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Tiferet Chiropractic

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil has rapidly become one of the most popular supplements Americans use each day.  In fact, a recent survey of people who take supplements daily found that 72% use fish oil (74% take a multi-vitamin).  It’s easy to understand why – fish oil has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and various other diseases.  

 

Fish oil contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids do many wonderful things for the body – including several that reduce the risk of heart disease.  They help make the blood less viscous (thick), platelets less sticky, and arteries less likely to spasm.  Omega-3 fatty acids also help to improve joint health and reduce the level of chronic inflammation throughout the body.  Chronic inflammation is important because it has been implicated in many of the diseases that affect Western society – cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and asthma.

 

The exact opposite of omega-3 fatty acids are omega-6 fatty acids.  Omega-6 fatty acids promote chronic disease by increasing the level of inflammation in the body. They also make platelets stickier, increase blood viscosity, and make arteries more likely to spasm - all of which increase the risk of heart disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main sources of omega-6 fatty acids in our diet are grains (pastas, breads, cereals), fatty meat (beef, pork), vegetable oils (corn, sunflower seed, safflower, cottonseed, soybean), and virtually all processed or pre-packaged foods.  Most people are surprised to learn that vegetable oils are not healthy.  An ear of corn is naturally very low in fat.  However, corn oil (and all vegetable oils) is highly processed and concentrated compared to what is present in nature.  Thus, vegetable oils enable us to consume far greater amounts of omega-6 fatty acids than what nature ever intended.  Our bodies are just not designed to deal with such a large amount of omega-6 fatty acids.

 

For most of the time that humans have been on this planet, we have consumed a diet high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids – fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and lean, grass-fed wild meat.  We lived for tens of thousands of years on these foods and the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids was near 1:1.  In the past 100 years, with the advent of grain-fed fatty meat, processed foods, and widespread use of vegetable oils, that ratio has soared to 20:1.  We are consuming so many omega-6 fatty acids that our bodies just do not know what to do with it.  We are inflamed, sick, tired, and overweight.

 

The good news is that this can easily be changed.  Warmer weather is here.  Everything is fresh and new and alive.  It’s the perfect time to renew yourself and commit to a healthier you.  Wouldn’t it be great to feel better and have enough energy to make it through the day?

 

The point of taking a fish oil supplement is to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your body.  When it comes to omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, it’s all about the ratio.  Ideally you want that ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids to be 4:1 or better.  You can take fish oil to increase your omega 3s, but if you are consuming a large amount of fast food, fatty meat, and chips, you are not getting the full effect of the fish oil – it’s going to waste.  To put this into better perspective, most people take 1-2 grams of fish oil per day.  However, a handful of potato chips contains 10 grams of omega-6 fatty acids.  This avalanche of omega-6 fatty acids makes it nearly impossible for the fish oil to change the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.  

 

Get the most out of your fish oil supplement by filling your diet with foods that are naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids and avoiding foods containing omega-6 fatty acids.  Eat meats that are naturally low in fat.  Fish is a great source of omega-3s – except tilapia.  Farm-raised tilapia is high in omega-6 fatty acids.  If you are like me and don’t really care for fish, omega-3 eggs are a great way to get some extra omega-3 fatty acids.  Skinless poultry does not contain many omega-3s, but it is low in fat so it’s a great protein choice.  The best type of red meat to consume comes from wild game or grass-fed animals.  The meat of grass-fed animals is naturally lean and contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.  Corn or grain-fed domestic meat is very fatty and contains high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.  Unfortunately, grass-fed meat is quite expensive and is difficult to find at your local market.  Instead, just buy very lean cuts of red meat.  Less fat means fewer omega-6 fatty acids.  

 

Raw nuts are a great source of good fats.  Macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts are all great choices.  Target has a nice selection of miexed raw nuts, as does Molbeck’s Health and Spice Shop.  Create a mix you enjoy and snack on them instead of chips (a serving is 1/4 cup).  Avoid cooking with the vegetable oils mentioned above.  Instead, cook with olive oil or canola oil.  Finally, eat lots of fruits and vegetables – they are naturally low in fat and the small amount of fat that they do have tends to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

Passion. Commitment. Belief.

Symptoms of too many omega-6 fatty acids:

Chronic aches & pains

 

Headaches

 

Difficult recovery from light exercise

Fatigue/general lack of energy

 

Saggy skin that looks old

 

Difficulty losing weight

Call us today to begin your journey from pain to a stronger, healthier you.  

Racine Chiropractor / Scott T. Sheriff, DC / (262) 554-6869

Exercise Posture Nutrition