Tag Archives: Omega-3

Omega-3 Blood Test Results


The evening primrose flower (O. biennis) produ...

The evening primrose flower (O. biennis) produces an oil containing a high content of γ-linolenic acid, a type of n−6 fatty acid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have copied below the results of an Omega-3 blood test obtained recently. (I just discovered the availability of this test recently on the internet – the cost was about Can$165). It is interesting to get an indication of my blood levels of Omega-3 since until now, I was guessing as to appropriate intake of Omega-3 supplements. The results show quite high Omega-3 levels and low Omega-6 levels compared to the North American averages. These results seem pretty good and I will probably maintain my current Omega-3 intake (flax seed, flax seed oil and high EPA fish oil).  The cover letter with the results also provides a summary of the benefits of Omega-3s.

The test organization does not suggest a GLA target. My GLA percent is small, but about 30% higher than the North American average. Since I have only recently started GLA supplements, and likely have a long term deficiency, I will probably try to double my intake for another 12 months, and then maybe get another set of test results.

May 16, 2013
Dear Swamiodo,
Congratulations on completing The Vital Omega-3 and 6 HUFA Test™ – the easy, evidence-based way to measure and manage the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your blood.
There may be no simpler, safer, or more cost-effective path to disease prevention than to adjust your diet to achieve healthful blood levels and proportions of these vital nutrients.
We hope you will use the test results on the following pages – and our explanations of their meaning – to plan and achieve a healthier diet that reduces your risk of ill health.
Introduction: Why Your “Omega Balance” Matters
The acronym “HUFA” stands for Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids, which are essential food factors that we convert into hormone-like agents that influence inflammation and much more, and have receptors on nearly every cell in the body.
A substantial body of scientific evidence indicates that maintaining a healthful dietary balance of omega-3 and omega-6 HUFA can help you reduce your risk of heart disease and other common, chronic, physical and mental health problems*.
Humans evolved in adaptation to hunter-gatherer diets that contained a roughly equal balance of omega-3s and omega-6s. But modern diets contain much higher proportions of omega-6s, from common vegetable oils (e.g., corn, soy, cottonseed) and the processed foods made with them, as well as from seeds, nuts, grains, and grain-fed meats and poultry.
This historically unprecedented “omega imbalance” matters, for the following reasons (Lands WE 1992):
• Chronic, low-level inflammation promotes cardiovascular disease and many other degenerative conditions.
• Inflammation is controlled in large part by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which arise from the omega-3 (DHA and EPA) and omega-6 (AA) fatty acids in our cell membranes.
• Omega-3s in our cells (DHA and EPA) mostly yield prostaglandins that tend to moderate inflammation.
 Omega-6s in our cells (AA) mostly yield prostaglandins that tend to promote and maintain inflammation.
 Omega-6s compete with omega-3s for absorption into our cells and the hypothesis that excess intake of omega-6s drives many major diseases rests on persuasive evidence.

1. Your Vital O-Mega Scores™ – Ranking your heart risk
This reveals your Percent Omega-3 in HUFA, your Percent Omega-6 in HUFA, and your estimated heart risk based on those test results.

Omega-3 57%    Omega-6  43%

(US average Omega-3 24%;  Omega-6 76%)

18:2w6   Linoleic (LA)
My reading – 20.19 %
typical US average – 25.10 %
18:3w6  Gamma-linolenic (GLA)
My reading – 0.32 %
typical US average – 0.24 %

About Swamiodo


Cottonwood Garden, Nelson BC

Cottonwood Garden, Nelson BC (Photo credit: jsrothwell)

My mission is to provide blessings
and helpful Omega-3 information. Also, since January 2015 I have been teaching tai chi at the Moving Centre, Nelson. The classes re-start on Sunday September 13 2015, and will run until December 20, 2015. The classes are by donation, 10 am to 11 am. For further information about my experience and training, see https://selfdiscoverynelsonbc.wordpress.com/tai-chi-classes/

The link to information about the tai chi classes (Facebook event) is: https://www.facebook.com/events/156879344651156/

In 2005 I was thinking about a spiritual calling,
and some friends suggested that providing blessings
would be a positive contribution to the world.
I began to offer blessings in person in Nelson, BC, Canada by request.

In 2010 I read the Omega Plan, and became convinced
that spreading information about the benefits of
increasing Omega-3 intake was the most postive action
I could take to help others improve their health and creativity.

Thanks to those people who have provided positive feedback and encouragement. The link to my Blessings Blog is

http://swamiodoblessings.wordpress.com/

Fabulous Fats & Omega-3 Song Video


Absolutely Fabulous (song)

Absolutely Fabulous (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This video is an excerpt from a “Fabulous Fats” presentation by Mary Toscano. The video has a short introduction to Omega-3s (particularly DHA), vital to the functioning of the brain and eyes, and speeding up of body processes. The video also has a cheerful Omega-3 song written and performed by Dan Barnett.

Omega-3s Help You Burn Fat


 

Flax at Knight's lookout

Flax at Knight's lookout (Photo credit: ajft)

This video (with Isabel, from Diet Solution.com) is an overview of ways to add more Omega-3s to your diet. Eating too many grains lowers the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6. Freshly ground flax seed in the morning is one recommendation. The video also suggests that increasing Omega-3 intake has the benefit of helping burn off body fat.

Omega-3 fatty acids linked to slower aging


Telomere caps he:תמונה:Telomere caps.gif

Telomere caps he:תמונה:Telomere caps.gif (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Omega-3 fatty acids linked to slower aging

There were several news reports back in January 2010 regarding a press release from researchers regarding their study of Omega-3 and telomeres.  I just discovered this report through a Google search of Omega-3 news.  The excerpt below is from a CBC News report, quoting a report from Matt Rourke/Associated Press.

The report states that “Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help people with heart disease live longer by staving off the biological aging of cells.”   The latest findings, published in Tuesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that high levels of omega-3 in the blood are associated with a slower rate of biological aging.  Dr. Ramin Farzaneh-Far of the University of California at San Francisco and his colleagues focused on telomeres — strands of DNA at the end of chromosomes that resemble the plastic that holds the ends of shoelaces together.  “The main result from our study is that patients with high levels of omega-3 fish oil in the blood appear to have a slowing of the biological aging process over five years as measured by the change in telomere length,” Farzaneh-Far said in a news release.

The length of telomeres shrink every time a cell divides, forming a chromosomal clock that reflects aging’s toll.  Scientists suspect that as telomeres shrink, chromosomes become less stable and are therefore more likely to mutate. The 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for research into shortening telomeres.  Farzaneh-Far’s study looked at omega-3 fatty acid levels in the blood of 608 outpatients with stable coronary artery disease who were followed for an average of six years. The team also looked at telomere length in leukocytes, a type of blood cell.  “These findings raise the possibility that omega-3 fatty acids may protect against cellular aging in patients with coronary heart disease,” the study’s authors concluded.

On more reason to focus on increased intake of Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Testimonial and Omega-3 Suggestions


Flax The seeds of flax are used to make linsee...

Flax The seeds of flax are used to make linseed oil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am excited about Omega-3 health benefits mainly because the science makes sense to me, and I personally have seen beneficial results.  Your results may, of course, vary.  However, I switched from a mainly vegan diet to a diet with added flax seed (2 tblsp) and fish oil supplement (4 g) in February 2010, with a further increase to flax seed (1/2 cup) and concentrated fish oil supplement (10 g) in June 2010 (after reading “The Queen of Fats”).  My most recent blood tests show that my total cholesterol has improved from being unable to measure due to high triglycerides (in January 2010) to very close to target at 210 mg/dl (in August 2010).  My doctor commented that you do not often see such a “dramatic” improvement in blood lipids.  In addition, my blood pressure readings have improved from high normal (131/84) to normal (114/77).  Also, as noted previously, I subjectively have noticed a significant increase in mental acuity (lots of new ideas).

My breakfast is a bowl of 1/2 cup of fresh ground flax seeds with 1/2 cup of granola in almond milk (preferably home-made) and fresh blueberries in season, or raisins and cinnamon.  I eat lots of salmon burgers, canned salmon sandwiches, and lox on bagels for lunch.  Supper is mainly vegan, salads or rice or beans.  I supplement with a fresh squeezed vegetable and fruit juice morning and evening, along with 5 g of concentrated fish oil twice a day.  I also take lots of anti-oxidant supplements, including vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea extract and garlic extract.

Comments:

As noted below, it is usually a good idea to make diet changes gradually, and slowly increase the flax seed and fish oil intake.  I have received feedback that 1/2 cup of flax seeds is a lot to eat every day.  In response, I note that I am a 58 year old male, weight 200 pounds.  If your body weight is less, and/or you believe your omega-3 intake in the past has been better than the standard North American diet , then you could obtain good results with considerably lower amounts.  Since I believe I need to compensate for many years of omega-3 deficiency, I am consuming as much as I can tolerate.

As noted below, there is no good research to suggest optimum values for Omega-3 intake, and blood tests for Omega-3 blood content (or Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratios) are not readily available.  The only guideline seems to be that the maintenance ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 intake which results in optimum conversion of LNA to DHA & EPA is 2:1.  However, it is not easy to assess the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio in any particular diet. On the other hand, there do not seem to be as negative side effects associated with excessive Omega-3 intake, (other than the frequent nose bleeds that the Greenlanders, who consumed only fish products, apparently suffered from).  The benefits are reduced rates of heart attack and stroke due to reduced inflammation and thinner blood.

Michael Pollan – In Defense of Food


American science journalist and author Michael...

American science journalist and author Michael Pollan, speaking at a Yale University "Masters Tea" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The author offers a defense of real food (rather than processed non-food products) and the eating thereof.  If you are concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims,.  Consuming food on the run or alone is not really eating.  His principle suggestions are to eat food, mostly plants and not too much.  He also agrees that eating more fruits and vegetables is good advice, but unprofitable for food companies, nutritionists, and journalists.

The author comments on the refined “carbohydrate hypothesis”, the theory that refined carbohydrates interfere with insulin metabolism to increase hunger and promote overeating and fat storage.  He refers to the book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes, who is skeptical about the low fat theory, but apparently not as skeptical about demonizing carbohydrates, ignoring other possible causes for health problems, and downplaying the risks of the high protein Atkins diet.

The book has an interesting chapter on the severe problems associated with studies of the effects of changes in diet, and the difficulty in drawing conclusions with any confidence.  There are references to John Kellogg and and Horace Fletcher, who, in the early years of the twentieth century, were united in their contempt for animal protein.  More recently Colin Campbell relies on numerous statistical studies to support the same conclusion, especially with regard to milk proteins, as well as other animal proteins and fats.  Weston Price and Albert Howard have studied in depth the differences between traditional diets and the Western diet.  The author concludes that humans can adapt to, and thrive on, an extraordinary range of diets, but the Western diet, however defined, is not a diet to thrive on.  However, that message was lost until the late 1960s, with the rise of orgainic agriculture.

The book discusses several trends associated with the Western diet, starting with the shift from whole foods to refined foods, with the resuting reduction in fiber and nutrients.  The second trend is the shift from quality to quantity, which involves the breeding of plants and animals that sacrifice nutrients for higher yeild.  This trend results in a population that is overfed but undernourished.  Another trend is the shift from leaves to seeds.  Seed and grain products have generally less Omega-3 and nutrients, and more Omega-6, are generally more refined, with fewer nutrients, and more calories than leaves.  He characterizes Omega-3s as “fleet and flexible” and Omega-6s as “sturdy and slow”.  The book proposes that the shift from the consumption of leaves to seeds (by humans and by the animals which we eat) may almost explain all of the health problems associated with the modern diet.  The only problems known to be associated with excess Omega-3 consumption (a very rare phenomenon) is problably excess bleeding.  There may also be an effect of increased metabolism, noted for example in hummingbirds, who have a high Omega-3 ratio.  There is also the suggestion that people may prefer high Omega-6 foods when given the choice over Omega3 foods, since a reduced mtabolism leads to fewer hunger pangs.