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Fats That Are Essential

Health News You Can Use: Eating Well

By: Dr. Robert Neposlan 

When have you last heard that it was okay to eat more fats? Well this week’s article includes a recommendation to do just that, increase your consumption of fats….but NOT JUST ANY FAT. Before you run off and super-size your fries, you’ll want to read this article. We’re talking about a different type of essential fat.

The term “Essential” means simply that this fat is a required nutrient for proper function and health in humans. Unlike many fatty acids, essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body (Omega 3 and Omega 6), they need to be consumed either through diet or supplementation.

In our earlier articles, we discussed how the modern diet has changed over the years, and the simple truth is, almost all of us require supplementation. In fact, there are two supplements that I recommend for everyone: one is probiotic supplementation, and the second is fish oil (essential fatty acid) supplementation.

Here’s why. As mentioned, essential fats are required for all life functions. In fact, the majority of the brain is made up of these fats. Each and every cell requires essential fats for its membrane, which itself acts as the “brain of the cell”. What other functions do these fats support? Here is a partial list:

–          enables the body to produce prostaglandins – a hormone like substance found in all cells which supports heart function, immune system function and muscular and skeletal structures.

–          helps to decrease inflammation in the body (decrease pain)

–          regulates oxygen use and energy production (most vital role occurring in cells)

–          plays a role in aging

–          assists in forming blood cells

–          supports production ands secretion of digestive enzymes

–          helps to lubricate joints (good news for arthritic patients)

–          aids in reducing bad cholesterol-LDL, and raising the good cholesterol-HDL

–          assists in generating electrical impulses and keeping the heart rate regular

–          is needed in tissues of the brain (especially during pregnancy where brain size is known to decrease), eye, adrenal glands (stress glands) and testes (male reproduction)

–          builds up the immune systems’ ability to fight infection

–          helps regulate inflammation in the body, including allergies, arthritis, dermatitis, eczema

–          Assists in lowering blood pressure

–          helps with depressio

–          ensures proper nerve transmission from one nerve to the next – especially in the memory and concentration areas of the brain

–          supports adequate bone formation and repair

–          plays an important role in the integrity of the digestive tract

–          is a critical nutrient in pregnant and nursing mothers

–          as mentioned ,they are a critical part of the cell membrane and help support the contact the cells have with the outside world

Over the last 20 years or so, there has been a tremendous amount of research published highlighting the health benefits of essential fatty acid supplementation. During this time, a number of good products have been introduced. Some of these are sourced from flaxseed and flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables. And while these sources may be good for providing the body with key fats (omega 3’s); an important consideration needs to be made. From the Omega 3’s and 6’s the body produces other derivatives or fats that the body needs. Two of these are eicosapentanoic (EPA) and docosahexanoic (DHA) fatty acids. These are critical fats that play major roles in the processes listed above. Omega 3’s and 6’s derived from plant sources do not contain these (EPA and DHA) fatty acids, so the body has to make them using the Omega 3’s and 6’s. The problem is that there are many factors in our culture/lifestyle that interferes with this conversion. Some examples of these include:

–          the intake of too much trans-fatty acids (brick margarine, shortening, commercially baked foods and processed food and foods containing hydrogenated oils) Carlson-Norwegian-Cod-Liver-Oil-Liquid

–          consuming too much sugar

–          alcohol consumption

–          nutritional deficiencies (modern diet)

–          viral infections

–          diabetes

–          enzyme deficiencies (modern diet) and genetic anomalies

–          aging

For the above reasons, I recommend supplementation with a fish oil. These are rich in the Omega 3’s and 6’s in the form that the body needs and can directly assimilate. Over the years, we have tried different brands and my recommendation today is the Carlson’s Cod Liver or Fish Oil. This product is also rich in Vit. A, D3 and the EPA and DHA we referred to. While I am sure there are other great products out there, I recommend this one product because it is the one that I and others whom I respect in the health field use. It’s purity and manufacturing standards are unquestioned. This is very important when it comes to fish oils because you want to make sure that it is free from mercury, cadmium, lead, PCB’s and other contaminants that can harm your health. This product is available in our office.

A final point of caution, if you are using another manufacturer’s brand (liquid or capsule), make sure that when you open the container that you can’t smell the fish. If you can, Don’t Take the product. You will use all your antioxidant stores just to deal with the rancid fish oil.

Eat Well!

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