The Dr. Oz Show recently aired a segment devoted to teaching us the difference between the many types of omega fats and why not knowing these differences may actually be harmful to our health! Dr. Oz and his guest, Dr. Mark Hyman, Founder and Medical Director of The Ultra-Wellness Center in Massachusetts, gives us valuable information that will help sort out our confusion on these essential fatty acids!
Why are Omega 3 and Omega 6 considered essential? Because the body cannot produce these nutrients on it’s own and they are needed to help the body perform certain important bodily functions.
So why may they be harmful to our health? As Dr. Oz and Dr. Hyman explains, the medical concern is that today’s diet contains an over abundance of Omega 6 fatty acids which are found in certain plant based oils that we all know very well; vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil , sunflower and safflower oils. They are used in processed foods and are practically in everything we buy such as cereals, peanut butter, salad dressings, baked goods, etc! As a result, we are consuming way more Omega 6 than Omega 3. Dr. Oz says this unbalance actually overpowers and cancels out the healing powers of the all important Omega 3s.
What are the all important Omega 3s ? Dr. Hyman says these are the most essential things that we need every day. It is what we as humans evolved eating. We used to eat sufficient quantities of these three essential Omega 3 fatty acids in wild animals and plants.
EPA – Best Food Sources are wild, oily, cold water fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel and fish oil supplements.
DHA – Best Food Sources are also wild, oily, cold water fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel and fish oil supplements. A vegan option source is spirulina algae, of which Dr. Oz has mentioned in various other shows may be a solution for the sustainability issue because you can grow algae pretty easily! Dr. Oz recommends that we get 600 mg (.6 g) of this Omega 3 daily.
ALA – These come from plant sources such nuts and seeds like walnuts and flaxseed, and vegetable oils such as olive and canola. Our bodies will convert ALA into EPA and DHA but not always in sufficient quantities.
Dr. Oz wants us to look on all food and supplement labels that claim to contain Omega Fatty Acids for EPA and DHA ! These are the crucial Omegas that we have difficulty getting enough of and the ones that we need! He wants us not to be duped by the Food Industry when they claim their product has “Omega Fatty Acids.” All Omega Fatty Acids are not created equal!
Why are we not consuming a balanced amount of Omega 3s ? The doctors explained that as we once used to hunt and eat wild animals that ate wild plants and grasses which in turn produced food rich in these Omega 3 nutrients, we don’t hunt and eat grassfed animals much anymore. Our modern diets consist of economical corn fed cattle and poultry. Even salmon is questionable as a lot in the market is farmed raised and as Dr. Oz pointed out Farm Raised Salmon is only as good as what the fish are fed, so if it’s eating corn, we’re only getting Omega-6 Fats! In order to maintain good health, Dr. Oz says we must be diligent in regularly seeking out rich sources of these important Omega 3 fatty acids.
What are the health benefits of consuming adequate amounts of Omega 3s ? Dr. Oz called Omega 3s “rare magic bullets in medicine.” They are essential elements to the brain and central nervous system. Dr. Hyman says our brain is 60% fat. And most of that fat is Omega 3 fat. When we don’t have enough and almost all of us don’t, it causes fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, memory issues, depression, attention focus issues. The presence of Omega 3 in our system wards off Alzheimer’s, protects against inflammation, lubricates our joints, and nourishes our skin. Human milk contains DHA, EPA, and ALA and these nutrients are essential during pregnancy and infancy for brain, neurological, and visual development.
Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis can be attributed to deficiencies in Omega 3s. To repeat Dr. Hyman, Omega 3s are what we evolved eating.
So how much do we need and how do we know we are getting enough? While Omega 6 and Omega 3s are both essential nutrients, the doctors stress that it is important to maintain a healthy balance between the consumption of each. Over consumption of the abundant Omega 6 is canceling out the health benefits of these nutrients. Dr. Hyman said the ratio of consumption used to be 2 to 1, Omega 6 to Omega 3. Now, in these modern times, we are consuming something like 20-30 to 1 Omega 6 to Omega 3!
For food labeling requirements, the FDA has not set any recommended Daily Value (DVs) to be listed on food labels.
However, The National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, in their Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients has set Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for Omega 6 and Omega 3 for genders and age groups.
You may want to use a free online nutrient calculator such as The RightTrak.com. The RightTrak.com will calculate your Recommended Daily Allowances(RDA) for your Omega Fats and the recommended Ratio while it calculates your BMI.
Spend some time on The RightTrak.com and do several food searches. You will quickly learn and understand what favorite foods are giving you the most “Nutrient Bang for Your Buck!
The RightTrak will turn Green if those allowances are met or Red if those allowances are not met.
Dr. Oz says there are blood tests you can purchase online that will measure the Omega 6 and Omega 3’s amounts in your system.
If you find you may need a fish oil supplement, beware that fish oil supplements come in varying amounts of EPA and DHA, so it is important to read the label. The better quality and more expensive fish oils will have higher amounts of these nutrients and remember Dr. Oz says to look for a DHA amount of 600 mg (.6 g)
We at ANewDayANewMe.com, have found it hard to find a brand that provides that amount of DHA in one capsule. You may have to take multiple capsules. One option below contains a vegetarian source of DHA purchased at Vitacost.com, a discount vitamin seller.
|Brand||DHA-1 capsule||EPA-1 capsule|
|Carlson Elite Omega3 Gems||300mg||400mg||120 capsules||$22.00|
|Source Naturals DHA from algae oil||200mg||0mg||120 capsules||$47.00|
|Total Daily||500mg||400mg||120 days||$69.00|
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