Healthy Outlook: JAN 2017 Omega-3s

Healthy Outlook

January 2017

My name is Carol Koegel I am passionate and committed to learn practice and share all that I can to be healthy and whole.  I will be providing new information each month that I hope you will find useful and interesting.  I will always try to give credit to my sources and welcome any comments or questions you may have.



What are they? Do we need them? Where do we get it naturally and should I take a supplement?  These are the questions we ask ourselves regarding so many things in the nutrition world.  Before I go into details let me say that I will always propose that we get what we need from whole natural foods.  In our busy lives, sometimes it just doesn’t feel possible, so for this reason or others taking a supplement may offer a good solution.  With the supplement market, we have a slew of other questions like; does it matter which one I take, if it’s from a reputable brand? How do I know if it is a reputable product?  What about the inactive ingredients, are they necessary? How do I know how much to take? Are there dangers in taking too much?  So many questions . . . I will try to be brief but complete.

Q What are Omega-3s?

A Fatty Acids that your body needs to function like a well-oiled machine.  They also deliver some big health benefits as an anti-inflammatory.

Q Where do we find it naturally in our diets?

A Two crucial omega-3 fatty acids; EPA and DHA are primarily found in certain fish.  ALA another omega-3 fatty acid is found in plant sources such as flaxseed, walnuts and dark leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. *


Q Why do we need it?

A It may help lower the risk of heart disease, depression dementia and arthritis, lower cholesterol, and blood pressure. I believe the correct balance of omega-3 in your body to be beneficial to our overall health. They curb inflammation in blood vessels (and the rest of your body). They lower your level of blood fats (triglycerides).  They can slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels. Depression is rarer in countries where people eat a lot of omega-3s in their typical diet. These fatty acids are important in brain development and function. Some studies show it may ease the symptoms of ADHD and there are many who think it may reduce the likelihood of dementia and age-related mental decline. *

Let me go on to say it is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 in the diet! (This brings up even more questions I know) Typical American diets today contain 14 to 35 times more omega-6 than omega-3. This ratio is extremely out of balance. **

Here is a little history:  Anthropological research suggests that our ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1. This research also indicated that both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers were free of modern inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, cancer and diabetes that are the primary causes of death today. At the onset of the industrial revolution there was a marked shift in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the American diet. Consumption of 6 increased because of the advent of the modern vegetable oil industry and the increased use of cereal grains as feed for domestic livestock (which altered the fatty acid profile of meat that we consumed) ***

Vegetable Oil consumption rose dramatically between the beginning and end of the 20th century, and this had an entirely predictable effect on the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the American diet. Between 1935 and 1939 the ratio was reported to 8.4:1 From 1935 to 1985 this ratio increased to 10.3:1 ***

Oil Omega-6 content Omega-3 content
Safflower 75% 0%
Sunflower 65% 0%
Corn 54% 0%
Cottonseed 50% 0%
Sesame 42% 0%
Peanut 32% 0%
Soybean 51% 7%
Canola 20% 9%
Walnut 52% 10%
Flaxseed 14% 57%
Fish 0% 100%

The more omega-3 you eat, the less omega-6 will be available to the tissues to produce inflammation. Omega 6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega 3 is neutral. A diet with a lot of omega-3 and not much omega-6 will reduce inflammation.

Q Can I take too much and what precautions should I be aware of?

A You should take caution with some types of fish that can be higher in mercury such as shark swordfish and king mackerel and tilefish. The most common side effects from fish oil are indigestion and “fishy” after taste if they belch. Omega-3 supplements (EPA/DHA) can make bleeding more likely. If you have a bleeding condition or take medicines that could increase bleeding talk to a doctor before using any omega-3 supplement. * **

People with diabetes or schizophrenia may lack the ability to convert ALA to EPA and DHA, the forms more readily absorbed by the body. People with these conditions should be sure to get enough EPA and DHA from their diets. Also, people with type 2 diabetes may experience increases in fasting blood sugar levels while taking fish oil supplements. If you have type 2 diabetes, use fish oil supplements only under the supervision of a health care provider. **

Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should only take dietary supplements under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

Q How do I know if I l am lacking

A Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation. **

Q How much should I take?

A The American Heart Association recommends 1 gram of EPA / DHA for people with heart disease. For adults with high cholesterol levels the American Heart Association recommends 2 to 4 grams daily of EPA / DHA 2 to 3 times a week. A healthy diet consists of at least two servings a week of fish such as salmon, mackerel herring, lake trout, sardines, anchovies and tuna. (3.5 oz. of cooked fish or ¾ c of flaked fish = one serving)

Q Should I take a Supplement?

A Your body doesn’t make these fatty acids. You must eat them or take supplements.   Fish oil has both EPA and DHA. Algae oil has DHA and may be a good option for people who don’t eat fish.  Talk to your doctor about taking a supplement first. He or she may have specific recommendations or warnings depending on your health and the other medicines you take Your doctor can also recommend the right dose. *


Q What brand should I choose and does it matter?

A There is no way I can cover all the brands available or do the research it would take to do a quality comparison.  I can tell you that Old Town Natural Market & Deli, in Pagosa Springs has gone to exhaustive measures to decide on a brand to carry in the store. That brand is LIFE EXTENSION. They have been at the forefront of groundbreaking medical research for more than 35 years. They were the first to recommend the omega-3s in fish oil to promote heart health. You can see their full track record at

Life Extension’s premier Super Omega-3 fish oil product, consistently 5-star certified for purity and potency by the leading, independent fish oil testing organization (IFOS), is formulated with the same form (ethyl esters) of omega-3 fatty acids as the FDA-approved, pharmaceutical drug product, but at a superior price savings. Furthermore, multiple, high-quality human trials support the cardiovascular benefits of dietary supplementation with purified fish oil. They undergo a two-step molecular distillation process that removes virtually all impurities and contaminants such as: dioxins, furans, mercury and dioxin-like PCBs. Rather than just being cold-pressed, fish oils need to be meet high quality meeting IFOS industry standards regarding oxidation (freshness), potency (meeting label claim), and many more metrics. Other commercially available fish oils may result in oxidative degradation of omega-3 fatty acids when exposed to oxygen, high temperatures, or light, whereas our fish oil is processed under mild conditions to ensure the lowest possible oxidation content. They ensure that oxidation is minimized by performing tests to assess oxidation levels, including those for the value of peroxide, anisidine, totox, acid, absorbance, and oligomers, and the results of each are required to be well below those set in international regulatory standards. These low levels of oxidation values show that the oil has been carefully and correctly treated during storage, transportation and processing.

Additionally, our Super Omega-3 fish oil is pre-blended with olive polyphenols, mixed tocopherols, and rosemary extracts to assist in the prevention of oxidation and degradation of the material. Life Extension understands the great importance of protecting fish oil from rancidity; which is why these extra antioxidants are present in Super Omega-3 fish oil. Adding these antioxidants is like the idea of using lemon juice on freshly cut fruit. The antioxidants in the lemon juice protect the cut fruit from turning brown (oxidation) just as the polyphenols, mixed tocopherols, and rosemary protect the fish oil.

You also may be interested to note that the fish oil extract used in our product is called AlaskOmega®, sourced from Alaska Pollock. The Alaska Pollock, also known as Alaskan cod, are wild-caught in the cold, clear waters of the Bering Sea in Alaska, and are processed within a few hours of being caught to ensure freshness and optimal potency. They are produced from a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable fishery that is dedicated to sustainable harvesting practices and protection of the fishery ecosystem with highly selective fishing methods and from stocks that are neither overfished nor overexploited. The fish oils are also 100% sourced and made in the USA.

Additionally, Old Town Natural Market & Deli also carries Green Pasture supplements.  Dr. Weston Price discovered High-Vitamin Butter Oil back in the 1930’s but the pinnacle of his discovery was when he combined Cod Liver Oil with High-Vitamin Butter Oil.  Today they produce Concentrated Butter Oil, and ferment cod and skate livers to extract the oil.  Fermenting the livers of fish to extract the oil is an old-world practice. *****


**University of Maryland Medical Center

***Chris Kresser

****Life Extension


SEE FEATURED RECIPE “Coriander & Lemon Crusted Salmon with Asparagus Salad and Poached Egg” under the Recipe’s Tab



If you would like a paper copy of this edition of Healthy Outlook please let me know and I can put one in the mail to you.  I can be reached at

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