Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids. They cannot be created by our bodies; we must get them from food. They are essential for normal brain development, communication and vision. In recent years, they have been in the spotlight because of their apparent positive protective roles in arthritis, hypertension, cancer and heart disease.
Fish oil contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), both omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids,along with those found in flaxseed oil (alpha linolenic acid), keep blood triglycerides in check and may inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis. EPA and DHA keep the blood from clotting too quickly and they have anti-inflammatory activity. They also modulate immune function; perhaps this effect has yielded preliminary evidence that fish oil has helped prevent some types of cancer in both animals and humans.
So called “primitive” diets have much higher levels of EPA and DHA than do modern diets. As a result, many researchers and doctors believe that most people who eat a typical Western diet are likely to be consuming less than optimal amounts.
** At least four studies have reported a reduced blood level of omega-3 fatty acids in people with depression.
** People with rheumatoid arthritis have been found to have decreased levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their joint fluid and blood.
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