It’s confusing to keep up with all of the essential nutrients we need in our diets to stay healthy and happy. We have many clients that need special consideration to their fat intake. We often explain the following to them so they can understand our course of treatment for the best outcome.
Omega-3 fats are essential fats that you must get from your diet. They have important benefits for your heart, brain and metabolism. Additionally, physiological benefits have been linked to Omega-3 fats such as improving heart health, supporting mental health, reducing weight & weight management, decreasing liver fat, supporting infant brain development, fighting inflammation and promoting bone health.
Omega-3 is found in abundance in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, as well as many seafoods. Vegan alternatives are also available through the consumption of flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts, however, the amount of omega-3 in these foods are far less and may not meet daily intake recommendations. There are vegan supplements made from algae that have been proven to be as effective as a meat source.
Are produced during the metabolism of Omega-3 fats. They are often the drivers of the benefits seen in omega-3 consumption.
Eicosapentaenoic acids (EPA) main function is to produce chemicals called eicosanoids, which help reduce inflammation, which is the major precursor for many chronic diseases. EPA has also been linked to the reduction and symptoms of depression.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is extremely important for normal brain development and function.
Omega-6 fatty acids are essential to the human body so they need to come from the diet as well, however, the modern Western diet contains far more omega-6 fatty acids than necessary which has been linked to many chronic diseases. These fats are often found in vegetable and seed oils and some nuts. Many deep-fried or packaged/refined products contain Omega-6 fats as well as saturated fats and trans-fats. Pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are produced when omega-6 fats are used as energy, although they are an important chemical in the immune system, when too many of them are produced they can increase inflammation and inflammatory disease states. Some omega-6 fatty acids have shown benefits in treating symptoms of chronic disease, however, they are often over-ridden by the toxicity effects due to the high intake in most diets.
Overall, it’s important to have a safe and healthy balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. It would not be recommended to take dietary supplements of Omega-6 since it is found in many day to day foods, however, it may be crucial to your health to supplement or increase your dietary intake of omega-3 fats that will intern increase your EPA and DHA intake. It’s important to discuss dietary supplementation with a health practitioner to determine what is the best treatment for you.