More Fishy Data
More Fishy Data
Author: Simon J Evans
Article source: http://www.articlesfactory.com/. Used with author's permission.
More studies this week highlight current issues on nutrition, touting benefits of omega-3 fats
More fish fuel for the fire from two reports this week showing that omega-3s improve brain function. These are part of emerging current issues on nutrition.
A research team from the University of Pittsburgh presented data at a world meeting in Hungary. Dr. Sarah Conklin, who headed up the study, said that her team previously found that people with low blood levels of omega-3 fats were generally more impulsive and had worse attitudes. In their new study, they used MRI to determine that folks who ate more omega-3s had more grey matter in parts of their brains that regulate mood and emotion. While more we need more data to determine whether omega-3s cause increased grey matter, this adds another piece to the puzzle.
A second, much smaller study in the United Kingdom looked at kids who were given two doses a day of omega-3 supplements for three months. The kids, who were between 8 and 13 years old, were also encouraged to cut down on junk snacks and be more active. To the researcher's surprise, the brains of these youngsters matured over the 3-month period to a much greater degree than expected. In addition, the kids showed improvements in memory, reading, concentration, and problem solving skills.
The study, conducted by Professor Basant Puri from the Imperial College of London, was admittedly very preliminary. It was a small group of children and increased omega-3 consumption was not the only variable. Still, the data warrants more investigation into the action of omega-3 fats in the brain.
I have written about omega-3s in the past but in light of this new data, thought it a good time to review them again.
Why are all of these omega-3 studies popping up all of a sudden? One reason may be the dramatic alterations of essential fats in our diet (including omega-3s) over the last hundred years or so. Another type of essential fat that doesn't get much press is omega-6s. Both omega-3s and omega-6s are essential fats because we need them for our bodies to operate normally but we cannot make them. So, we must get them from dietary sources or supplements.
The thing is, omega-3s and omega-6s really need to be kept in balance because they have many opposing functions in the body. They are both needed but they tend to work against each other - like a see saw. Historically, we ate close to equal amounts of these fats, but in today's western world, we eat about 20 to 30 times more omega-6s than omega-3s. This is because many of the oils that go into our processed foods, like corn oil, are very high in omega-6s but not omega-3s.
Many people believe that this is causing an omega-3 deficiency and contributes to all kinds of brain and body problems that include depression, Alzheimer's, heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers.
There are a few different types of omega-3s. Some are in cold-water fish, like Salmon and Mackerel and others are in plant sources like flax seed and walnuts. The kind found in fish are the ones that seem to be important for brain function and mood regulation and the kind found in plants are more important for diabetes prevention. Our bodies have the machinery to convert one kind of omega-3 to the other, but it is very inefficient and doesn't work that well in most people.
Things you can do to bring your omega fats back in balance are eat more fish and nuts and avoid processed foods loaded with oils. Of course, consuming too much fish gets into the whole problem of mercury and PCB contamination as well. If you choose to take a fish-oil supplement just make sure that it has gone through 'molecular distillation' to remove these contaminants.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
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