Omega-3 and Omega-6: Striking the Right Balance

October 19, 2009

Do you remember when you were young and your parents forced you to take fish oil by the teaspoon, saying that it was good for you? Guess what?

They were right! Omega-3 and Omega-6 are called essential fatty acids (EFAs) and are poly-unsaturated fats. Since your body cannot manufacture EFAs, they need to be obtained from the food you eat or the supplements you take. Linoleic Acid (LA) is a primary member of the Omega-6 fatty acids and can be found in leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, and vegetable oils like corn oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil. Vegetarian diets tend to be very high in Omega-6.

Omega-3 fatty acids have three main types. The first two, EPA (eicosapen- taenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid), are both found in cold water fish. Fresh seaweed is the only plant food that contains a significant amount of EPA and DHA. The third type of Omega-3, called ALA (alpha- linolenic acid), is found in oils (like flaxseed), although small amounts can also be found in some nuts and seeds. In order for your body to benefit from DHA and EPA, your body must be able to convert the ALA to DHA and EPA. Your body may not always be able to make that conversion if your organs are not working as efficiently as they should, therefore, the only way to truly ensure your body gets the powerhouse benefits of DHA and EPA is to take it directly in the form of fish oil.

Most North Americans currently consume between 20 and 50 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3, although for optimal health, the ratio should be about 3:1. As you can see from this ratio, most people don’t need to supplement with Omega-6; since they already get enough from their diet.

Science is now pointing to the fact that a major cause of the current high incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer is the imbalance between Omega-6 and Omega-3. Many ailments or diseases can be traced back to a deficiency in Omega- 3 fatty acids, they have been shown to support a healthy cholesterol level along with musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, endocrine and immune system functions. Research shows that imbalances between Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids can increase inflammation, coagulation and the growth of adipose and cancer cells.

Fish oil has also been shown to play a crucial role in weight loss. Fish oils turn on your lipolytic (fat burning) genes, turns off the lipogenic (fat storage) genes and increases the use of fat stores from your adiposities (fat cells).

Other Benefits of Fish Oil Include:

• Promotion of good heart health • Decrease in triglycerides and high blood pressure • Enhancement of circulation • Decrease in depression • Reduction of symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder • Better memory, learning and help with Alzheimer’s Disease • Reduction of allergies • Clearer skin • Reduction of inflammation from arthritis • Regulation of insulin • Improvement of immune system health • Better women’s reproductive health • Enhancement of vision • Reduction of inflammatory bowel disease

As mentioned earlier, the most efficient way to ensure that you get DHA and EPA is to take it directly in the form of fish oil. While I usually promote the value of getting your nutrients directly from the source, cold-water fish, unfortunately, often contains metals that are harmful to humans, such as mercury. Therefore getting your Omega-3 from fish oil supplements might be a healthier option, especially if you don’t know the origin of the fish you’re buying. Adding Omega-3 to your diet is important. If you opt for a fish oil supplement be very careful of the source.

Look for fish oil that:

 • Is pharmaceutical-grade • Is third party certified for purity and quality • Has an antioxidant blend for freshness and stability • Is free from pesticides and heavy metals such as mercury, PCBs and dioxins • Is custom-made in small batch production

The antioxidant in fish oil is important because it is perishable. The antioxidants are needed so that the fish oil does not oxidize in your body, causing free radicals that are hazardous to your health. High-quality fish oil supplements are stabilized with adequate amounts of antioxidants. To help protect the fat in the oil from oxidation, 400 units of vitamin E is commonly used. For more information about fish oil and Omega-3 and Omega-6, check out Dr. Nathalie’s book Wellness On The Go at www.drnathaliebeauchamp.com.


Fighting the flu naturally – facts and tips

October 4, 2009

With fall here we brace ourselves for many changes – leaves change color, kids are back at school, and the carefree way of life we’ve been living all summer falls victim to the fears associated with flu season which has come knocking at our door.  Naturally, trying to protect yourself and your family from the dangers associated with the flu has become a priority this season – especially in the midst of the H1N1 virus scare.  But have we, in our desperate attempt to protect ourselves and loved ones, managed to overlook the inherent concerns of the flu vaccinations and fallen prey to some media’s hysteria.

 

 In 1976 the outbreak of Swine Flu lead pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine.  Lucky for us, nobody died of swine flu, unfortunately, we did not develop immunity to the complications and side effects of a poorly tested vaccine, and 25 people did die due to side effects of the vaccination itself.  Several hundreds of people also developed Guillain- Barré Syndrome (severe neurological disease). At that time, lawsuits against the pharmaceutical company sky rocketed and totaled over $1.3 Billion, leading the vaccine to thankfully be withdrawn off the market after 8 weeks.  Today, in 2009 we are not as lucky as we once were – a poorly tested and non FDA approved vaccine, which may cause death, has nothing to stop it.  Big pharmaceutical companies have succeeded in developing their own personal immunity to lawsuits.  This leaves us- the customers and patients- without remedy should something go wrong. 

As the H1N1 virus continues to spread, panic and hysteria spread with it.  It has been declared a pandemic- sounds scary, right? In reality, all pandemic means is that the virus has a large geographical spread, and has nothing to do with severity or deadliness.  So as we continue to create panic predicated on nothing more than a word, we need to take into consideration the negative repercussions associated with how we react.  Our first instinct is to jump to vaccines. Before you do so, consider a few of the following facts:  

Fact- known carcinogens (cancer producing) substances can be found in vaccines.  For example, a substance called Squalene, can be found in the new H1N1 vaccine. Squalene is a naturally found oil molecule in your body, the Squalene injected acts in opposition to the Squalene that occurs naturally and attacks through the brain and nervous system.   

Fact- many health care professionals refuse to personally take vaccines.  On August 25, reports showed that half of the doctors and nurses would not take the vaccine due to concerns about side effects and efficacy.  It is reported that children and the elderly are even more vulnerable to side effects of the vaccine.  How is this vaccine on the market you ask? These flu vaccines have been passed into circulation without being FDA approved due to a sense of urgency.  

Fact- infection and flu like symptoms can be greater as a result of vaccines.  When contracting the flu or infection naturally it is done through mucous membranes (IgA) – through you nose, mouth, lungs, and digestive track.  Often times, the infection will stop here and be fought off by your first defense.  When injecting the vaccine directly into your blood stream you bypass this first line of defense and immediately jumps start your defensive system creating a big shock to your already weakened system, leading to severe side effects. 

So what can you do to diminish your chances of getting the flu this season? Take control of your own health; don’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do.  You know what is best for YOUR body, even though others may try to impose their own ideas on to you. These impositions can and do happen – take the example of a new Bill that has been passed in the state of Massachusetts. Bill S-2028 states that if a person does not receive the Swine Flu vaccine, they can be ordered into quarantine.  So before you get into line for your H1N1 vaccination this season, consider a few other tips on how to keep yourself, and your family healthy: 

1.        Optimize your level of vitamin D – might be worth seeing your health care provider to get your levels checked – it is not recommended to take capsules without having levels tested – best source is still the sun!

2.        Get enough rest – 7 to 8 hours of “recharching” sleep.

3.        Try to decrease your stress with effective tools like exercise, meditation or fun activities.

4.        Wash your hands often and long enough!

5.        Cough on your sleeve not in your hands.

6.        Make sure that your nervous system is working optimally – studies have shown that a healthy nervous system = a healthy immune system – see your wellness chiropractor.

7.        Avoid processed sugar as it will only diminish the strength of you immune system.

8.        Keep your body alkaline (decrease acidity) – diseases strive in an acidic environment.

9.        Exercise with weight and perform cardio exercises regularly.

10.     Take a high quality source of animal base Omega-3 fatty acids

11.     Use natural antibiotics like garlic – olive leaf extract and oil of oregano (works like a broad spectrum antibiotic against bacteria and viruses)

12.     Avoid hospitals and understand the pros and cons of vaccines – even the people that are the weakest (elderly, kids and pregnant women) will be more susceptible to side effects and adverse reaction as their immune system is already low.

13.     See your naturopath or your homeopath to help prevent or even to “manage” your flu symptoms should you get the flu. Do your best to protect yourself and your family this season by staying informed and being aware. Visit ww.mercola.com for more information and references on this topic.