Practice Health: Consuming the benefits — How to get in your omega fatty acids
by Meghan Palmer
Special to The Star
Feb 10, 2013 | 2090 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I often advise people to take a triple omega fatty acid supplement. Omega fatty acids are essential fatty acids — so called because we can’t make them, so we need to consume them. We can make other fatty acids by metabolizing our foods, but essential fatty acids come from a diet of healthy fish, vegetable oils and flax seeds. You may have heard of eating fish oil for improved vascular health. Fish oil is one of the healthy omega fatty acids. There are three that you should be consuming regularly — omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. The number denotes where on the carbon chain the double bond exists in the structure of the molecule.

The potential benefits of consuming triple omega fatty acids range from cancer prevention to lowering the risk of a heart attack. These essential oils may help with depression, varicose vein symptoms and digestive health. The benefit that most concerns me, as a chiropractor, is the role this supplement plays in the health of your nervous system. Triple omega fatty acids help form the insulating sheath called myelin, which protects and enables your nervous system.

Eating appropriate nutrients and taking appropriate supplements boils down to two things: giving your body the raw materials it needs to grow, heal and protect you from invading micro-critters, and giving your body these ingredients in the most usable form. Try to find vegetarian or whole-food forms of your supplements. These products are derived from an actual, natural food. Synthetic supplements are often more difficult for your body to utilize, so you do not get the full benefit of the supplement.

In some cases, a simple shift in position of one part of the molecule makes the whole supplement totally useless to your metabolism. So you have essentially thrown away your money on a product that is just passing through. Of course, getting your nutrients from a natural food source is best, but often we don’t know how nutritious modern food really is. Strip-mined tomatoes from Texas are missing more than just taste; many health benefits are lacking as well.

Adding one serving of healthy fish to your menu weekly, sprinkling in some flax seeds to your bread or cereal, and cooking with extra virgin olive oil are all ways to increase your essential fatty acid intake. If you are worried about heavy-metal poisoning from eating more fish, take the fish oil supplement.

Look into increasing your consumption of triple omega fatty acids. Your eyes, heart, immune system, nervous system, circulatory system and good mood will all thank you.

Dr. Meghan R.L. Palmer is a chiropractor and freelance writer in Rogersville, Tenn.
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