Understanding Omega-3 Fats

What is so great about Omega-3 fats? They are essential, meaning that they cannot be manufactured in the body, and they are necessary to avoid disease. There are a number of benefits from consuming Omega-3 fats: they help the development of hair and nails, regulate hormone compounds known as eicosanoids, help with cellular communication and their boosting effect to the cardiovascular system. They help reduce low density lipoproteins in the blood, while at the same time help increase the output of high density lipoproteins. The body tends to use up Omega-3 fats more effectively than other fats and won’t store them as easily as other fats. This is due in part to the essential properties of the Omega-3 fats used for cellular functions. The body will continue to use Omega-3 fats as long the need is necessary, therefore, storing is reduced until the need is not as high. Omega-3 fats are known as a lipotropic compound. They direct fatty acids away from fat storage areas and towards oxidative metabolism of the muscle cell. This process helps burn fat from the body. This is why eating good fats is important in fat loss. The fat burning properties of Omega-3 fats is in a class called uncoupling proteins. Uncoupling proteins work in conjunction with thermogenesis to help remove fat from the body.

Good sources of Omega-3 fats can be found in: flax oil, walnuts, salmon, mackeral, trout, Omega-3 enriched eggs,

The problem is that most people don’t consume enough of these foods to get the benefits. Instead most people consume too much OMega-6 fats. Omega-6 fats compete against Omega-3 fats for desaturation depleting the pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. This reduction in pro-inflammatory eicosanoids can result in health problems.

I recommend that you take a good fish oil supplement if you are not consuming enough of the foods mentioned above. Most health food stores carry a good supply of fish oils. They come in tablet form and are easy to take one at mealtime. You should consume 2 grams per every 50 pounds of bodyweight. You can take half of the dosage for breakfast and then the other half with dinner. If you are not certain of the actual amount to take and have questions concerning your need and health. I would recommend that you consult a professional who knows about nutrition.

Daryl Conant, M.Ed

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