The Important Role of Omega 3
The role of Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) primarily EPA and DHA in the support of health and the prevention of illness has been studied a great deal in recent years and continues to receive a lot of attention from the health community. The evidence continues to mount that Omega 3 essential fatty acids are some of the most vital and essential nutrients for human health ever identified. In fact, there are now over 2000 scientific studies that provide evidence of the importance of EPA and DHA essential fatty acids for the maintenance and restoration of health and the prevention of disease.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are enormously important in the composition and function of every cell in the body. It is the function of your cells that determines your ultimate health. The health of your cells influences your immune function, ability to heal, hormone levels, heart function, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, digestion, moods etc. Literally, the function and health of your cells determines every aspect of your health.
EPA and DHA omega 3 EFAs are part of every cell membrane and are required to maintain the proper shape and flexibility of cell membranes. The flexibility of cell membranes is important for the flow of blood through blood vessels, which can decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack. This fluidity of cell membranes is also critical to ensure the proper flow of nutrients into cells as well as the proper shape of cell receptors for hormones such as insulin.
Essential fatty acids such as DHA and EPA are required for proper nerve signal transmission (memory, concentration, cognitive ability, muscle coordination and strength) and immune function including defense against cancer. Did you know that EPA and DHA deficiency are linked with cognitive impairments and learning and behavior disabilities such as ADHD, with depression, and with decreased cognitive ability and increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia in the elderly. EPA and DHA deficiency is also highly correlated with increased risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
EPA and DHA omega 3 essential fatty acids also play a key role in regulating inflammation via substances called prostaglandins. EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins while Omega 6 fatty acids produce pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. This is why a diet that is high in Omega 6 or deficient in Omega 3 essential fatty acids creates a pro-inflammatory state within the body. Many Americans are feeling achy and tired and taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medication when all they really need to do is decrease their consumption of Omega 6 and increase Omega 3 consumption. This is very significant because inflammation is at the root of virtually all of the common chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression as well as the autoimmune and diseases such as arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel, psoriasis, eczema, allergies, fibromyalgia, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Inflammation is also a major factor in menstrual pain and/or cramping, headaches, and back and neck pain.
Now you can begin to understand why the scientific community is so excited about supplementation with Omega 3’s. It is because Omega 3 essential fatty acids have been shown to help people with so many different illnesses. This does not mean that a deficiency in Omega 3 EFAs is the only cause of all illness, of course not. However, it does mean that if a person is deficient in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, their cell function and consequently their wellness will be compromised and will be improved when they begin to supplement. Based on all of the research, it is imperative to supplement with Omega 3 essential fatty acids BEFORE illness develops. It is both dangerous and illogical to wait until illness develops to begin to take care of yourself or your children or your pets!