The Skinny on Fats

Do you know the “skinny” on fats? There are two different omega 3-fatty acids that come from cold-water fish: one is called EPA, the other DHA. Another essential fatty acid comes from either flax, hemp or walnut oil. EPA, DHA and flax in certain ratios are natural anti-inflammatories that are VERY well-documented in the literature.

Omega 6’s are saturated fats from processed vegetable oils, red meat, and transfats. While omega 6’s are essential (you must get them from the diet, the body cannot make them), the typical American diet is laden with linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that never needs to be supplemented. Omega 6’s are more rigid than omega 3’s. For instance, butter (an omega 6) is solid at room temperature and thus more solid inside your body . Fish oil, however, is liquid at room temperature. And EPA & DHA—the crucial oils from cold water fish—-are still liquid at freezing temperatures (it’s a natural anti-freeze for coldwater fish)!

So EPA and DHA are more fluid and flexible than fried fats or butter. This fact is important when looking at individual cells in your body. Every cell covering is made out of a special complex fat (called a phospholipid). The cell covering is supposed to be a fluid, flexible membrane. Molecules that are SUPPOSED to get into cells CAN when the cell membrane is fluid and flexible enough. But when the cell membrane is stiff from the traditional Western diet fats (fried foods, snack foods, red meat, dairy), molecules CAN’T get in easily.

For instance, serotonin, a mood hormone, can’t get in (easily), thus the use of anti-depressants to bombard the brain with serotonin. The brain is 60% phospholipids and when there is a lack of omega-3’s, the brain doesn’t work right: coordination, normal ability to think, and nerve development can be altered or inhibited.

Through piles of research, a very exact combination and dosage of omega 3’s and their cofactors have been developed for maintaining good health. You need a supplement that contains at least a 2:1 ratio of EPA: DHA. Many formulas of fish oils that I found at Whole Foods only had 3:2. A GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is also needed as a carrier molecule (this is a special Omega 6 that needs to be supplemented). GLA comes from evening primrose oil, borage oil or black currant seed oil. Natural Vitamin E in (d-alpha tocopherols) is necessary. And then an excellent source of antioxidants is needed to combat the oxidative stress. The fish oil must be distilled for purity because all fish are contaminated with heavy metals.

An excellent fish oil formula is available in my office–one bottle of Nutriwest comes with 90 500 mg oil capsules. (The co-factors are separate.) Prices at Whole Foods don’t compare to this product; they didn’t contain the GLA, meaning you’d have to buy that separately; the dosages were SMALL, meaning you would need LOTS of pills per serving. Besides, the ratios in most brands weren’t correct.

An overload of omega 6’s promote inflammation, leading to pain, infection, cancer, hardened arteries, degenerating cartilage, rheumatoid arthritis, abnormal behavior, learning problems, mood disorders, even bed-wetting!

Omega 3’s are the opposite—they relieve inflammation. The most immediate, practical aspect of using omega 3’s for patients is halting the inflammation cycle. Using Nutriwest along with your chiropractic protocol will provide you with building blocks for repairing cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones and muscles.

In the journal Surgical Neurology, 250 nonsurgical candidates for neck and back pain were asked to take EPA and DHA. After 75 days of use, 59% discontinued using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS—over-the-counter or prescription strength ibuprofen or aspirin). 88% of them were pleased enough with taking the fish oil that they continued to do so. No significant adverse effects were noted. The authors noted that high doses of fish oil are extensively documented to reducing joint pain from old-age arthritis as well as rheumatoid, improve dry eyes and macular degeneration, and reduce chance for heart attacks. Reduce your need for pain relievers, know the skinny on fats!

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