If someone tried selling you a supplement that claimed to reduce your chance of cancer, reduce asthma attacks, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, reduce cholesterol, prevent heart disease, help with depression, improve eye function, and help with sleep, you may think it a scam. Yet, these are exactly the benefits that have been found in numerous studies when participants were given increased doses of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are considered the healthiest fats and are extremely important for many bodily functions. Unlike many oils and fats in our bodies, Omega 3s are essentials fats, meaning your body cannot make them on its own. The only way for the body to obtain them is through food.
Though people know that omega 3s are somewhat beneficial to overall health, most fail to truly appreciate how crucial these compounds are for the body. They are literally the building blocks of almost all cell membranes, the outer layer that covers the cells. This covering is primarily composed of omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids with different proteins spread throughout. So if you don’t have enough omega-3s it is very difficult to produce optimally functioning cells, and therefore an optimally functioning body. This is one of the reasons why so many benefits are noted with an increase in intake.
From a Chiropractic and wholistic standpoint, omega-3 fatty acids are excellent anti-inflammatories. They even beat medications like Advil in relieving pain and symptoms in certain studies! Participants in numerous studies who suffered from back and neck pain saw great relief in their symptoms, in the groups that were given diets high in omega-3s. It is a much safer and healthier alternative to Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, whose side effects can range from ulcers to even heart attacks. These fatty acids work to relieve pain by reducing inflammation at the cellular level. They essentially send a stop signal to inflammatory pathways and help to resolve and heal the affected areas.
The best way to increase your intake of these essential fats is through the foods in your diet. When eating foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids, you are not only getting the benefits of these healthy fats, but you are also getting other vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are also key to overall health. Foods high in omega 3’s include fish (trout, salmon), nuts (almonds, walnuts) , vegetable oils (cold pressed olive oil) , and certain vegetables (winter squash, cauliflower).
If you do decide to increase your omega 3 intake through supplementation, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Whenever buying any kind of nutritional supplement first check with a healthcare professional to ensure that there will not be any adverse side effects either due to your current state of health or any medication or other supplements you may be taking. Most common contraindications are patients on blood thinners (omega 3s have the same effect).
It is also important to purchase your supplements from reputable companies that have a strong track record for purity and potency. The two companies that we use in the office for supplements are called Xymogen and Standard Process, two very respected and independently tested companies. Most supplements bottles will say two gel caps equal 1,000mg, but that is a total oil number.
Those same two gel caps may only contain 500-800 mg of the actual omega 3s. Make sure that you are reading the label and taking enough of the supplement to get at least 1,000mg of the Omega 3s per day to see the therapeutic benefits found in most studies. Almost everyone can benefit from bumping up their intake of omega-3s. Along with vitamin D, it is one of those compounds we can always use a little bit more of on a daily basis. For more information, or if you have any questions on this topic please feel free to email or call our office at any time. Stay tuned to our website for a quick video overview of this topic.
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