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Omega-3 oils

Adequate Amounts of Omega-3 Oil May Help Prevent Heart Disease

Monday, April 21, 2008 by: John M. Yarlott
Tags: omega-3 oils, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) "Pathological examination of the crud in arteries demonstrates that most of the oxidized lipids consist of omega-6 [n-6] oils: corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, canola and soybean oils," states Dr. Russell Blaylock in his February Blaylock Wellness Report. According to the report it is excess sugar that causes inflammation which in turn oxidizes the lipids. Several studies have shown that reducing blood cholesterol alone does not result in significant reduction of heart disease. He further states, "A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates raises insulin levels and blood sugar levels. In time, this triggers insulin resistance and further chronic elevation of insulin levels which, in turn, triggers chronic inflammation. High blood sugar stimulates the growth of visceral fat. The increased amounts of fat triggers the release of high levels of inflammatory cytokines, which worsen the inflammation. Finally, chronically high sugar levels in the blood and tissues generate destructive elements called AGEs that accelerate the damage."

It would be useful to have a list of foods to avoid that are high in sugar, omega-6 fatty acids and refined carbohydrates. The Glycemic index is a measure of high levels of refined carbohydrates. It is a scale from 0 to 100 where 100 is the value for white bread. Low glycemic foods take longer to digest and therefore convert to sugar more slowly than high glycemic foods. A glycemic index (GI) below 55 is considered low. To see a Table of High GI food, click here (http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content-nw/full/79/5...) . The general idea is to substitute low GI foods for high GI foods in one's diet.

What are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids?

The answer can be found on the USDA website (http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/docs.htm?docid=...) as follows:

"These are types of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Linolenic acid, the shortest chain omega-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid, the shortest chain omega-6 fatty acid, are essential fatty acids. This means they cannot be synthesized by the body from other fatty acids and must be obtained from food. The most common fatty acids of each class are linolenic (18:3), EPA (20:5), DHA (22:6) for omega-3 and linoleic (18:2) and arachidonic (20:4) for omega-6. Some of the food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish and shellfish, flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil." A computer software package, KIM 'Keep it Managed' can be downloaded from the NIH website (http://ods.od.nih.gov/eicosanoids) . This software evaluates the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. A scientific discussion of physiological effects of omega-3 fatty acids can be found on the American Heart Association Website (http://216.185.112.5/presenter.jhtml?identif...) .

Another website (http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/nutriti...) offers a wonderful explanation for the need of these polyunsaturated fats in our diet. "Brain, nerves, and other tissues are dependent on omega-6 and omega-3 18-carbon fatty acid precursors which can be enzymatically desaturated and elongated to the more active 20- and 22-carbon fatty acids. Alpha-linolenic acid (18:3w3) is the precursor for synthesis of the 20 carbon eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5w3) or EPA which may be further elongated to docosahexaenoic acid (22:6w3) or DHA. Linoleic acid (18:2w6) is converted to arachidonic acid (20:4w6). Consumption of 2-4 grams of linoleic acid or 10% [Author note: 2-4 grams would be 0.9-1.8% of a 2,000 calorie diet!] of total daily energy intake from vegetable oils will provide a sufficient amount of linoleic acid to meet requirements. Linolenic acid should be consumed in 0.2-0.4 g amounts or 1% of total daily energy intake [Author note: 0.2-0.4 g would b 0.09-0.18% of a 2,000 calorie diet!].

To promote optimal utilization of both linoleic and linolenic acid, the dietary ratio should not exceed 10:1. Current intake favors linoleic acid over linolenic acid by a much higher proportion. Since these fatty acids compete for the same enzymes, the higher amount of linoleic acid interferes with utilization of linolenic acid. The result is synthesis of a higher proportion of w-6 derivative prostaglandins and leukotrienes which favor vasoconstriction, platelet aggregation, and inflammation. In contrast, w-3 derived prostaglandins and leukotrienes favor vasodilatory, antiaggregatory and anti-inflammatory effects."

In other words, a healthy diet should include at least 2-4 grams of omega-6 but should not exceed 10 times the intake of omega-3. Also, sources of omega-6 are far more abundant than sources of omega-3 which leads us to much higher ratios than 10:1 and causes adverse health. Several sources have reported ideal ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 ranging from 1:1 to a maximum of 10:1. If the ratio of w-6 to w-3 is too high, studies have shown that it can lead to dietary diseases cancer, heart, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, skin disorders, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and depression (http://www.omega3sealoil.com/Chapter6_1.html) .

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fish, flaxseed oil, and nuts. More info on omega-3 food sources is available here (http://naturalnews.com/022450.html) . A chart of over 1,600 foods high in omega-6 fats may be found here (http://jmyarlott.com/omega6s) . A chart comparing the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 can be found here (http://jmyarlott.com/Food/health/Omega3/Defa...) .

Note that Flaxseed oil is high in omega-6, however, this may be mitigated by the even higher amount of omega-3. According to Dr. Rowan in his newsletter "Second Opinion" (http://www.secondopinionnewsletter.com/index...) , flaxseed oil has been found to significantly lower blood pressure. He states: "A European study found that you can successfully treat your blood pressure with flaxseed oil. Researchers assigned 59 middle-aged men with cholesterol problems to one of two groups for 12 weeks. They gave one group supplementation with flaxseed oil, rich in parent omega-3. The other group received safflower oil supplements, rich in omega-6. Men in the flaxseed supplemented group had a significant drop in their blood pressure. The other group didn't experience any improvement."

How much sugar do we need?

So how much should you limit your sugar intake? Several health organizations suggest that added sugar should be limited to no more than 10 percent of your total daily calories. This does not include naturally occurring sugars found in fruits (fructose) and dairy products (lactose). Your daily calorie intake is a function of age, gender, weight, height, and activity level. To determine your daily calories, you can consult your doctor or in normal health circumstances visit (http://jmyarlott.com/sugar) for a daily calorie calculator. There you will also find lists of foods and their sugar content.

What natural remedies are available?

In addition to limiting sugars, managing fats and carbohydrates what else can be done? Clearly we ought to reduce the amount of visceral fats in our bodies. How to do that is beyond the scope of this article. Dr. Blaylock offers several suggestions for combating AGEs, one of the major problems created by high sugar and refined carbohydrate intake. There are supplements available that protect against AGEs such as curcumin and quercetin. Also, many plant extracts fight AGEs such as ellagic acid, berberine, green and white tea extract, silymarin, and bioflavanoid hesperidin. A recent study found that benfotiamine can reduce insulin resistance and act as an antioxidant. Instead of using polyunsaturated vegetable oils, use extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil. Dr. Blaylock uses another layer of protection by sprinkling some turmeric, cumin, ginger, or other antioxidant spices in the oil and on food. In his March 2008 Newsletter, Dr. Blaylock further suggests ferulic acid, magnesium, omega-3, vitamin C, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and vitamin E (with high gamma tocopherol) to fight inflammation.

References:

The Cholesterol Myths (http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm) , a book advertisement.

The Blaylock Wellness Reports for February and March 2008

Nutrition Health and Heart Disease (http://www.health-heart.org/acceuil.htm) is a website where all sorts of heart health tips may be found. It is like shopping at Whole Foods except there is nothing to buy.

About the author

John Yarlott developed his writing skills during his career as a Mechanical Engineer with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. His work included testing jet engines and writing the test reports for use by the design and management groups. He later worked at IBM as writer of guides for computer design. He ran technical symposiums and published the hundreds of technical reports on computer packaging. John was also a store systems engineer in IBM marketing where he wrote computer programs for customers that generated reports based on transaction data in the checkout terminals. Johnís last assignment before retiring was as a technical support engineer for IBMís database software. During retirement he wrote training manuals for Microsoft Office Products at Hill & Knowlton, a division of WPP. He wrote web based data acquisition programs that captured human resources data in a MS Access database. The firm had offices in 52 countries therefore using the Internet to communicate with the database in New York was a time saving solution. Now retired for the second time, John has turned his attention to web publishing about matters of his own interest including health, nutrition, food economics, and global energy on his personal website: http://jmyarlott.com .

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