 fatty acids have not been recognized as much as they should be. In fact the evidence is SO strong that the FDA allows n 3 fatty acids to carry a 'qualified health claim' stating,
"Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."
While that doesn't sound so exciting, the FDA rarely allows 'natural substances' to carry qualified health claims at all. So this means that there is a HEAVY weight of evidence supporting the use of Omega 3's for the heart. In fact, the 'Holy Grail' that all drugs are attempting to vie for is a decrease in 'All Cause Mortality'. While fish oils have NOT been 'approved by the FDA' to carry this health claim (nothing has as of yet)- a peer reviewed study in the medical journal 'Circulation', a publication of the American Heart Association, states:
"Evidence from prospective secondary prevention
studies suggests that EPA+DHA supplementation
ranging from 0.5 to 1.8 g/d (either as fatty fish or
supplements) significantly reduces subsequent
cardiac and all-cause mortality."
But these are not the only Benefits Omega 3 Fatty Acids have. Stay tuned for more info about n 3 fatty acids...
Research for The Benefits
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
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