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  Fish Oil / Krill  
 
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The practice of giving cod liver oil began when the smoke-filled skies of nineteenth-century England deprived youngsters of exposure to the sun. Without sun, their bodies couldn't make vitamin D, and they developed rickets. Because cod liver oil contains large amounts of vitamin D, it cured rickets and made a great contribution to public health. Today, however, other constituents of cod liver and other fish oils have become of interest: the omega-3 fatty acids. Subsequent investigation found that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can lower blood triglyceride levels, thin the blood, and also decrease inflammation in various parts of the body. These effects, as well as others, may explain many of fish oil's apparent benefits.

Typical dosages of fish oil are 3 to 9gm daily, but this is not the upper limit. In one study, participants ingested 60gm daily. Often there is a digestive disturbance that prevents some people from using fish oils. There are preparations which are coated to overcome this difficulty.

The most important omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). In order to match the dosage used in several major studies, one should probably take enough fish oil to supply about 1,800mg of EPA and 900mg of DHA daily. Certain conditions require a predominance of EPA while others require DHA. Since they compete with each other, careful attention must be paid to their ratio in those conditions which are discussed elsewhere.

Some manufacturers add vitamin E to fish oil capsules to keep the oil from becoming rancid. Another method is to remove all the oxygen from the capsule.

Cod liver oil preparations are much easier to take these days than when we were growing up. They come in flavors such as lemon and orange, making them very easy to take. However, buying a bottle of cod liver oil would seem to be much less expensive than taking fish oil capsules. A tablespoon of flavored cod liver oil may have 500mg of EPA and 350 of DHA. There may be 23 servings in a 12 ounce bottle of cod liver oil. Capsules vary in their EPA / DHA content but may average only 1/4 or 1/5th of the amount in a tablespoon of cod liver oil. Keeping this in mind may help determine if one form turns out to be better priced than the other.

For example, if a bottle of cod liver oil is $12.00, then it would take at least 100 plus capsules to provide the same amount of EPA and DHA. If the capsules cost more than $12.00, then the bottle of cod liver oil would be a better buy. You will need to make your own caculations based upon the amount of EPA and DHA in the capsules you are considering. Caution: Some cod liver oils contain high concentrations of vitamin A. When shopping for naturally occurring vitamin A and D, check the label and make sure the ratio of A:D is 10:1 or less. There are many good sources available.

Questions: How does the absorption of EPA and DHA differ between consuming fish oil supplements and just eating fish?

Answer: EPA, and especially DHA, is much better absorbed from fish than fish oil.

This means that we would need as much as nine times less DHA from fish to obtain the same amount of DHA from fish oil. Put another way, we’d need as much as nine times more DHA from fish oil to obtain the same amount of DHA from fish.

However, taking fish oil capsules with a high-fat meal can greatly improve the absorption of EPA and DHA, nearly making it the same as getting your EPA and DHA from a fish meal. This is likely due to the presence of other fats activating the body’s fat absorption mechanisms.

Side effects: The most likely is to be indigestion, especially if you have a problem digesting fats. People have reported fishy burps, and with prolonged use, a fishy odor from their skin. Some experience diarrhea. Most people do not experience intolerable side effects beyond the fishy burps and mild indigestion. Enteric coated preparations may or may not help someone having these side effects. Those who have used both fish oil and krill oil report that while fish oil supplements sometimes leave a fishy aftertaste, krill oil does not.

Anyone who may have any allergy to seafood would be wise to avoid or try these supplements with caution. Those who are on blood thinners are advised not to use fish oil or krill oil before consulting a physician. The only EPA/DHA fatty acid supplements are those made with fish oil, krill oil, or microalgae (phytoplankton).

Krill oil is another very good source of EPA and DHA and is becoming more readily available as a valuable source of these Omega-3 fatty acids. It is also high in protective phospholipids and potent antioxidants, which make it an ideal source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are subject to rancidity. Fish oil and flax are weak in antioxidant content. Further, the phospholipids found in krill oil aid in the absorption of the essential fatty acids which are present. Being harvested from extremely cold waters and being toward the bottom of the food chain, Krill does not contain contaminants like mercury or PCBs that fish or fish oil may. So, fish oil is good, but krill oil is even better, though more expensive.

"The oil extracted from Antarctic krill is far from just another source of omega-3," says Dr. Sampalis. One reason is that the omega 3 fatty acids in krill are in phospholipid (vs. triglyceride in fish) form. Phospholipids are the building blocks of life; the basic constituents of the cell membrane that envelops each cell in your body and brain. Thus, the omega-3s in krill oil can cross the blood-brain barrier and easily penetrate the cells. (Fish oil's omega-3s must be converted by the body in two difficult steps, making the omega-3s about 30% less bioavailable.) "Phospholipids are also a source of choline, which is a highly important molecule that composes the neurotransmitter acerylcholine. This is what makes phospholipids so important for your brain and nervous system," she explains. Dr. Sampalis adds that there are other phospholipid products on the market, but krill oil is the only one whose fatty acid profiles are optimized for the human brain.
 

 
 

Fish Oil / Krill can help with the following:
 
 
Aging  Alzheimer's Disease
 Scientists have discovered the mechanism by which the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils can help protect the brain against the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), preformed in fish oil, reduces the levels of a protein known to cause damage in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. They also discovered that a derivative of the fatty acid called neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) is formed in the human brain, and is essential in protecting against brain cell death. [Journal of Clinical Investigation September 8, 2005]

A number of epidemiological studies have shown that eating fatty fish provides a certain degree of protection against Alzheimer's and other dementia diseases - an effect often thought attributable to the omega-3 fatty acids it contains. Some studies also suggest that omega-3 can have a therapeutic effect on some psychiatric conditions.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University have now examined whether omega-3 supplementation has any effect on the psychiatric symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease. Just under 200 patients with mild Alzheimer's were divided into two groups, one of which received omega-3, and one a placebo. The study lasted for one year.

There was no observable difference in therapeutic effect between the patients receiving the omega-3 and the placebo group. However, when the researchers took into account which of the patients carried the susceptibility gene APOE ?4 and which did not, an appreciable difference appeared. Carriers of the gene who had received active treatment responded positively to the omega-3 as regards agitation symptoms, while non-bearers of the gene showed an improvement in depressive symptoms. [International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, doi 10.1002/gps.1857 Published online 21 June 2007]

[Scotsman.com News April 6, 2008] Eat your omega-3's if you want to avoid getting Alzheimer's. In part, that's the moral of the story out of new research from Aberdeen University which has found that patients whose diets are high in omega-3 oils do better in mental tests than those who do not have the oils in their diet.

Calling the discovery a "major breakthrough" in the fight against Alzheimer's, the article in The Scotsman explains how the study was conducted using 58,000 Scots who suffer from the condition.

Lead researcher, Lawrence Whalley, professor of mental health at Aberdeen University, said: "Ten years ago this would have been science fiction. What we are touching on here is how nutrients can interact with specific genes in the body."

The red herring (excuse the pun) appears to be a crucial gene some individuals possess called APOE e4 that prevents the omega oils from having a healing or preventive effect. Unfortunately, those individuals must pursue other avenues of treatment.

Whalley said: "What emerges from this research is that if you don't have this gene, omega-3s can make a difference. The next big thing will be to identify what factors can influence how these genes can be switched on and off, and also what to do if you have the gene."

Maureen Thom, information manager for Alzheimer Scotland, said: "It's a very welcome and interesting piece of research, very thorough. I would like to see it developed and have results analyzed for a larger number of people. We do advise that everyone should try to stick to a healthy lifestyle and consume omega-3 oils as part of a healthy diet."

Please see the link between and Lecithin/Choline also.

  Senile Dementia
 Please see the link between Senile Dementia and Essential Fatty Acids.

Autoimmune

  Multiple Sclerosis / Risk
 Please also see the article about the approach that Fred Klenner, MD used with MS.

Circulation

  Hypercoagulation (Thickened Blood)
 See the link between Hypercoagulation and EPA.

  Increased Risk of Stroke
  Hypertension
 In a review of 36 clinical studies, just under 4gm of fish oil per day was associated with modest reductions in both systolic and diastolic pressure, especially if subjects were older and had hypertension. [Journal of Hypertens 2002;20(8): pp.1493-1499]

  Arrhythmias/Dysrhythmias
 Residents of a nursing home took either a daily two-gram fish oil supplement or soy oil supplements for six months. Those who took the fish oil did not experience any decline in heart rate variability. In contrast, those who took the soy oil experienced only "marginal, nonsignificant" benefits.

The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish oil could, therefore, act as a preventive measure against arrhythmia and sudden death, especially among those exposed to ambient air pollution. [American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine December 15, 2005; 172(12): 1534-1540]

Diet

Not recommended for:
  A Raw Food/Fruitarian Diet
  A Vegetarian Diet
  A Vegan Diet

Hormones

  Elevated SHBG
 A Japanese study examined how the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA (found in high concentrations in fish) affected SHBG levels in men 43 to 88 years of age. After controlling for other variables, the researchers concluded that both EPA and DHA decreased levels of SHBG in middle-aged and elderly men. [Nutr Canc. 2000;38(2):163-67]

Inflammation

  Chronic Inflammation
 In addition to suppressing inflammatory cytokines (please see the link between Chronic Inflammation and DHA), the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help suppress the formation of prostaglandin E2 and to promote synthesis of prostaglandin E3 - thus reducing inflammation.

Mental

  Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD / ADHD)
 Fish oil improves the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) without any of the side effects of drugs like Ritalin and Concerta -- and more effectively, a study by the University of Adelaide in Australia found.

When 130 children between the ages of 7 and 12 with ADHD were given fish oil capsules daily, behavior dramatically improved within three months. Further:
  • After seven months, the children were not as restless and showed improvements at school
  • Improvements in concentration and attention improved by one-third
  • After 15 weeks, 30-40 percent of the children taking fish oil had improvements
  • After 30 weeks, 40-50 percent improved
  • Children taking placebo capsules were later switched to fish oil and subsequently also experienced improved behavior.
Improvements were still being seen after the study ended, which suggests the fish oils may have long-term effects. When the researchers compared their results to studies of Ritalin and Concerta for ADHD, they found that fish oils were more effective. [The Daily Mail June 20, 2006]

  Depression

Metabolic

  Methylation, Insufficient
  Methylation, Excess
  Problem Caused By Being Overweight
 An Australian study has determined that daily doses of fish oil containing omega-3 fats can, when combined with exercise, act as an aid to weight loss.

The study examined 68 overweight and obese people over a period of three months. They were divided into four groups: one that took fish oil but did no exercise, one that exercised (45-minute walks or running three days a week) but took no fish oil, one given both, and one given neither.

Those who both took fish oil and exercised lost an average of 4.5 pounds over the course of the study, even though they were given no dietary restrictions. None of the other groups lost any weight at all. The combination worked because the omega-3s increased fat-burning ability by improving the flow of blood to muscles during exercise.
Omega-3s have also been shown to boost brain functioning and cut the risk of stroke. [The Age July 31, 2006]

Musculo-Skeletal

  Osteoarthritis
 Fish oils that contain omega-3 fatty acids have been found, in various studies, to help reduce the inflammation associated with some types of arthritis. These forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, are characterised by inflammation. The fish oil works by reducing the number of inflammatory 'messenger' molecules made by the body's immune system.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating at least two fish meals a week - in particular fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines which contain the most omega-3. Alternatively, fish oil supplements are a convenient way to ensure a regular therapeutic dose. Supplements also have the added advantage of being purified of mercury, toxins and heavy metals.

Nervous System

  Huntington's Disease
 Huntington's disease is a devastating illness caused by over-expression of the protein huntingtin. The mechanism of the damage is unknown. There is evidence of increased membrane breakdown and oxidative damage to neurons. This may be associated with excess activity of phospholipase (PL) A2.

Eicosapenaenoic acid (EPA) is an inhibitor of PLA2, A randomised, placebo-controlled double-blind trial of 2gm per day of the 97% pure ethyl ester of EPA, also known as LAX-101, was performed over a 6 month period in patients with end-stage Huntington's disease.

The overall condition of each patient was assessed on the Unified Huntinngton's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) and the brain of each patient at the beginning and end of the study was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Eight patients entered the study but one died prior to randomisation.

At the end of the study, four patients were rated as deteriorated and three as improved. The four patients who deteriorated were on placebo while the three who improved were on ethyl EPA.

All patients had MRI scans at the beginning and end of the study but, because of the movement disorders, the before and after pairs were evaluable in only four patients. In the two patients on placebo, ventricular size had increased, indicating disease progression. In contrast, in the two patients on ethyl-EPA ventricular size decreased consistent with some recovery of brain mass.

Ethyl-EPA is the first treatment shown to be beneficial in Huntington's disease in a placebo-controlled study. Whether fish oil, which contains EPA, would be beneficial or not remains to be seen.

Nutrients

  EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement

Organ Health

  Dry Eye
 Komal A. Trivedi, MD, of Harvard's Schepens Eye Research Institute, and colleagues asked whether fish oil protects from dry eye syndrome. Trivedi's team analyzed data from 32,470 female health professionals in the huge Women's Health Study.

They found that women whose diets had the most omega-3 fatty acids, as measured by how much fish they ate, were least likely to have dry eye syndrome. Those whose diets had the most fish oil were less likely to have dry eye syndrome than those whose diets had the least fish oil. [Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2003, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 4-9, 2003]

  Diabetes Type II
 Four grams of fish oil per day reduced triglyceride levels and increased favorable HDL-2a and HDL-2b cholesterol levels in 42 patients with type 2 diabetes. [Diabetes Care 2002;25(10): pp.1704-1708]

However, recent trials suggest that TOO MUCH fish oil could actually worsen diabetic control. In one study, the use of purified EPA and DHA (fatty acids found in fish oil, and made by your body from Omega 3 fats) at 4gm per day over a 6 week period increased the blood sugar in diabetics, without affecting insulin levels. Caution should be exercised regarding consuming TOO MUCH and blood sugar should be monitored closely if using LARGE DOSES of supplemental fish oils. [AJCN, November 2002 Vol. 76, No. 5, pp.1007-1015 ]

CONVENTIONAL DOSES OF FISH OIL SHOULD BE FINE, EVEN IN DIABETICS. The results of a meta-analysis of 18 trials conducted over a 10-year period show that fish oil supplementation for patients with type 2 diabetes lowers triglycerides but has no statistically significant effect on blood sugar control.

  Macular Degeneration
 One component of fish oil is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA builds up in the eye near light-sensing nerve cells.

National Eye Institute researcher John Paul SanGiovanni, ScD, and colleagues analyzed dietary data from 4,513 60 to 80 year-old participants in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Those who ate fish more than twice a week were half as likely to get macular degeneration as those who ate no fish at all. More than one weekly portion of broiled/baked fish or tuna lowered the risk by a third.

"The risk for [age-related macular degeneration] was significantly decreased for the highest versus the lowest quintiles of total [omega-3 fatty acids] intake," SanGiovanni and colleagues write in their abstract. [Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2003, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 4-9, 2003]

Risks

  Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack
 In a study involving analysis of blood samples from subjects who had been taking fish oil daily for six years and subjects who had not been taking fish oil, researchers conclude that the ratio between EPA and arachidonic acid (AA) may be a new index used to predict the risk of sudden cardiac death. In this study, blood samples collected from both groups of subjects were analyzed for levels of various fatty acids. Of the six different indices calculated, the one which looked at the ratio between EPA and AA was found to show the largest difference between the groups, ranging from as low as 5 in the non-fish oil group to 118 in the fish oil group. 70% of subjects in the fish oil group were found to have an index of 50 or greater. The researchers propose that subjects with an EPA/AA index below 50 should increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids in order to reduce their risk of sudden cardiac death. [Ups J Med Sci, 2006; 111(2): 169-77]

  Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer
 Several studies have shown an inverse relationship between blood levels of fish oils (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) and the risk of prostate cancer. A study by medical researchers at the Karolinska Institute confirms this association. [The Lancet, Vol. 357, June 2, 2001, pp. 1764-66 (research letter), British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 81, No. 7, December 1999, pp. 1238-42]

See also the link between Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer and Essential Fatty Acids. Reference is made here about the value of fish oil in protecting from advanced prostate cancer.

  Increased Risk of Basal Cell Skin Cancer
 Please see the link between Basal Cell Skin Cancer risk and Essential Fatty Acids.

  Increased Risk of Alzheimer's / Dementia
 Studies indicate eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, may fend off Alzheimer’s. To arrive at this conclusion, researchers studied older mice genetically engineered to develop the disease. The mice were divided into two groups: One group was fed a diet rich in docosahexanoic acid, or DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid found in various types of coldwater fish, and the other group was fed a low-DHA diet; such diets have been associated with impaired mental functioning.

Within five months of the study, a 70% less buildup of amyloid protein, which makes up the plaques in the brain famously attributed to Alzheimer’s, was detected in mice that were fed a diet rich in DHA-fortified foods. These results coordinate with the team’s previous findings that DHA was responsible for protecting the brains of mice from synaptic damage, enabling them to perform better on memory tests. [The Journal of Neuroscience March 23, 2005 25(12): pp.3032-40]

Scientists have discovered the mechanism by which the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils can help protect the brain against the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), preformed in fish oil, reduces the levels of a protein known to cause damage in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. They also discovered that a derivative of the fatty acid called neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) is formed in the human brain, and is essential in protecting against brain cell death. [Journal of Clinical Investigation September 8, 2005]

Two additional studies found that in healthy individuals that a diet high in fish and fish products is associated with better cognitive performance. Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids were associated with less decline in the speed-related cognitive domains.

It often takes decades for dementia to develop and brain volume to shrink. These studies of the benefits of omega-3 fats on brain function offer an opportunity for early intervention to maintain your brain function and slow progression to dementia. [American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86(5), 1259-1260, November 2007]

[Scotsman.com News April 6, 2008] Eat your omega-3's if you want to avoid getting Alzheimer's. In part, that's the moral of the story out of new research from Aberdeen University which has found that patients whose diets are high in omega-3 oils do better in mental tests than those who do not have the oils in their diet.

Calling the discovery a "major breakthrough" in the fight against Alzheimer's, the article in The Scotsman explains how the study was conducted using 58,000 Scots who suffer from the condition.

Lead researcher, Lawrence Whalley, professor of mental health at Aberdeen University, said: "Ten years ago this would have been science fiction. What we are touching on here is how nutrients can interact with specific genes in the body."

The red herring (excuse the pun) appears to be a crucial gene some individuals possess called APOE e4 that prevents the omega oils from having a healing or preventive effect. Unfortunately, those individuals must pursue other avenues of treatment.

Whalley said: "What emerges from this research is that if you don't have this gene, omega-3s can make a difference. The next big thing will be to identify what factors can influence how these genes can be switched on and off, and also what to do if you have the gene."

Maureen Thom, information manager for Alzheimer Scotland, said: "It's a very welcome and interesting piece of research, very thorough. I would like to see it developed and have results analyzed for a larger number of people. We do advise that everyone should try to stick to a healthy lifestyle and consume omega-3 oils as part of a healthy diet."

  Increased Risk of Melanoma
 VALHALLA, NEW YORK. The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma is growing rapidly among persons with fair skin. It is estimated that one in 75 Americans will develop melanoma within their lifetime. Melanoma has a pronounced tendency to spread to other organs (metastasis) and the 5-year survival rate for metastatic melanoma is less than 10%. There is growing evidence that diet can influence the risk of developing melanoma. It is now believed that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids stimulates the growth of melanoma and other cancers whereas omega-3 fatty acids suppress the growth of cancer cells.

Researchers at the New York Medical College and the American Health Foundation have just released the results of a laboratory experiment which clearly shows that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a main component of fish oil, is highly effective in inhibiting the growth of human melanoma cells. The researchers treated 12 different human metastatic melanoma cell cultures (in vitro) with DHA and found that more than 50% of them stopped growing. They urge further testing of their findings in full-scale clinical trials involving patients with melanoma. They conclude that “if DHA is capable of suppressing cell and tumor growth and metastatic potential in in vivo models of melanoma, a clinical trial of DHA would be warranted as an adjuvant to current surgical and chemotherapeutic interventions”. [Cancer Research, Vol. 60, August 1, 2000, pp. 4139- 45]

"Epidemiological, experimental, and mechanistic data implicate omega-6 fat as stimulators and long-chain omega-3 fats as inhibitors of development and progression of a range of human cancers, including melanoma." [ Cancer Res 2000 Aug 1;60(15):pp.4139-45]

  Increased Risk of Squamous Cell Skin Cancer
 Please see the link between Squamous Cell Skin Cancer risk and Essential Fatty Acids.

Tumors, Malignant

  Prostate Cancer
 Omega-3 fatty acids appear protective against advanced prostate cancer, and this effect may be modified by a genetic variant in the COX-2 gene, according to a report in Clinical Cancer Research, March 2009.

"Previous research has shown protection against prostate cancer, but this is one of the first studies to show protection against advanced prostate cancer and interaction with COX-2," said John S. Witte, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California San Francisco.

For the current study, researchers performed a case-control analysis of 466 men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and 478 healthy men. Diet was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire and researchers genotyped nine COX-2 single nucleotide polymorphisms.

Researchers divided omega-3 fatty acid intake into four groups based on quartiles of intake. Men who consumed the highest amount of long chain omega-3 fatty acids had a 63 percent reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared to men with the lowest amount of long chain omega-3 fatty acids.

The researchers then assessed the effect of omega-3 fatty acid among men with the variant rs4647310 in COX-2, a known inflammatory gene. Men with low long chain omega-3 fatty acid intake and this variant had a more than five-fold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. But men with high intake of omega-3 fatty acids had a substantially reduced risk, even if they carried the COX-2 variant.

"The COX-2 increased risk of disease was essentially reversed by increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by a half a gram per day," said Witte. "If you want to think of the overall inverse association in terms of fish, where omega-3 fatty acids are commonly derived, the strongest effect was seen from eating dark fish such as salmon one or more times per week."

See also the link between Prostate Cancer and Essential Fatty Acids.

Uro-Genital

  Motherhood Issues
 In one study, participants were given 15gm flaxseed oil daily for 12 weeks. Quantities of EPA, DPA, DHA or total omega-3 fatty acids did not increase in plasma or erythrocytes. Moreover, after the flaxseed oil supplementation was stopped, ALA concentrations in the blood and breast milk reverted to the original concentrations. On the basis of this study, flaxseed oil is not an ideal source of fatty acids for breast-feeding mothers. Fish oil, containing preformed EPA and DHA, is a better source of these fatty acids than flaxseed oil for mothers breast-feeding their babies. [AJCN January 2003 77: pp.226-233]

  Possible Pregnancy-Related Issues
 The incidence of preterm delivery was reduced more than 3 fold by the consumption of 15gm (1/2 ounce) of fish (or 500mg of fish oil) per day compared to women who ate none. Since it has been demonstrated that consumption of Omega 3 oil does increase EPA but not DHA in the breast milk of women eating it, using flax seed oil alone to achieve the effect of fish oil, which contains EPA and DHA, may not work to prevent preterm deliveries. [Brit Med J 2002;324: pp. 447-450]
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
Avoid absolutely







GLOSSARY

Allergy:  Hypersensitivity caused by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen), resulting in an increased reactivity to that antigen on subsequent exposure, sometimes with harmful immunologic consequences.

Antioxidant:  A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.

Choline:  A lipotropic substance sometimes included in the vitamin B complex as essential for the metabolism of fats in the body. Precursor to acetylcholine, a major neurotransmitter in the brain. Choline prevents the deposition of fats in the liver and facilitates the movement of fats into the cells. Deficiency leads to cirrhosis of the liver.

DHA:  Docosahexanoic Acid. A metabolite of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid.

Diarrhea:  Excessive discharge of contents of bowel.

EPA:  Environmental Protection Agency. Also: Eicosapentanoic Acid. A metabolite of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid.

Essential Fatty Acid:  (EFA): A substance that the human body cannot manufacture and therefore must be supplied in the diet.

Fatty Acids:  Chemical chains of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms that are part of a fat (lipid) and are the major component of triglycerides. Depending on the number and arrangement of these atoms, fatty acids are classified as either saturated, polyunsaturated, or monounsaturated. They are nutritional substances found in nature which include cholesterol, prostaglandins, and stearic, palmitic, linoleic, linolenic, eicosapentanoic (EPA), and decohexanoic acids. Important nutritional lipids include lecithin, choline, gamma-linoleic acid, and inositol.

Flax:  Flax Seed or Flax Oil. Flax oil is nutty-flavored oil that is pressed out of flax seeds and is one of the richest sources of Essential Fatty Acids (especially Omega-3 oil), a vital element for good health. The oil making process removes many of the seed's phytoestrogens which offer several health-related benefits including reducing the risk of cancer and alleviating menopausal symptoms. Many choose to use the whole seed because of its fiber and lignan content. Flaxseed oil is light- and temperature-sensitive and must be stored in the refrigerator.

Gram:  (gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.

Milligram:  (mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

Nervous System:  A system in the body that is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, ganglia and parts of the receptor organs that receive and interpret stimuli and transmit impulses to effector organs.

Neurotransmitters:  Chemicals in the brain that aid in the transmission of nerve impulses. Various Neurotransmitters are responsible for different functions including controlling mood and muscle movement and inhibiting or causing the sensation of pain.

Phospholipid:  A fat or lipid containing phosphorus found in high quantities in the brain and very important to the function of cellular membranes and to the nervous system.

Rickets:  Vitamin-D deficiency characterized by abnormal calcification of bone tissues.

Tablespoon:  (Tbsp) Equivalent to 15cc (15ml).

Triglyceride:  The main form of fat found in foods and the human body. Containing three fatty acids and one unit of glycerol, triglycerides are stored in adipose cells in the body, which, when broken down, release fatty acids into the blood. Triglycerides are fat storage molecules and are the major lipid component of the diet.

Vitamin A:  A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Plays an important part in the growth and repair of body tissue, protects epithelial tissue, helps maintain the skin and is necessary for night vision. It is also necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin A only, 1mg translates to 833 IU.

Vitamin D:  A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood by improving their absorption and utilization. Necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin D only, 1mcg translates to 40 IU.

Vitamin E:  An essential fat-soluble vitamin. As an antioxidant, helps protect cell membranes, lipoproteins, fats and vitamin A from destructive oxidation. It helps protect red blood cells and is important for the proper function of nerves and muscles. For Vitamin E only, 1mg translates to 1 IU.