Dr. Ross Walker explains why omega-3s are so important for good health
A recent study found that eight out of every 10 Australians have below target omega-3 levels. This is of concern as high levels of omega-3 are linked to improved cardiovascular health, reduction in inflammatory conditions and mood disorders. But what are omega-3s, and how can you make sure you are getting enough of them?
What are omega-3s?
If you regularly eat salmon, krill, sardines and walnuts, plus dark leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, then you’re doing a good job of supporting your joint, heart, brain and eye health, and overall general wellbeing. Why? Because these foods all contain omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies can’t make these essential fats, so they must be sourced from our diet.
Omega-3 fats are part of a family of polyunsaturated fats:
• EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid): these essentials fats are mainly found in fish
• ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) – sourced from vegetable oils, walnuts, flax seeds, leafy green vegetables and fat from grass-fed animals.
If your diet is lacking in the essential nutrients, supplementation is available through krill oil, which contains the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in a phospholipid form.
Phospholipids are more easily absorbed in the body than the triglyceride form of omega-3, which is found in fish oil.
Omega-3-rich krill oil contains, astaxanthin which is a carotenoid that gives krill oil its rich red colour. Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant found specifically in Antarctic krill. It naturally protects and stablises the omega-3s in krill oil.
Krill oil is also rich in choline, an essential nutrient that has been shown to support heart, cognitive and liver health.
Why we need omega-3s
Our bodies require omega-3s to function well. Research shows that omega-3 fats may help reduce the risk of arrhythmias and may prevent inflammatory diseases. Research found that those with higher-than-average levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood may be 30 per cent less likely than those with the lowest levels, to develop atrial fibrillation, which can lead to stroke or heart failure. Similar studies have shown a 90 per cent reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death and major coronary events.
Take the test
About 5,000 Australians have taken the Omega-3 Index test and have been shown to have low EPA+DHA status. It is critical that we become more aware of our omega-3 levels to help take control of overall health and wellbeing.
The Omega-3 Index Test – a simple, self-administered finger prick test — helps your health practitioner understand whether you have enough of EPA and DHA levels in your red blood cells. Once you have received your results, you can discuss your health options and forward plan with your health practitioner.
The Omega-3 Index Test is available at Omega Quant.
For more information and to witness the benefits of krill oil first hand visit Superbakrill online.
Always read the label. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare practitioner. Supplementation should not replace a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Always consult your healthcare practitioner.
Do you take supplements for Omega-3 fats? Do you make sure you eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids?