Essential Fats

About Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
presented by the Western Fishboat Owners Association

Looking into Omega-3s
Just about everybody seems to be talking about fish oils and Omega-3s nowadays. All kinds of claims have been made about how they can not only help prevent heart disease and strokes, but also lessen the severity of arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer's disease, colitis, lupus, psoriasis, osteoporosis and even schizophrenia.

Yet beyond the hype, what are the facts behind Omega-3s and their benefits?  Albacore fishermen from the Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA) wanted to know more, so WFOA staffers set out to learn more about the role of fish oils in a healthy diet. 

Dr. Artemis Simopouloson Omega-3s
We began our research by reviewing a new book called "The Omega Plan," written by Dr. Artemis Simopoulos and Jo Robinson.  The book is being touted by Barnes & Noble, Amazon Books and other book sellers as "Destined to forever change the way we look at fats, this landmark book, written by internationally acclaimed expert in nutrition, debunks the theory that all fats are bad, and proves that eating a balanced diet of the rights fats is the key to good health, longevity, and weight loss."  
One of the authors, Dr. Simopoulos, is President of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health in Washington DC, and chaired the Nutrition Coordinating Committee of the National Institutes of Health for nine years.  She served as a nutritional advisor at the White House Office of Consumer Affairs and is currently the editor of the World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics.  After looking into her background it becomes clear that Dr. Simopoulos has an excellent reputation in the medical community, and can be considered highly qualified to discuss the latest research on Omega-3s. 

"The Omega Plan"
"The Omega Plan" describes the role of essential fatty acids in the diet, and introduces the concept of fatty acids as nutrients.  Dr. Simopoulos explains that the human body cannot manufacture two essential fatty acids, Omega-3s and Omega-6s, and people must therefore obtain these substances from outside sources.   
While both of these essential fatty acids are important to your health, "The Omega Plan" explains "New research shows that Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can have profound and opposite effects on your health... For example, Omega-3s block inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and colitis while Omega-6s may promote them. Omega-3s reduce your risk of cancer while Omega-6s may increase it. Omega-3s are linked with a low risk of Alzheimer's disease while Omega-6s are linked with an increased risk..." 
Dr. Simopoulos also cites multiple clinical studies supporting the conclusion that these fatty acids must be consumed in the right combination in order for the body to function properly, and for general health to be enhanced.  She presents evidence that the optimal Omega-6 and Omega-3 combination is in the area of 4-to-1 to 1-to-1 respectively, although the typical American diet currently hovers in the area of a 20-to-1 ratio.  
She therefore suggests that Americans must work towards reducing their Omega-6 intake while increasing their Omega-3 intake — primarily by eating more fatty fish, switching from vegetable oils to canola and olive oils, and eating more fruits and vegetables.  Her arguments are quite compelling and, more importantly, they are well referenced.

Collaborating Evidence of Omega-3 Benefits
While "The Omega Plan" is quite comprehensive and provides compelling evidence about the benefits of Omega-3s, WFOA staffers wanted to know whether other sources of information support the claims made by Dr. Simopoulos and Jo Robinson.  

As you can see from this webpage, we quickly found a great number of other books, medical journals and articles from a wide variety of sources that support "The Omega Plan" claims and provide additional documentation about the roles of Omega-3s in a healthy diet.  We encourage you to review just some of the documents referenced here and draw your own conclusions about Omega-3s!  

The links below point out Omega-3 general interest articles, while the column to your left displays articles relating to how fish oils may improve   specific conditions.  

And don't forget: not all albacore tuna are alike -- troll-caught albacore tends to be tastier and richer in essential Omega-3s
than longline albacore!

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 April 2009 12:01 )