Home > Omega Fat Supplements Revealed!
You May Need To Upgrade Your Omega Fat Supplement Immediately!
Insights and Myths Surrounding Omega Fat
Finally, answers to the top 4 questions most people ask, or don’t know to ask:
- What is the real story behind omega fats?
- What must I know about omega-6 versus omega-3?
- So many options, how do i choose?
- What type, quantity and ratio do I really need?
The Real Story Behind Omega Fats
Scientists have given the name “essential fats” (essential fatty acids or EFAs) to the fats that are “essential” to our survival. Essential fats cannot be created by the body, only acquired via direct source (food or supplement).
- Essential fats include omega-3 & omega-6 (body cannot make these)
- Non-essential fats are omega-7 & omega-9 (body can make these from sugars and starches)
We don’t believe there is any value in spending money or time on omega-7 or omega-9… So, we don’t, and neither should you.
Some Back Story We Need To Know
Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors had a dietary balance of omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 1:1. As a result, inflammatory diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes were practically non-existent.
At the onset of the industrial revolution, roughly 150 years ago, there was a marked shift in this ratio. It quickly became a 4:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. This was largely due to the development of the vegetable oil industry. In addition, we began altering the diet of domestic livestock by moving towards the cheaper grain-based feed alternative. This changed the fatty acid profile of the animal and consequently impacted the human that consumed it.
The American diet continued to spiral out of control with the evolution of the fast food industry. Today we are seeing omega-6 to omega-3 ratios in the neighborhood of 10:1, 20:1 and as high as 25:1.
You don’t have to be a chemist, doctor or medical researcher to know that changing this ratio has produced serious consequences.
What’s The Difference Between Omega-6 & 3?
Let’s keep it simple and easy to remember…
- omega 6 is pro-inflammatory
- omega 3 is anti-inflammatory
- a diet high in omega 6 and low in omega 3 will promote inflammation
- a diet high in omega 3 and low in omega 6 will reduce inflammation
We make omega-3 intake a “top 3 priority” for two major reasons: they are the building blocks for the brain, nerves, organs, glands, gut, and cell membranes; and because they promote an anti-inflammatory biochemistry that is consequently anti-disease and anti-aging. So, yea… kind of a big deal,right?
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Elevated Omega-6 intake is associated with an increase in all inflammatory diseases, including:
- cardiovascular disease
- type 2 diabetes
- metabolic syndrome
- irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
- macular degeneration
- rheumatoid arthritis
- depression and psychiatric disorders
- autoimmune diseases
Again, inflammation is the root cause of most disease processes. Therefore, minimizing diet-induced inflammation is critical to preventing disease.
Note: there is a difference between “healthy omega-6” and “unhealthy omega-6”. Obviously, reducing unhealthy omega-6 foods is important. But, squabbling over healthy omega-6 intake is just not worth our time or energy. For reasons contained herein, we are only concerned about specific elements in the omega-3 family, specifically EPA and DHA.
So Many Options, How Do I Choose?
You can walk into any local store and find an aisle full of supplement options. You may hear stories about who prefers what, what their naturopath gave them, or what their sister said is best to take… but, how do you know who’s right?
The details and logic contained herein is the very same info we used to make our decision, and we hope it helps you in similar fashion.
OPTIONS: Essential Fats vs. Essential Fat Derivatives
As we see it there are 2 paths to take, direct and indirect. The indirect route is to eat the good fats that eventaully get broken down into essential fat derivatives, the real actual blocks we want and make use of. The direct route is to skip the breaking down process and go directly to supplementing the body with those key essential fat derivatives.
After years of study and research, the end goal we seek is this…
… to increase body tissue concentration of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA and EPA are the king and queen of the “healthy fat kingdom”. They should be the focal point when it comes to matters of healthy fats relative to health and disease.
In our household we essentially do both. We eat very well, a diet high in essential fats from healthy, clean food sources. However, we are concerned for good reason that this is not enough! So, we also take a daily EPA/DHA supplement.
We used to supplement with a plant-derived source called Udo’s Oil. But, we eventually discovered that it just wasn’t enough to fill the gap between what we were getting and what we really needed. (see below to learn why)
OPTIONS: 3,6,7,9… Which Ones?
For reasons contained in this article, we only recommend an Omega-3 supplement. This post is getting too long already… So, if you need more convincing.. Google “how omega-6 competes with omega-3 for conversion enzymes” and “why omega-7 and omega-9 supplements are unnecessary”. Otherwise, trust us, and press on!
OPTIONS: The 2 Major Categories Of Omega-3
There are 2 major categories of omega-3 EFAs: plant-derived (like flax seed oil, containing alpha linolenic acid or ALA) and marine-derived (fish oil, containing both EPA and DHA). The human conversion of plant-derived ALA to EPA and DHA is somewhat slow and can be easily inhibited by a number of factors. The scientific consensus is that humans only convert about 15% or ALA to EPA, and it may not convert to DHA at all in many people.
Yes, there is a lot of hype surrounding flax seeds. And yes, there is a lot of hype around vegetarian and vegan sources of essential fats. But, fair warning, there is a reason we don’t ‘put our eggs in that basket’, and you shouldn’t either.
Because increasing EPA and DHA is the ultimate goal, and because of the difference between plant-derived versus marine-derived sources… we put our stock in a “direct” EPA/DHA supplement strategy, and you should too.
For vegans, vegetarians and people that just won’t give up their current position on the matter, we recommend the following: stick with your current strategy, but upgrade it by adding a high dose EPA/DHA supplement.
What Type, Quantity And Ratio Should I Be Getting?
Of course we recommend a diversified approach via diet and supplementation together.
As far as an omega-3 supplement goes, we already mentioned that EPA and DHA are the key players. So, a supplement centered around these 2 is the goal. Many labels will list “other omega-3s” as the primary. Put those back! We want a label that specifically lists EPA at 800mg and DHA at 400mg and “other” no more than 200mg. Anything less that 1,200mg per dose of EPA/DHA is not worth it.
For adults, EPA to DHA ratio should be around 2:1.
For children DHA to EPA ratio should be 2:1.
The difference is growth and development versus maintenance as we evolve from child to adult status.
Sourcing, Toxicity, Quality and Our Best Recommendation
The best company we have ever come across is Nordic Naturals. They have the best quality, best sourcing practices, as well as the best processing and quality control methods.
DO NOT buy cheap omega fat supplements! Nordic Naturals is more expensive, but that’s because it’s the best.
Too many people come to us with something cheap they found online or at a local store. Bad idea – don’t do it!
NOTE: buying this omega fat supplement locally costs about 20-30% more than buying online.
For these reasons and more, this supplement strategy is in our top 3 supplement recommendations
See the Supplements page in the main menu of our site for more info.
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