Omega-3-Fatty Acids Can Save Your Life

The first time research about omega-3-fatty acids was mentioned in public papers was in 1970.  However, researchers have been well aware of many of their benefits long before that. In 1936, an epidemiologist studied the Inuit in Greenland and observed that those inhabitants had a zero rate of heart disease. In 1980, Danish researchers documented the extent of health protecting properties of omega-3-fatty acids by comparing the incidence of a number of diseases in the Danish people. Compared to the Inuit, the Danish showed 9 times more cases of diabetes, 10 times more cases of heart attacks, 20 times more psoriasis cases, and 25 times more cases of asthma.

In 2005, studies showed that daily supplementation of omega-3-fatty acids helped to reduce the risk of fatal heart failure in high risk patients. In 2006 a study that had observed 340.00 participants who consumed daily 850mg of dietary omega-3-fatty-acids was published. It reported a 35%. decline in cardiac deaths, and a 45% reduction of sudden death for those who consumed the given amount of EFA.

A Japanese study in 2007 reported a 24% reduction in angina (heart pain) and a 19% reduction in non-fatal coronary events for those who daily supplemented their diets with omega-3-fatty acids.

Also, a 2004 study found evidence for an adaptive role of the Omega -3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), during stress. Mechanisms of action may involve regulation of stress mediators, such as the catecholamines and proinflammatory cytokines. Prevention of stress-induced aggression and hostility were demonstrated in a series of clinical trials.

Subjects that scored ≥ 17 on the Perceived Stress Scale were randomised into a 6-week pilot intervention study. The diet reactive group was supplemented with 6 g of fish oil containing 1.5 g per day DHA, while the placebo group was supplemented with 6 g a day of olive oil. The groups were compared with each other and a wider cross sectional study population that did not receive either active or placebo intervention.

There was a significant reduction in perceived stress in both the fish oil and the placebo group from baseline. There was also a significant between-group difference between the fish oil group and the no-treatment controls in the rate of stress reduction. However, the findings from this research support the literature in finding a protective or adaptogenic role for omega-3 fatty acids in stress.

Research is still ongoing. I am sure as time passes, we will hear many more amazing results of the properties of those crucial nutrients.

A good source of Omega-3 fatty acids is fish.  Fish with the highest amount of Omega-3 are salmon, mackerel, and sardine.  Seven to ten ounces per week should be sufficient to meet the nutritional needs.

Another excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, linolenic acid in particular, is certain plant oils, including flax seed, chia seed, hemp seed, pumpkin seed, and rape seed oils.

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