Preventing Inflammation with Fish Oil
We are Essentially Unbalanced
I consider high quality pharmaceutical grade, molecularly distilled fish oil to be among the most important supplements for us to take. Why? We are out of balance. That is to say we are out of balance in our essential acids. Both are necessary for our health, omega-3 fatty acids and their counterparts, omega-6 fatty acids, are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids because they cannot be synthesized in the body. The problem we have is that our diets are usually heavily loaded with inflammatory causing omega 6’s and far to low on omega 3’s.
Essential fats, or essential fatty acids (EFAs) are essential nutrients just like other vitamins and minerals.
EFAs are polyunsaturated fats, which are considered "good" fats. EFAs contribute to the healthy functioning of cell membranes, and are also critical for the synthesis of eicosanoids, a family of hormone-like substances that help in cell maintenance on a minute-to-minute basis. Just like other essential vitamins and minerals, EFAs are necessary for the maintenance of good health.
The major sources of 18-carbon omega 3 essential fatty acids (i.e. linolenic acid), are flax seed, soybean, canola, wheat germ, and walnuts oils. Linolenic acid is a short omega 3 which is only partially (less than 20%) converted to EPA and none to DHA.
The most potent omega 3’s are the 20-and 22-carbon sources are fish and fish oils (EPA & DHA)
Alpha Linoleic acid is the 18 carbon omega 6 which tends to increase inflammation and is found in safflower, corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils. Red meat products are a source of arachidonic acid. While some arachidonic acid is necessary for normal function like clotting, the problem is that we have far too much and this leads to Inflammation.
Omega Balance - We can get back into balance by:
Decreasing our intake of Arachidonic Acid/Omega 6 rich foods
Increase Omega 3’s, especially pharmaceutical grade, molecularly distilled fish oil (such as Nordic Naturals)
How Much Fish Oil Do We Need?
If you are healthy and taking for prevention, 2.5 grams a day
If you have chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, memory decline, etc you will need 5-10 grams a day.
2.5 grams = 4 Nordic Naturals ProOmega Capsules or 1 tsp of ProOmega Liquid
(I am taking 1 tablespoon of the liquid = 3 tsp = 7.5 grams daily)
Clinical Studies Have Shown Evidence that Fish Oil is Effective For:
Cardiovascular disease prevention: According to one analysis, consuming dietary fish oil or taking fish oil supplements is associated with a 23% reduction in overall mortality and a 32% reduction in death from cardiovascular causes in people with or without cardiovascular disease. This is much better than the most optimistic results with statin drugs and does not have the numerous complications of statins!
Stroke. Consuming fish oil from dietary sources at least once a week seems to reduce the risk of ischemic stroke by 27%. Higher serum levels of fish oil are also associated with a decreased risk of stroke.
Coronary Artery Disease slowing and regression: Fish oil supplements, 6 grams/day for three months and then 3 grams/day for 21 months, resulted in mild to moderate regression of atherosclerosis as measured by angiography in people with coronary artery disease.
Angioplasty. Taking fish oil orally prevents restenosis after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty.
Hypertriglyceridemia. Fish oil from supplements or from dietary sources can reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%
Hypertension. Taking fish oils orally seems to produce modest, but significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension with or without type 2 diabetes.
Obesity. Fish oil can improve weight loss and decrease blood glucose and insulin concentrations in overweight and hypertensive patients.
Osteoporosis. Epidemiological research indicates increasing intake of foods including fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and decreasing intake of omega-6 fatty acids is associated with higher bone mineral density at the hip in both women and men. Taking fish oil orally, in combination with evening primrose oil and calcium, seems to decrease bone turnover and increase spinal and femoral bone mineral density in elderly people with osteoporosis.
Age-related maculopathy. There is evidence that people who ingest fish oil from dietary fish sources more than once per week have a reduced risk of developing age-related maculopathy.
Miscarriage. Taking fish oil orally prevents recurrent miscarriage and increase live birth rate in pregnant women with antiphospholipid syndrome.
Asthma. Research suggests that fish oil supplementation can improve peak flow and reduce medication use and cough in children with asthma.
Cataracts Fish oil from resulted in an 11% reduction in developing cataracts
Cognitive function. Epidemiological research suggests that consuming higher amounts of fish oil is associated with improved cognitive function in late adulthood.
Depression. Epidemiological research suggests eating fish lowers the risk of depression and suicide and the prevalence of depression is lower in countries with higher fish consumption
Developmental coordination improvement. A combination of fish oils (80%) and evening primrose oil (20%) seems to improve reading spelling and behavior when given to children age 5-12 years with developmental coordination disorder. However, it doesn't seem to improve motor skills.
Diabetic nephropathy. Taking fish oil orally reduces albuminuria in individuals with diabetic nephropathy.
Dry eye syndrome. Intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a reduced risk of dry eye syndrome in women.
Dysmenorrhea. Taking fish oils, alone or in combination with vitamin B12, seems to decrease pain and interference with daily activities in adolescent girls and women with dysmenorrheal.
Dyspraxia. Taking fish oil orally, in combination with evening primrose oil, thyme oil, and vitamin E seems to improve movement disorders in children with dyspraxia. One small clinical trial has shown that this combination significantly decreases movement disorders as determined by objective measures.
Raynaud's syndrome. There's some evidence that taking fish oil orally can improve tolerance to cold and delay the onset of vasospasm in people with primary Raynaud's syndrome.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Taking fish oil orally seems to significantly decrease the duration of morning stiffness in patients with RA.
Some studies have also shown effectiveness in Alzheimer’s and Cancer
Steps to reducing inflammation and slow the aging process
Avoid simple carbohydrates and high glycemic index foods (see previous newsletter) because these increase insulin which activates Delta 5-Desaturase which is the enzyme which converts Omega 6’s to Arachidonic Acid and on to the “bad” eicosanoids
Avoid or at least limit arachidonic acid rich foods such as: fatty red meat (especially corn fed), organ meats and egg yolks
Eat more low arachidonic acid protein sources such as chicken, turkey and egg whites
Take Fish oil in the dose of 2.5-10 grams a day (4-16 caps or more realistically 2-4 teaspoons a day of Nordic Fish Oil. 1 tsp = 4 capsules = 2.5 grams of omega 3
Remember that when you use high dose fish oil therapy you need to use pharmaceutical grade fish oil
GLA (gamma linolenic acid) should be added when high dose fish oil is used. Borage Oil & Evening Primrose Oil are good sources of GLA. NOTE: GLA is NOT recommended during Pregnancy.
Fish oils need to be balanced with antioxidants. I strongly recommend adding vitamin C, 1-2 Power Paks and eating 9+ servings of fruits and vegetables. If you are not eating 9+ servings regularly, I recommend adding Juice Plus (fruits/vegetables in capsules) to ensure your intake of crucial anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
Additional steps to reduce inflammation
Drink green tea/take capsules
Increase fish oil dose until the TG/HDL ratio is less than 2 (up to 10 grams a day).
A even more accurate way to dose fish oil is to measure the Arachidonic acid to/EPA level. AA/EPA ratio can be measured at Your Future Health 877-468-6934. Disease prone state is an AA/EPA ratio of 10 or greater. 1.5 is idea, 3 is considered good. This is especially helpful to fine tune dosing for those needed more than 5 grams of fish oil daily.
Quercetin (from numerous sources; dietarily it is mainly obtained from onions, applies, fruit juices, and tea, supplements are often derived from eucalyptus)
Boswellia, boswellic acid (from frankincense) is a natural LOX inhibitor.
Add Curcumin (from turmeric)
To your health!
Donald P Ellsworth, M.D.
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