Omega-3 Science

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Diets throughout the world contain an alarmingly amount of processed and prepackaged foods that are high in sugars and unhealthy fats. Fortunately, through continued research and education efforts, even those most devoted to these diets, can be educated to change their ways.

Diet-Based Disease

We are seeing diet-based diseases increasing dramatically. Coincidentally, the amount of Omega-3 essential fatty acids consumed in our diets has dropped by up to 80% since 1900. About 40 years ago, health authorities recommended that western diets increase their consumption of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) to help lower cholesterol levels. A dramatic increase then took place in the consumption of vegetable oils - rich in essential Omega-6 PUFAs, but not OMEGA-3 PUFAs. 

Nutrition researchers are demonstrating that excess of Omega-6 actually interferes with the benefits of Omega-3, thus making the existing Omega-3 shortage even more serious.

Diet is the Link to Good Health

It has long been established that diet and exercise are essential to good health. When Japan moved from its traditional diet of simple marine food, to the western-based diet of processed foods, their rate of chronic disease (obesity, diabetes, heart disease) increased dramatically. Conversely, when Norway was forced to return to its traditional diet of marine life during World War II shortages, the death rate from heart disease, cancer and other lifestyle diseases dropped by 40%. This rate however returned to normal levels as soon as the war ended and the Norwegians returned to a 'western diet'. It is of great interest that during the war the decrease in Norwegian heart disease - coincided with a 50% increase in dietary Omega-3.

Another example of the beneficial effects of a traditional marine diet (high in Omega-3) is found with the High Artic Inuit. Despite their daily fat intakes of unto 80% of calories, the Inuit blood lipids remained within normal levels, their incidence of heart trouble was low and they were relatively free from atherosclerosis. Like the Norwegians and the Japanese before them, as the Inuit have adopted western diets, the occurrences of diet-based diseases have risen to the western levels.

Supplementing Your Diet

Our bodies cannot produce Omega-3s.  Therefore, all of our Omega-3s must be obtained from external sources. As most of our food intake continues to be highly processedhttp://www.fremsmedical.comn, with little or no fish or marine sources, Omega-3 is often best obtained through supplements such as Auum's Omega-3.

Omega Source Comparisons: FLAX, FISH and SEAL

Not all sources of Omega-3 are equalComplete Omega-3 contains 3 essential components: EPA, DHA and DPA. All 3 components are found in the human body at birth in healthy amounts. We lose these essential components as we age and must replenish them through our diets. Health Canada, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the World Health Organization and the Canadian Cancer Society all recommend an increase in dietary Omega-3.

The 3 main sources of Omega-3 are: FLAX, FISH, SEAL

FLAX: A very common source of Omega-3 used as an additive in grocery store foods like breads, eggs, milk, juices, etc. Flax does NOT contain EPA, DHA or DPA. Flaxseed oil contains no EPA, DHA or DPA but rather contains alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which must be converted by our bodies to become the essential Omega-3 our bodies need. Evidence indicates that the rate of metabolic conversion can be slow and unsteady (1-5%), particularly among those with impaired health. Flaxseed oil cannot convert to EPA.

FISH: Fish is a good source of Omega-3 EPA and DHA but it contains little to no DPA. Fish, like flax, is an incomplete source of Omega-3. Fish and fish oils contain little to no DPA. Eating fish can be dangerous according to some news reports and studies that contend fish are highly susceptible to pollutants and can have high levels of hazardous contaminants. Many people who take fish oil capsules and liquids experience a repeat or fishy burp after taking the supplements.

SEAL: Seal oil contains all three essential components of Omega-3, EPA, DHA and DPA.

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) has many health benefits for the heart and cardiovascular system. An increased intake of EPA is generally associated with a lower risk of primary and secondary heart attack rates, death from cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. 

In one study, higher EPA levels in blood serum phospholipids resulted in a 70% lower risk of fatal ischemic heart disease. This means more EPA is beneficial in people with documented coronary heart diseases, especially those with risk factors for sudden cardiac death. 

DPA (docosapentaenoic acid) is found only in mammalian sources of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids.

DPA is often overlooked as a significant component of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids. This is primarily because most Omega-3 studies are conducted using fish or fish oil that contain only small amounts of DPA. Relatively few studies have been done using seal oil with its much higher content of DPA. DPA works with EPA and DHA to provide health benefits to the heart, to reduce inflammation and to the health of mothers and children.

Studies have shown that DPA has health benefits for the heart. Population studies show that higher levels of DPA result in lower rates of coronary heart disease risks. In addition, while EPA is known for its cardiovascular benefits, DPA is said to be ten times more effective than EPA in healing damaged blood vessels. 

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an Omega-3 fatty acid found through the body, in especially high concentrations in the brain and retina. It is required for optimal cognitive and visual performance and is also an essential component of the heart. Many experts recommend an increased intake of DHA for expectant and nursing mothers as well as infants. Adequate Omega-3 and Vitamin D are part of the nutrient base that is essential for full fetal and infant development. Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent premature deliveries and can also improve baby’s intelligence. DHA is important for development all through life, including as we age.

Some of the Healthy Benefits of DHA: Recognized biological benefit by Health Canada "DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, supports the normal development of the brain, eyes and nerves".

Contributing factor in helping prevent over 30 major health conditions, including: childhood development disorders, psychological disorders, heart disease and more proven benefit for the human heart, reduces blood pressure and may also be a factor in helping increase good cholesterol.

What the Experts Say

Dr. Fereidoon Shahidi of Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), a world-renowned scientist on seal product development provides the following explanation: “In comparing seal oil with fish oils, assimilation of seal oil into the body is more efficient than fish oils. EPA, DHA, and DPA in seal oil are located primarily in the terminal positions of the triglyceride molecules while they are preferentially present in the middle position of triglycerides in fish oils. This difference in the location of the Omega-3 PUFA is a major reason for the superior effect of seal oils compared to fish oils in disease prevention and potential health benefits.” Article from The Canadian Sealers Association 

Seal Oil: Best Source of Omega-3

As Seal Oil has not been available for the past 20 years, substitutes of one description or another have become popular. The most common of these would be fish and flax seed (linseed) oils.

Seal Oil is superior to these substitutes for the following reasons:

  • Unlike both flax seed and fish oils, Seal Oil has a balanced amount of Omega-6 and therefore is believed to be the product best suited to immediately and effectively reduce the imbalance. 
  • Salmon oil has anywhere from 2-5 times the Omega-6 content of Seal Oil. 
  • Flax seed oil has nearly 3 times the Omega-6 content of Seal Oil. 
  • If the goal is to restore the balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3, why keep adding Omega-6 from Omega-3 supplements?

Most fish oils have 2/3 of the main forms of Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) while Seal Oil not only has 3/3 (EPA, DPA and DHA) but they also appear in the same relative proportions as found naturally in the human body.

Because Seal Oil’s chemical structure allows it to be more easily absorbed into the human body, the Omega-3s in Seal Oil enter the blood stream more quickly than other fish or flax seed oils, producing more efficient results.

Flax seed oil is not a long-chain Omega-3. It relies on the body’s ability to convert it into the first long-chain Omega-3 EPA. This transformation not only takes time but it is also difficult to measure the amount, if any, of the Omega-3 actually being converted. The very young, the aging and those suffering from various ailments may find their bodies unable to convert flax seed oil to long-chain Omega-3s that resolve inflammation and support neural function. Actually, the excess of Omega-6 is likely to block the body’s ability to convert Omega-3s from other fatty acids. When we couple the fact that flax seed oil contains 3 times more Omega-6 than Seal Oil, it is difficult to believe that flax seed oil could effectively reduce the dangerous Omega-6:Omega-3 imbalance.

In their book, Protein Power, Michael and Mary Eades state, “…but taking flax seed oil is kind of like buying crude oil and running it through your home distillery to make gasoline for your car. If that’s the only way you can get gasoline, then that’s what you have to do. If you can buy the gasoline already distilled, however, it is much more efficient to do that and avoid the hassle of the home distillation process.”

Because seal oil comes strictly from seal blubber, it is inherently a much purer oil than fish oils (which are obtained by grinding, cooking and pressing fish offal, or the whole fish). AUUM’s further careful selection and unique specialized processing and cleaning techniques, which do not involve molecular distillation and harsh chemicals, ensure that our products meet and exceed Health Canada’s Standard for safety and purity. Safety is verified by third party testing. Minimal processing means that our products retain key qualities beneficial to our health, and are completely safe for everyone. 

Seal Oil is much more stable than fish oil as a long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid.

Essential Fatty Acids and Inflammation 

One of the most significant factors in the last century that affect our inflammatory response in a multitude of ways is our consumption of Omega-6 and Omega-3.

Our diet since the early 1900’s has become increasingly high in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3. The ideal ratio of these essential nutrients is between 5:1 and 1:1. However, most diets today contain >20:1.

This high consumption of Omega-6s, particularly from processed and hydrogenated oils, results in an exaggerated inflammatory response throughout the body. Many try to improve this critical balance by following a healthier diet. However, in today’s world, this presents a huge challenge, as commercial fisheries and commercial cattle farmers use grain and vegetable oils as the principal diet of their fish and animals, rather than natural forage. Such feeding results in low Omega-3 and high Omega-6 content in our food supply. Even if we reduce our consumption of processed oils in order to reduce our Omega-6 intake, it is difficult to get enough Omega-3 in our diets. Therefore our Omega-6 levels further climb in relation to our Omega-3 levels. High Omega-6 is involved in increased inflammatory response.

Common inflammatory conditions include arthritis, pulmonary disease, lung cancer, rosacea, allergic reactions, MS, inflammatory bowel (IBS) and Crohn’s. However, inflammation is now also being implicated in such issues as insulin resistance in diabetes and obesity.

Omega-3s are important for the regulation and resolution of inflammation.Both Omega-6 and Omega-3 are required by our bodies, however, they must be in the correct ratio (<5:1) in order to be beneficial to our health. 

Fish oils provide Omega-6 and Omega-3 in ratios ranging from 6:1 to 14:1.
Supplementing with a 1:1 Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio mammalian sourced product is desirable as it can quickly enable our bodies to restore our serum levels closer to the 1:1 healthy balance that our bodies need in order to function optimally. 

All three omega-3s – EPA, DHA and DPA in the same ratio as found naturally in our bodies and in a form easily absorbed into our bloodstream, as found in Auum’s toxin-free and whole-food Omega-3 supplements are a “must try” for anyone looking to Omega-3 supplementation in order to improve or maintain their health.

Essential Fatty Acids and Immune System

Regardless of whether or not you decide to get the flu shot, it is important that you build your immune system to enable it to fight off whatever the winter months may throw at it, in the form of viral infections or even stress.

One of the first and least inexpensive things you can do is to get enough rest.

Research shows that some supplements may help. Although there is an abundant and often confusing array of products to choose from, some of the basic nutrients taken on a regular basis can work to maintain vibrant health. Health Canada recommends daily supplementation with Vitamin D and Omega 3.

Vitamin D is critical to enable your body at a cellular level to make the correct response to stressors and/or viruses, etc. In winter or being indoors during the day, our access to the critical Vitamin D from the sun is seriously compromised.  Health Canada therefore recommends supplementation with at least 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily. It is important for you to begin supplementation so that your Vitamin D levels do not drop dangerously low.

The proper balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is also critical for the proper function of the individual cell membrane to allow nutrition in and waste products out. Having the proper high quality Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) available in your diet can do much to enhance your immune function. Our day to day lifestyle and diet makes getting sufficient Omega 3 daily a challenge. As well, high amounts of unhealthy Omega 6 in the diet complicates the matter because of what little Omega 3 we may consume. Dangerous ratios often measure 10:1 or 20:1 in contrast to the healthy balance of 1:1.

Enter Auum Omega 3 Sublingual-D

Auum’s product combines EFAs – EPA, DHA and DPA in the perfect balance and ratio that our body requires in order to function optimally. Each 5 cc (5 ml) of the oil contains the recommended dose of 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3.

However, the good news does not stop there. Our formulation is designed to be taken under the tongue (sublingually). It means that we can increase our absorption of these important nutrients by about 100% by taking them under our tongue (as compared to a capsule form). By holding the oil under you tongue for 60 seconds or more, the nutrients are directly, efficiently and almost immediately absorbed into our bloodstream.

As well, Auum Omegas are bio-identical chemically to the omegas our body requires. If we were to rely on plant or fish oils in order to obtain this essential fat, Omega 3, our bodies would need to convert the omegas in order to effectively use it. Often we are not making the conversions either because of stress, etc.

Fish oils naturally contain Omega 6 and Omega 3 in a ratio of at least 6:1 and often as high as 14:1. Plant seeds or vegetable seed oil such as corn even have a greater imbalance, corn oil is 80:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 and sunflower oil is 20:1. Auum Omega products provide the omegas in a ratio of 1:1 quickly helping to balance serum levels.

The good news is that if you supplement with Auum Omega 3 Sublingual-D, you will also notice all kinds of other good side effects as a result of providing high quality nutrition to your body in order to achieve a healthy balance.

The Importance of Omega-3 during Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Infancy

Adequate Omega-3 and Vitamin D are part of the nutrient base that is essential for full fetal and infant development. Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent premature deliveries and can also improve baby’s intelligence.

Due to the fact that our bodies cannot make Omega-3, but it is an essential nutrient, it is imperative that a mother’s diet is rich in properly balanced Omega-3. DHA is necessary for the development of the central nervous system of the fetus. It is especially vital during the last 3 months of pregnancy and the first three months after birth. A mom having adequate levels of Omega-3 and Vitamin D during pregnancy to pass on to their infant is an important factor in their developing a mature central nervous system which controls both the brain and cardiovascular function. DHA is also necessary for development of cognitive ability and vision. Recently published articles suggest that SIDS and autism may be related to nutritional deficiencies of Omega-3 and/or Vitamin D. Over 80% of children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are deficient in Omega-3.

The US Food and Drug Administration advises pregnant women against eating too much fish weekly due to the risk of toxicity, whereas nutritional scientists are saying that women need more fish in their diet in order to get adequate amounts of Omega-3 for fetal brain development.

Auum’s Omega-3 may be the answer. It provides a perfectly balanced supplement, naturally toxin-free, containing not only bio-identical DHA, but also the critical bio-identical component DPA. Mother’s breast milk is composed of small amounts of EPA, and larger almost equal amounts of DHA and DPA. Auum’s naturally balanced Omega-3 provides a biologically similar supplement which proves to be superior for moms who want to ensure that their milk is rich in the Omega-3 components most required by their infants.

          Avoid the blues and have a happy baby too: Auum Omega 3 Sublingual-D Supplement for Mom and Baby

Generally speaking there TWO primary benefits of Omega 3 essential acids have on our bodies are:

1) Cellular Membrane Components:

The outer membranes of human cells act as a gateway allowing raw materials in, and processed materials out. This outer membrane requires a constant turnover of PUFA's (polyunsaturated fatty acids) to remain functional. Omega 3s is an essential part of this replenishment. A shortage of Omega 3 reduces the ability of cells to efficiently perform their function, leading to nutrient starvation and chronic illnesses.

2) Production of Eicosanoids:

Omega-3s are also converted into another class of chemical called eicosanoids, (a specific chemical/hormone group which are essential to regular healthy functioning) the most critical of which are prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are important for the regulation of inflammation, pain, swelling, blood pressure, heart function, gastrointestinal function and secretions, kidney function and fluid balance, blood clotting and platelet aggregation, allergic response, nerve transmission, steroid production and hormone synthesis. If the diet is inadequate, the Omega 3 prostaglandins produced are either lacking or unbalanced, leading to dysfunction of these vital bodily activities.

There are thousands of articles written about Omega-3 fatty acids. Most of these are based on fish oil research and therefore only mention the benefits of DHA and EPA. There are however far fewer articles which discuss the health benefits of all three PUFA's - EPA, DPA and DHA.

Increased diabetes rates parallel a rise in consumption of Omega 6 relative to Omega 3,

By: Eric S. Freedland, MD, Boston University School of Medicine
The increased prevalence of diabetes has paralleled a rise in consumption of n-6 (relative to n-3) fatty acids and trans fatty acids found in partially hydrogenated oil. 66-68. Both can change cellular membrane phospholipid composition and decrease fluidity—a state associated with altered insulin receptors, decreased insulin sensitivity, and subsequent insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia 69-73. A large dietary glycemic load exacerbates the hyperinsulinemia.

Since 1850 the n-6 to 3 ratio in the Western diet has risen from 4:1 to greater than 20:1 as fats from fish, wild game, and leaves were replaced by the consumption of linoleic acid (LA)-rich oils from seeds. Changes in feeding poultry and livestock have altered the n-6 and n-3 content of the animal protein consumed 74-76. 

This imbalance leads to a high proportion of arachidonic acid (AA)-derived eicosanoids such as thromboxane A2, leukotrienes, and the production of inflammatory mediators, e.g., cytokines and interleukins 74, 75, 77. One of the most important functions of the vascular endothelium is to regulate inflammatory reactions, and too much linoleic acid can induce marked injury to endothelial cells. 78.

Excessive intake of the n-6 linoleic acid and relative n-3 deficiency have been postulated to be the major causes of the increasing western-type cancers, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and allergic hyperreactivity 79.
Several studies show an association between low intake of n-3 (relative to n-6) and a decrease in mortality from all causes, especially CHD. 80-84 Populations that consume a diet rich in omega 3s have a lower prevalence of diabetes 85.

Epidemiological evidence from the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) of 12,866 American males revealed significant inverse relationships between dietary n-3 PUFA and mortality from CHD, cancer, and all-causes 86. These effects could be improved by simply lowering the n-6 to n-3 ratio 87. A study of 43,757 U.S. health care professionals followed for six years from 1986 found that diets high in n-3 acids are associated with a reduced risk of CHD independently of other dietary and non-dietary risk factors 118. Prior to the last world war the prevalence of diabetes and CHD was climbing in Norway paralleling a rise in the n-6/n-3 ratio and consumption of more highly processed high glycemic foods 88. Following a significant reduction in n-6/n-3 fat ratio during the war Norway recorded a sharp decrease of almost fifty percent in the incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular mortality. Unfortunately, reversion to the previous dietary fat intake and n-6/n-3 fat ratio was followed by an equally rapid rise in both diabetes and CHD 88.

In the last 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and CHD in urban and upper socioeconomic groups in India. This rise has paralleled an increase in the consumption of n-6 fatty and the n-6 to n-3 ratio 89. Simply changing the composition of the dietary fat to increase the n-3 while decreasing the n-6 PUFA in patients with type 2 diabetes had a significant impact. This improved insulin action and reduced the required dosage of hypoglycemic agents 89. The response was maximal when the n-6/n-3 ratio in dietary lipids was adequately lowered.

The United States has experienced a sharp and sustained fourfold rise in the number of diagnosed cases of diabetes since 1960. This rise has paralleled the increased consumption of n-6 fats mostly in the form of seed oils which has risen after reports that n-6 PUFA lowered plasma cholesterol 89. Adequate n-6 fatty acids are critical, especially in patients with type 2 diabetes who have an impaired delta 6 desaturase which is key in the first step of n-6 metabolism to eicosanoids. However, Toborek et al provide compelling evidence that too much linoleic acid can induce profound inflammatory responses in cultured human endothelial cells—most markedly among all the unsaturated fatty acids studied. 78

Greater than eighty percent of insulin mediated glucose disposal takes place in skeletal muscle 90. In adult humans, insulin resistance is associated with low proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in muscle membrane structural lipid whereas a higher percentage unsaturated fat, especially long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (the omega-3s), is associated with greater insulin sensitivity 69, 71, 91, 92. N-3 PUFAs may improve insulin sensitivity by increasing membrane fluidity 71-73.

Dietary intake has been shown to influence the adipose 70 and muscle membrane phospholipid fatty acid (FA) composition 93, however endogenous factors also play a role. Some adult populations with similar diets demonstrate wide ranges in muscle membrane FA profiles, and mothers at higher risk of the metabolic syndrome (as determined by fasting insulin and triglyceride levels) have children with a muscle membrane characterized by a lower proportion of n-3 PUFAs 94. This suggests there may be genetic differences in the ability to incorporate n-3s into membranes, or perhaps the concurrent ingestion of trans and saturated fats along with other environmental factors is preventing the incorporation of n-3s. This underscores the importance of increasing the amount of n-3s in the diet relative to n-6s to ensure optimal FA muscle membrane composition and insulin sensitivity.