Friday, July 29, 2022

opti3 omega3 - Fats That Could Save Your Life

opti3 omega3 - Fats That Could Save Your Life
Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Fats are generally perceived as negative irrespective of your lifestyle dietary choice, to be avoided not just by those trying to lose weight, but also by anyone considering a healthy lifestyle. It is true that those who include animal products in their diet typically consume more fats but it is also true that not all fats are bad! Fats are not just a source of energy which can migrate to your hips, some fats are good. Indeed, without certain fats we would fall ill and even die.

Fats maybe saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. These terms describe the chemical structure. Fats with a high proportion of saturated fatty acids are typically solid at room temperature from sources usually derived from animals e.g. lard, suet and butter. The majority of plant fats are high in either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats except palm and coconut fat which do contain high saturated components.

So called polyunsaturated fatty acids or 'PUFAs' are considered desirable fats for reasons other than providing energy and are reported to help with numerous metabolic processes including brain and eye development in the young as well as joint and cardiovascular health in adults. However many different PUFAs exist and conflicting information regarding how well the body utilizes these PUFAs are referenced. It is widely accepted that two of the most important PUFAs are the Omega 3 fatty acids 'eicosapentaenoic acid' (EPA) and 'docosahexaenoic acid' (DHA). Not a week goes by without one or both of these essential fatty acids being associated with one or more health benefits and importantly this is supported widely by many clinical studies from reputable hospitals and research organisations around the world.

So what do Omega-3 EPA & DHA do?

Omega-3 PUFAs are important for maintaining the membranes of all cells, for cardiovascular and joint health but are now associated with a host of general health benefits. Perhaps most important is the role of DHA as a major constituent of the human eye and brain tissues. The reason why the vast majority of baby milk formulas are supplemented with DHA is to ensure the healthy development of babies. Both EPA and DHA have been associated with cognitive function as well as brain development and can help with numerous disordered such as Alzheimer's, ADHD and memory improvement.

DHA represents 10 to 15% of brain total fatty acids DHA represents 97% of brain Omega-3 fatty acids, The European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) Journal 2010, 8 (3) 1461, states: • An AI (Adequate Intake) is considered as: 250 mg/day of DHA + EPA for prevention of Cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adults. (Same dose for children of 2 -18 yrs) • For children of 7 - 24 months, the AI for DHA is 100 mg/day for visual development • For women who are pregnant or lactating, an additional 100-200 mg/day of DHA is recommended

Where do Omega-3 EPA and DHA PUFAs come from?

The major dietary source of EPA and DHA is Fish, and many strict vegetarian and vegans have chosen to consume fish products such as Omega 3 food supplements to ensure getting enough of these elements in their diet. It is interesting to note that fish themselves do not produce EPA or DHA, they actually accumulate these fatty acids from consuming algae. Unfortunately fish have also been shown to bio accumulate environmental contaminants such as heavy metals (mercury, lead, cadmium etc.), dioxins and PCBs, all of which are toxic to humans and should be avoided. Both the UK government's Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the USA Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) have recommended that 'at risk groups' such as pregnant and nursing mothers should consume a maximum of two portions of fish per week due to concerns over the potential contaminants.

Can you get EPA and DHA from non fish vegetarian sources?

EPA and DHA do not occur in fruits and vegetables, however recently a number of algae derived food supplements have appeared on the market, some offering DHA only and a few offering a combination of EPA and DHA. Algae omega 3s are free from the contaminant problems associated with fish and most are certified by the UK Vegan and Vegetarian Societies. It has also been documented that two dietary PUFAs (Linoleic acid and Alpha-Linolenic acid) can be converted by the body to EPA and DHA, but it is widely accepted this conversion is poor and blood levels of either EPA or DHA arising from dietary sources is low.

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