Copyright 1999-2007 by George
Constans All Rights
What Are Fatty Acids?
Fatty acids are the primary
constituents of our cells inside and out. We get fatty acids from the foods
we eat and the nutritional supplements we take.
Some of you might have heard
the term "essential" fatty acid. Omega-3 and Omega- 6, are to
date, the two essential fatty acids. Essential means the body doesn't
produce them, so we provide them through our diet and supplements.
We are learning, however,
that another essential acid probably exists. This is a long-chain fatty
acid "cetyl ester" that is also not provided by the body but is
essential for our health. In The Freedom Formula, this fatty acid is called
the CM Pure.
In the body fatty acids do
all of the following:
·They play the leading role in the
construction and maintenance of all healthy cells, more importantly the
·They serve as the cell's gatekeeper:
Operating the sodium-potassium, pump that regulates the opening and closing
of the metabolic pathways.
·Through a chemical transformation, they
become prostaglandins that protect the body against unhealthy outside
Fatty Acid Needs During
The essential fatty acids
are those that must be provided in the diet or deficiencies may result. In
humans, the only fatty acid recognized as essential in cis-linoleic acid
(LA), although there are definite requirements for alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) during fetal
development. However, there is much information to suggest that so-called
non-essential fatty acids also play a major role in health.
There has been a great
momentum to change the emphasis of the North American diet from
highly-saturated to highly-polyunsaturated or monounsaturated diets. The
effects on women, especially pregnant or lactating women, are only now
being explored. Linoleic acid is the fatty acid considered to be essential
to the diets of humans. Although alpha-linolenic acid is still not
considered an essential nutrient in the United States, it is now a
required ingredient in Canadian infant formulas. There is mounting evidence
that both linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are important to fetal
health, as are their conversion products (eicosapentaenoic acid,
docosahexaenoic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid, cervonic
acid). These important conversion products are found in breast milk but not
in infant formulas.
(DHA)…appears to be the most important omega-3 fatty acid when it comes to
Research has shown that red
blood cells are the chief carriers of DHA from the placenta to the fetus.
Maternal consumption of DHA results in DHA accumulation in fetal brain
tissue and this increases times in the last trimester and again as much in the
first 3 months of life. DHA is also important for normal visual development
and studies have shown that premature infants supplemented with fish oils
have better vision than non-supplemented infants by four months of age.
Studies have also shown that infants that are formula-fed have less DHA in
their brains than do those that have been breast-fed.
Human milk is an excellent
source of DHA if the mother has eaten adequate amounts of seafood during
pregnancy or taken fish-oil supplements. Breast milk contains the fatty
acids needed by infants who were not born prematurely. It is now known that
premature infants may not be able to make the conversion of alpha-linolenic
acid to DHA fast enough to meet the needs of their rapidly growing brain
tissue. Pre-term infants fed formulae need supplementation with specific
fatty acids, including those found in fish oils <and in high quality Emu
Oils> since these are currently not found in infant formulae.
A pregnant women can ensure
that her developing fetus obtains adequate amounts of DHA by regularly
consuming seafoods, especially fatty fish and shellfish. Poultry,
<Emu> and the oils of safflower, flaxseed, soybeans and canola
provide a source of alpha-linolenic acid. Supplementation with fish oils is
also helpful and should consist of about 250-300 mg DHA two to three times daily,
Supplementation should only
be done under the guidance of a health care provider. Breast feeding of
infants is recommended since breast milk contains DHA, EPA, and
alpha-linolenic acid. Infant formulas contain only alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and can lead to
deficiency states, especially in premature infants.
Cis-linoleic acid (LA) is
the only recognized essential fatty acid in humans. Women on vegetarian
diets tend to have high levels of cis-linoleic acid in their breast milk.
By contrast, women consuming very-low-fat diets may have as little as 1% LA
in their milk, a value below the essential fatty acid requirement of the
Recently, there has been
some interesting research to suggest that allergies (hay fever) can be
diminished in the young if mothers are supplemented with a source of
gamma-linolenic acid such as the oils of evening primrose, borage, or
blackcurrant. It is believed that supplementation of the mother with these
products helps normalize the development of the immune system of the child
during a critical period when allergic tendencies first start. Thus, when
the mother is allergic herself, supplementation of mother and child with a
source of gamma-linolenic acid (e.g., evening primrose oil, borage oil) for
the first three months of the infant's life might induce regular immune
system development, thereby preventing allergies (hay fever) later in life.
The recommended dosage of GLA varies from 30-300 mg daily.
Some preliminary animal
studies suggest that fish oil supplementation of the mother also affects
the developing immune system of the offspring. Any woman considering fatty
acid supplementation should speak with her heatlh care provider.
Good Fat and Stroke
Could it be? There's a good
fat that can help reduce your risk of stroke? Researchers say
The good fat is called
alpha-linolenic acid and is found in walnuts, <Emu>, soybean oil and
canola oil. Alpha-linolenic acid is a polyunsaturated fat and must be
provided in our diet because our body can't produce it. Researchers found
that higher levels of this fatty acid was associated with a lower risk of
stroke. The scientists studied middle-aged men who had a high risk of
stroke or other cardiovascular disease.
Physicians at UT
Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and other health experts say people
who smoke, have high blood pressure and are overweight, have a higher than
average risk of stroke. The fatty acid study concluded that increasing the
intake of alpha-linolenic acid lowered the risk of stroke significantly.
Researchers don't know
exactly how the fatty acid works to lower the risk. But they do know that a
family of fatty acids that come from it, called the omega-3 fatty acids,
help reduce clotting in the arteries. Stroke is caused by arterial clots
which block blood flow to the brain.
Researchers say the key to
stroke prevention is to eat a balanced diet featuring a variety of fruits
and vegetables, keep your blood pressure low and avoid smoking.
Omega 3 fatty acids:
-Polyunsaturated fatty acids
(PUFAs) play a critical role in maintaining good health and ensuring normal
-PUFAs are made up of chains
of fatty acids that differ in length and the number and position of double
bonds. These differences determine PUFAs' biological properties.
-Saturated fatty acids
contain no double bonds.
-Monounsaturated fatty acids
contain one double bond.
-PUFAs contain more than one
-Molecules with the first
double bond between the third and fourth carbon atom from the methyl end
are called omega-3 or n-3 fatty acids. Those with a double bond between the
sixth and seventh carbon atoms are known as omega-6 or n-6 fatty acids.
-Fats provide energy, form
part of the membrane surrounding each cell and are precursors of
prostaglandins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes.
-We need to obtain two key
PUFAs - linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid - from our diets. These are
the 'essential' fatty acids that the body converts into other PUFAs.
-Eating 200 to 300g of oily
fish weekly or 4-8g of fish oil daily fulfills the dietary requirements.
But some patients may need to increase their intake.
-Babies, pre-term infants
and pregnant women need LC-PUFAs to ensure normal development of the brain
and other nerve tissues.
-People with a personal or
family history of heart disease or circulatory problems may also benefit
from a higher omega-3 PUFA intake.
-People suffering from
rheumatoid arthritis often find increasing consumption of omega-3 PUFA
reduces pain and stiffness.
-Omega-3 PUFAs may alleviate
infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis and diaper dermatitis (nappy rash),
protect smokers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and reduce the
likelihood of relapse in Crohn's disease.
-Still to be confirmed roles
for PUFAs include treating pre-menstrual syndrome, diebetes, multiple
sclerosis, migraine, depression and cancer.
Omega 3 and Asthma
Anyone who struggles with
asthma is all too familiar with the breathlessness, wheezing and coughing
brought on by an attack. Since these aversive symptoms appear to be caused
largely by leukotrienes, the search is on for remedies that will antagonize
leukotriene synthesis. Enter another potential use for fish oil - in one
study, large doses brought about the formation of less aggravating
leukotrienes in asthmatics. But Walter C. Pickett, Ph.D., senior research
biochemist at Lederle Laboratories in New York, who was involved in this
research, notes that it's not yet known whether the change in leukotrienes
helps alleviate asthma symptoms.
One expert speculates that
Eskimos may have a low incidence of asthma because they have hefty amounts
of omega-3 fatty acids in their diets continuously from birth. Possibly,
marine oils have an impact in the early stages of asthma - before
asthmatics are sensitized to substances that bring on attacks. Dr. Pickett
agrees it's conceivable that eating fair amounts of fish starting early in
life may influence the later development of asthma.
Prevention April 1990
Omega 3 and Pregnancy
According to Crawford
(1995), the first pregnancy-related need for PUFAs (both omega-6 and
omega-3) occurs during the three months prior to conception. This critical
period for cell commitment and division requires ARA and DHA to facilitate
growth and development. It has been suggested that supplementation with
fish oil, or increased fish intake, during pregnancy prevents the
pregnancy-induced hypertension, prolongs gestation, increases birth weight
and reduces the incidence of premature birth (Gerrard, et al, 1991, Olsen
et al, 1992). Recent data support the view that the intake of DHA during
pregnancy should be in the amount of at least 0,1-0,4g/day (Crawford,
DHA is important for optimal
nervous system development. During the last trimester of pregnancy, when
the fetal demand for neural and vascular growth are greatest, there is an
elevated accretion of DHA in the liver and brain of the fetus. A maternal
diet high in DHA will greatly enrich the DHA concentration in the blood of
the newborn infant. Even levels as low as 0,7g EPA+DHA/day during the
period from 25th to 35th week of pregnancy seem to be beneficial (Connor et
DHA levels in maternal
plasma are lower in multigravidae compared to primigravidae and the smaller
the baby, the lower DHA-level (Al et al, 1995). Consequently, it is
therefore especially important for multigravidae to increase the intake of
During pregnancy, blood
lipids, triglycerides and cholesterol may rise several folds. There may
also be an increase in blood pressure. The risk of developing pre-eclampsia
and subsequent premature birth is increased if these, otherwise normal
changes are increased above certain levels. Severe forms of
pregnancy-induced hypertension have been reported to be beneficially
modulated by omega-3 fatty acids (Secher et al, 1991). In light of their
very strong hypotriglyceridemic and hypotensive effects, omega-3 fatty
acids along with other nutritional factors, may be significant for the
prevention of pre-eclampsia. The maternal blood pressure responses depend
on the ARA/EPA ratio in the vessel wall. Multicenter studies are currently
in progress and the first results are expected to be available primo 1997.
In the meantime, it would generally seem prudent to recommend an increased
intake of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy. EPA will benefit the
mother's heart and circulation, and DHA will definitely be good for the
development of fetal brain and nervous system.
OMEGA-3 and Disease
fatty acids (PUFAs) could help prevent and treat a wide range of diseases,
according to studies presented during the International Conference on
Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids in Nutrition and Disease Prevention in Barcelona. And a
leading expert predicted that the role of essential fatty acids generally -
and omega-3 PUFAs in particular - will grow still further.
"The appreciation that
omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in human development, physiology
and in the treatment and prevention of certain diseases, is a recent
phenomenon," said William Connor, Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland. "The
papers presented during this conference shows the diversity of roles that
omega-3 fatty acids play in human development and disease."
Dr. Connor reminded
delegates that omega-3 fatty acids are critical components in the membranes
of nerves, retina and brains. As a result, ensuring an adequate dietary
intake of omega-3 PUFAs and other essential fatty acids -which cannot be
synthesised by the body - is important. The daily requirement is probably
around a teaspoon of essential fatty acids a day.
"The signs of omega-3
deficiency in infancy are subtle," Dr. Connor said. "For example,
omega-3 fatty acid deficiency in infants can translate into impaired
vision, abnormalities on the electroretinogram - which measures retinal
nerve function - and behavioural changes such as polydypsia (excessive
thirst), hyperactivity and perhaps less cognitive ability. Some of these
changes have been described only in subhuman primates."
Fetuses receive omega-3
fatty acids from the maternal diet and new-borns from human milk. "So
it's clearly essential for pregnant and breast feeding women to ensure
their dietary intake of omega-3 PUFA is adequate," Dr. Connor added.
"For example, the synthesis of docosahexaenoic acid from
alpha-linolenic acid is sluggish in new-born babies. As docosahexaenoic
acid is critical for neural function, membranes and growth it should likely
be included in infant formulas."
Dr. Connor commented that
other preventative roles for the omega-3 fatty acids have emerged over the
last 20 years. "The list of diseases in which omega-3 fatty acids from
fish and fish oil may play a role is so large that cautious skepticism may
be warranted," he said. "Nevertheless, the data is fairly
convincing. Omega-3 fatty acids seem to reduce certain symptoms associated
with rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, some skin conditions
and cardiovascular diseases ranging from hypertension, through
atherosclerosis, to hyperlipidaemia and cardiac arrhythmias. And the list
grows longer each year. There are undoubtedly still some interesting
discoveries waiting to be made in this very exciting field."
International Conference on
Highly unsaturated fatty acids in nutrition and disease prevention - Press
Omega 3 and
Numerous studies show that
increased long term intake of marine oils, rich in EPA and DHA, reduces the
morbidy and mortality associated with cardiovascular disorders in
middle-aged men. Conflicting data exist as to whether it is EPA or DHA, or
the combination which is responsible for the various beneficial effects. in
any event, it is known that there may be limits to the elongation and
desaturation of EPA to DHA, whereas the retroconversion of DHA to EPA
Harris et al., Grimsgaard et
al., 1995 It is generally agreed that omega-3 fatty acids moderate
hyperlipidemia, particularly hypertriglyceridemia, very rapidly in a dose
dependent manner. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the triglyceride levels in the
blood by a reduced synthesis and secretion of VLDL particles from the liver
and enhances the in vivo liposysis of the VLDL-particles. An improved
balance between LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol is also normally found,
whereas the effect on total cholesterol is marginal. A large number of
studies report such findings.
Omega-3 fatty acids
influence on platelet aggregability at rather low doses (50-350mg), whereas
significant effects on blood lipids and blood pressure can be achieved at
higher doses (2g/day).
Christensen et al, 1995
Recent data (from a parallel
group study) show that 3 g pure DHA (95% DHA, ethyl ester) produce a 30-40%
greater reduction in triglyceride levels in plasma than a corresponding
amount of EPA (90% EPA, ethyl ester). DHA also seems to have a more marked
effect on increasing HDL-cholesterol, whereas EPA was found to slightly
decrease both total cholesterol and APO-1 in normal subjects (Grimsgaard et
al, 1995). This study suggests that DHA might be more beneficial than EPA
in terms of effects on blood lipids. Others have reported that DHA-rich
oils (4g/day, 42% DHA) are less active than EPA-rich oils and fish diet on
both fasting and postpprandial triglyceride levles.
A positive correlation has
been observed between supplementation with EPA and DHA (85% ethyl ester)
and improvements in blood pressure and heart rate in subjects suffering
from mild hypertension. Recently published studies showed that DHA (EE),
not EPA (EE), lowered the heart rate in healthy humans.
Bönaa el al, 1995
Even short time
supplementation with large amounts (19g/day) of a combination of EPA and
DHA (as ethyl esters) has shown to have long-lasting effects on the human
platelet aggregation, an effect suggested by inhibition on TXA2/PGH2
receptor by EPA and/or DHA-sensitive mechanisms.
Di Minno et al, 1995
Studies on cardiac
arrhythmias do not give any clear evidence on the efficacy of omega-3 fatty
acids. However, a trend towards reduction in ventricular extracystoles in
patients with ventricular tachyarrhythmias has been observed after
supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids (Christiansen et al, 1995). Animal
studies show that DHA may inhibit ventricular tachyarrhytmias more
significantly than EPA (Leaf, 1995), and also increases the cardiac
Grynberg et al, 1995
Recent data also show that
DHA has more pronounced inhibitory effect on the expression of cytokines in
endothelial cells, which clearly downregulate the inflammatory process and
may inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis.
DeCaterina & Libby, 1995
Epidemiological and clinical
research have shown that omega-3 fatty acids intervene in the
atherosclerotic process at all steps, and that there probably are
synergistic effects of EPA and DHA at many levels.
Omega 3 and Infants
-DHA is essential for normal
eye and brain development An inadequate supply of DHA (in some cases also
ARA) during CNS development gives cause for concern because of possible
long-term effects on visual and cognitive functions. Some researchers also
suggest that DHA deficiencies during this rapid period of development cause
irreversible damage to the brain and nerve tissue. Since fetuses and
newborns have improper enzyme system to elongate alfa-linolenic acid to
DHA, they must rely on the pre-formed DHA in the mothers milk (or
alternatively - DHA supplemented milk formula).
Preterm. The intrauterine
accretion of DHA (and ARA) is vital for the growth and development of the
infant. Preterm infants and babies with intrauterine growth retardation are
often born with deficiencies of these fatty acids.
DHA deficiencies have shown
to lead to visual dysfunction and suppressed mental and psycomotoric
development, whereas it has been suggested that decreased ARA-levels in
blood reflect slightly suppressed growth (Carlson et al 1993). There is no
doubt that DHA is essential for the preterm baby (1350 ) or even that short
term DHA supplementation influences visual acuity at age of 12 months. It
has been suggested that DHA supplementation (0,2% DHA) increases the speed
of visual processing in preterm infants (Carlson et al 1995). It is
currently recommended to fortify preterm formula with DHA and ARA in
amounts of: 60-100mg ARA/kg bodyweight/day and 35-75mg DHA/kg
bodyweight/day (ISSFAL Board meeting 1994).
Cod Liver Oil and
Arthritis <Emu Oil is Similar*>
Long before it emerged as a
possible remedy for heart disease, fish oil was used to treat arthritis.
Maurice Stansby, veteran fish-oil researcher and scientific consultant to
the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, uncovered documents
indicating that, in the late 1700s, personnel from a hospital in
Manchester, England, routinely dosed arthritis patients with cod-liver-oil
supplements to help their "squeaky joints." Stansby surmises that
the fish-oil tradition was lost to history because it was so
unpalatable-the only time patients would take their tonic was when it was
forced upon them by attendants. No wonder, when cod-liver oil of the day
was extracted from rotten fish livers!
Interests in treating
arthritis patients with fish oil was rekindled by the finding that
manipulating fatty acids in the diets of arthritic animals was beneficial.
A link with fish oil was also suspected because of evidence that
leukotrienes and thromboxane (a product of prostaglandins) are involved in
the kinds of inflammatory reactions causing the painful symptoms of
arthritis. Accordingly, Harvard researchers decided to test out the effects
of fish oil in people who have rheumatoid arthritis, a form of arthritis
that can be severely disabling. Richard Sperling, M.D., and his coworkers
found a lowering of inflammatory biochemical, along with a decrease in
joint pain and tenderness, in rheumatoid arthritis patients who took
fish-oil supplements. Although the results are considered preliminary since
no control group was involved, Dr. Sperling thinks that fish oils have the
potential to act as anti-inflammatory drugs.
Support for Dr. Sperling's
hunch comes from research conducted at AlbanyMedicalCollege, in New York. Joel
Kremer, M.D., found "modest" improvements in some symptoms of
rheumatoid-arthritis patients who were on fish-oil capsules compared to a
group of similar patients who did not take the supplements. The problem
with this study is that the patients who took the capsules were also on a
special diet, making it difficult to know whether fish oil or something
about the diet was responsible. In a more recent study, Dr. Kremer placed
people with rheumatoid arthritis on fish-oil supplements, but no special
diet. Compared to a period of time in which they took a placebo (an inert
supplement, often called a "sugar pill"), the fish-oil takers
suffered significantly less joint tenderness and reported less fatigue.
It's important to note that, although there appeared to be overall
improvement in other symptoms of arthritis such as duration of morning
stiffness and joint swelling, the effects of fish-oil supplements were not
Thus, fish oil cannot be
viewed as any sort of a panacea for arthritis sufferers. Furthermore, the
small amount of research that has been conducted in this area has involved
large amounts of fish oil. Dr. Dreamer's patients, for example, took 10 to
15 fish oil capsules a day-surely a pharmaceutical dose. He issues words of
caution when it comes to taking fish-oil supplements. But he does recommend
that people who have arthritis eat more fish. At the very least a fish-rich
diet can help keep weight down-an important move to minimize stress on
weight-bearing arthritic joints.
Prevention, April 1990
Omega 3 & Omega 6
Working on her doctorate,
Svanhild Arentz Schønberg at the University of Science and Technology at
Trondheim, Norway, has confirmed that poly-unsaturated fatty acids from
fish <and Emu> is able to kill cancer-cells, writes the magazine
Gemini. These fatty acids are called Omega-3 and Omega-6.
There are also clear
indications that these fatty acids can help patients suffering from
psoriasis, and it is established knowledge that they greatly reduce the
risk of developing heart-diseases.
… Svanhild Arentz Schønberg
warns against high intake of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. - A certain
dose is good for you, but large doses may turn into a poison for the body,
Omega 3 and AIDS
3-polyunsaturated acids decrease the production of certain
cytokines--proteins which regulate immune response--they may improve
conditions associated with AIDS, such as cachexia.1 AIDS patients often
exhibit significantly reduced levels of essential and metabolic fatty
acids.2 One group of researchers even proposed that a deficiency in
gamma-linolenic and/or eicosapentaenoic acids makes an individual more
susceptible to develop AIDS. They argued that because these important fatty
acids exert anti-viral effects and indirectly modulate immune response,
they are potentially important in the treatment and prevention of AIDS.
The Essential and Metabolic
Fatty Acids Analysis identifies levels of 43 individual fatty acids and
determines 9 crucial fatty acid ratios, establishing a clear and solid
foundation for designing and monitoring an effective supplement program.
1 Razzini E, Baronzio GF.
Omega-3 fatty acids as coadjuvant treatment in AIDS.
2 Begin ME, Manku MS,
Horrobin DF. Plasma fatty acid levels in patients with acquired immuned
deficiency syndrome and in controls. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty
Acids 1989;37(2):135 7.
3 Begin ME, Das UN. A
deficiency in dietary gamma-linolenic and/or eicosapentaenoic acids may
determine individual susceptibility to AIDS. Med Hypotheses 1986;21(1):1-8.
Nutrition News BY HOLLY
Omega 3 and Dementia
Boost Your Brain Power With
Omega-3s Can one of the omega-3 fats in fish fight Alzheimer's disease? In
a study of more than 1,000 people (average age 75), those with high blood
levels of an omega-3 called DHA were more than 40% less likely to develop
dementia (including Alzheimer's) over the next nine years than people with
low DHA levels. One theory why: We know the brain latches onto DHA -- its
favorite fat -- to help build membranes around nerve cells; possibly the
more DHA, the easier it is to zap messages from cell to cell.
Experts advise eating a
weekly serving of fish rich in omega-3s. (A piece of salmon the size of an
audiotape will do.) New option: Neuromins, a supplement with 100 milligrams
DHA per capsule. One daily dose supplies about as much DHA in a week as
you'd get from that one serving of salmon. Bonus for vegetarians: Neuromins
is made from tiny sea plants, which is where fish get their omega-3s. It's
the first supplement with a nonanimal source of this omega-3. (The other
omega-3 in fish is EPA -- which acts as a blood thinner and calms symptoms
of inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Fish and fish-oil
capsules have both DHA and EPA.)
Omega-3 fatty acids slow
heart disease NEW YORK, Apr 05 (Reuters Health) -- Omega-3 fatty acids, as
found in fish oils, are "modestly" effective in slowing the
progression of fatty buildup in the arteries of patients with heart
Is Depression a Dietary
There are two types of
essential fatty acids—omega-3s (linolenic acids) and omega-6s (linoleic
acids). Both are necessary for health. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in
many vegetable oils, including soybean, safflower, corn, sunflower, flax,
and walnut oils . Omega-3 fatty acids occur in flaxseeds, hemp,
borage, pumpkinseeds, walnuts, and several cold-water fish. The modern diet
has an estimated 14:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, compared to
a 6:1 ratio consumed by people on a traditional, pre-industrial diet.
British researchers suspect
that a lack of omega-3s may be responsible for some cases of depression.
They examined the fatty acid composition of red blood cell membranes in
both depressed patients and non-depressed controls. The depressed group had
significantly fewer omega-3s, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), than
the control group.
The lower level of omega-3s
found in the cells of depressed patients may be due to greater oxidative
damage of cell membranes, indicating that these people have inadequate
antioxidant defenses. Another study found that patients suffering from more
severe depression had lower levels of fatty acids and lower dietary intakes
of omega-3s than those with milder cases of depression.
Researchers suggest that
supplementation with omega-3s might be of therapeutic value for those
suffering depression. Based on information in:
Journal of Affective
Disorders, 1998, Vol. 48 p. 149
Omega 3 and Bones
Purdue research shows
omega-3s benefit bone
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. --
Add another star to the list of health benefits associated with omega-3
fatty acids. RecentPurdueUniversity
research shows that they also help bones grow.
"Past research showed
that eating more omega-3 fatty acids could decrease coronary heart disease
risk and might decrease chances of getting certain cancers," says
Purdue food science professor Bruce Watkins, "but our research is the
first to suggest that omega-3s improve bone growth."
Watkins spoke Sept. 18 at a
National Institutes of Health (NIH) conference on "The Return of
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Into the Food Supply." He also co-chaired a
session of the conference.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one
of two major types of polyunsaturated fatty acids in our diet, according to
the Food and Drug Administration. The other type, omega-6 fatty acids, are
common in corn, soy and safflower oil. Omega-3s are found in large quantities
in fish, soybean oil and canola oil. It's their presence in those foods
that has prompted some nutrition experts to recommend that people eat fish
once or twice a week to decrease heart disease.
Watkins, who also presented
his research this month in Cincinnati at the 19th annual meeting of the
American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, found that bones of animals
fed increased amounts of omega-3 fatty acids showed improved formation
rates and were stronger when compared to bones of animals in a control
group. Watkins did studies with both rats and chickens.
Bones grow in response to
the actions of muscles, Watkins says. When you use your muscles, they send
chemical signals to your bones that tell the bones how to form or re-form.
"But if the right
chemicals aren't there, bones may not respond as quickly or as well,"
What you eat determines
which chemicals are in your body to carry signals from muscle to bone. And
one of the chemicals we need is the group of fats called omega-3 fatty
"This is most important
for the young, whose bones are growing and changing at a rapid rate,"
Watkins says. He stresses that young children especially need to eat a
variety of fats.
"Right now there are no
national recommendations on amounts of omega-3 fatty acids people should
include in their diets," Watkins says, "although studies have
shown that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain and retinal
development in infants, that they improve immune functions, they alleviate
arthritis symptoms and inflammation, and they lower the risk for
representatives who attended the NIH conference reported that they have
found ways to increase levels of omega-3 fatty acids in eggs, chicken,
pork, beef and dairy products by changing the animals' diets, according to
Watkins. Omega-3-enriched eggs already are available in Canada, Australia
and the southwestern United
Source: Bruce Watkins, (765) 494-5802; e-mail,
Writer: Rebecca J. Goetz (765) 494-0461; e-mail
New research shows that
supplementation of omega~3 and omega~6 fatty acids -- found mostly in
seafood, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines and lake trout <AND EMU>
-- may help alleviate symptoms of several mental and behavioral disorders
and promote neurological development in infants, researchers said in a
session (Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Health and Disease,
Thursday, October 30) at the 80th Annual Meeting and Exhibition of The
American Dietetic Association (ADA), at the Hynes Convention Center
In a study conducted at
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., researchers treated patients
suffering from cognitive impairment and schizophrenia with low-dose
supplementation of omega~3 fatty acids for six months and found enhanced
mental function and orientation ability in these patients. For those with
schizophrenia, the supplementation significantly alleviated symptoms,
according to researchers.
"Omega~3 fatty acids
constitute a major part of brain and nerve lipids. They are vital to the
proper function of brain and nerve tissues," said Louise Peck, Ph.D.,
R.D. (registered dietitian), of Purdue's department of foods and nutrition.
Peck said differences in the
prevalence of major depression have been linked to differences in the dietary
intake of omega~3 fatty acids in several well-known epidemiological
studies. And, Peck said increased risk of depressive and suicidal behaviors
are associated with low concentrations of omega~3 fatty acids, or
docosahexaenoic (DHA) in blood plasma.
She and fellow researchers
studied a population of school-age children in central Indiana and found
that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) had
significantly lower levels of omega~3 fatty acids in their blood. Long-term
effects of omega~3 supplementation on children with ADHD are still being
investigated, according to Peck.
Susan Carlson, Ph.D.,
professor of nursing at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, who has
been studying children's neurological development for many years, said
trials involving supplementation of omega~6 fatty acids on pre-term and
term infants have resulted in enhanced visual function.
"Since omega~6 fatty
acids constitute half of neurological fatty acids in the retina and the
brain, pre-term babies who are fed formulas miss the opportunity to
accumulate omega~6 fatty acids from human milk," Carlson said.
"Data from several trials on pre-term and term infants suggest that
the higher concentration of omega~6 fatty acids resulted in enhanced infant
She noted that longer and
large-scale trials are needed to further confirm the findings of omega~6
fatty acids on children's neurological development, immunity and growth,
and to address the issues of safety and efficacy when supplementing infant
nearly 70,000-member American Dietetic Association is the nation's largest
organization of food and nutrition professionals. Based in Chicago, ADA
serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being.
* Relates to studies done in relation to emu oil alone that are annotated