Omega 3 fatty acids. Properties

We know that there are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. The first owes its name to the fact that they contain saturated fatty acids. These are chemically stable, impart strength or hardness of fats. These saturated fats predominate in animal fats and excess worsens our health by encouraging the processes of atherosclerosis. In addition, our body becomes saturated the excess calories from our diets.

Moreover, unsaturated fatty acids are unstable, conferring fluidity to fats, vegetable fats dominate and inhibit the process of atherosclerosis. They are considered "essential" because our body can not manufacture them from other compounds.

Among unsaturated fatty acids have identified: the monounsaturated (one double bond in their chemical structure, such as oleic acid (abundant in olive oil, avocados, peanuts, etc..) And polyunsaturated (more than one double bond), some "essential", such as Omega 6-rich sunflower seeds, corn, etc., and omega-3s, plentiful in flax seeds, canola, fish, blue, etc..

Proper ratio between Omega 6 and Omega 3
From the point of view is not only important dietary unsaturated fats that predominate in large numbers over saturated, but also that the ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 is adequate (no more than 5 to 1). The problem is that since intensive farming practices and is fed with grain (cereals and soya) and livestock also are used for human consumption fats rich in omega-6 and poor in omega 3, the proportion can reach be of 10-40 units of omega 6, for each unit of omega 3.

Formerly in our diet this ratio was 1 / 1 and now due to dietary changes the proportion being 10 to 1 or more. Our first food, breast milk, has a 6/omega omega 3 ratio of approximately 5 A1; proportion that WHO and FAO consider that it should not be exceeded in our diet.

The Omega-3
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is produced in the green leaves of vegetables (spinach, purslane, algae, etc.). And is in abundance in some oilseeds such as linseed (the highest content), hemp seeds, walnuts , rape, etc..
The polyunsaturated alpha-linolenic acid is the progenitor of the family of omega-3 and can be transformed in the body longer chain members such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

These also can be found in aquatic animals (phytoplankton, microalgae, blue fish, crustaceans, mollusks, seal blubber, etc.).. Farmed fish to be fed with feed and not its usual food contain less omega 3.

Alpha-linolenic acid and its transformation into Omega 3
The body converts alpha-linolenic acid in the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) according to their needs. As an essential nutrient the body needs alpha-linolenic acid in large quantities, but is highly unstable as it is not always possible to know the exact amount that your diet provides.

The transformation of alpha-linolenic acid into EPA and DHA, omega 3 fatty acids are biologically active, not always succeed in such infants, elderly, diabetics, alcoholics or after a viral illness if food is not rich in antioxidants .

Health Benefits of Omega 3

The EPA can help maintain a healthy heart by maintaining normal levels of blood lipids, normal functioning of platelets and, through the production of eicosanoids (prostaglandins and leukotrienes), keeps the joints in optimum condition, while it is estimated that DHA plays an important role in the transmission of electrical impulses in the synapses of the brain. The main dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish such as mackerel and herring consumed very little in Western countries.

It has been discovered that Eskimos have lower levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) and higher levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL). It is believed that fatty acids from fish oil consumed by the Eskimos are the reason that they can eat a diet so rich in fat and yet have the heart healthy.

Opposite effects of omega 3 and omega 6
EPA and DHA leads to prostaglandins series 3 (omega 3). While PG Series 2 (omega 6) are proinflammatory, vasoconstrictive and flattering of platelet aggregation, the PG Series 3 are anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet and vasodilatory. This illustrates the importance of the proper balance between omega 3 and omega 6. The imbalance between these two types of fatty acids by a deficiency of omega 3, is associated with cardiovascular disease, arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. A low level of DHA is associated with reduced learning ability, memory loss and decreased visual function

Cod liver oil
The cod liver oil provides fatty acids Omega 3 series, plus vitamins that maintain the normal growth and hair, skin and nails healthy. Adults and teens who rely on fast food diet, those who are homebound and receive little sun and children during growth are among the people to whom they would favor taking this supplement. Recall that the cod liver oil is the most important natural source of soluble vitamins A and D. Furthermore, the percentage ratio between the two vitamins is a critical factor in bone calcification processes and growth of human beings.

Omega 3 and flax seed oil
Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids are important for keeping the heart healthy and help maintain joint mobility and for healthy skin. The linseed oil is currently receiving much attention from respected nutritionists around the world, since research has shown that it is one of the richest natural sources of alpha-linolenic acid or omega 3. The linseed oil is an excellent alternative to fish oil, since oil has gained 60% by weight alpha-linolenic acid and contains almost twice the amount of omega 3 per gram of fish oil .
The linseed oil is also a good source of linoleic acid, the "parent" omega 6 fatty acid, which primrose oil is so well known.

Need for Omega 3
Research suggests that we need at least 1 gram of omega 3 fatty acids every day for optimum health and up to 2-3 grams to combat certain diseases, including heart disease and joint mobility problems.

Since the vast majority of people can not achieve this level through diet, fish oil supplementation is appropriate for many. An alternative source of omega-3 fatty acids is flax seed oil.

But as we all look alike, it is often difficult to appreciate the power difference between dietary supplements of fish oil on the market. The reality is that there is a difference! The omega-3 content can vary greatly and, surprisingly, the labels often do not tell us the details. Some manufacturers still do not detail any level of omega 3, not to mention the content of EPA and DHA (often because the content is too low!).

The fatty acids EPA and DHA (Omega 3) and cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in developed countries, surpassing statistically to those produced by the cancer, hence the importance that is being given today to fatty acids EPA and DHA (Docosahexaenoic) or lipid-rich marine Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), to prevent this type of disease.

Eicosapentaenoic acid is a metabolic derivative of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, and immediate precursor of prostaglandin group of the 3 series. Prostaglandins are some important physiological substances that mimic hormones, but unlike them are located in the membranes of certain elements of the blood and the vascular endothelial cells.

The group of prostaglandins derived from EPA act as regulators of homeostasis and blood have a vasodilator and antiplatelet actions of blood microvessels. In this sense and in general terms, counteracting actions against the group of series 2.

Cardiovascular and cerebral diseases may be caused, many times both in the paucity of alpha-linolenic acid from ordinary food, such as inhibiting the enzyme that initiates, from him, the formation of EPA and consequently the group prostaglandin series 3.

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Among the main factors indicated inhibitors are: the physical and emotional stress, liver disorders, diabetes, aging, cholesterol, high triglycerides rates and cancer treatments.

Related Topics
Evening primrose oil or evening primrose (primrose oil). Properties and indications
Borage oil, the protaglandinas (GLA), cardiovascular disease and premenstrual syndrome
Linseed oil or flax
Cod liver oil: Properties
Circulation (problems). Natural Treatments
Cholesterol. Natural Treatments

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