Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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EFAs &: Alzheimer's ADD/ADHD Behaviour Diabetes

Heart Immunity Lupus Neurodegeneration

Pain Rheumatoid Stroke Ulcerative Colitis

Acidophilus Antioxidants Beta Carotene Bioflavonoids

Chromium Co–Q10 GLA Ginkgo

Glucosamine Magnesium Omega-3 Resveratrol

Selenium Soy Protein Vitamin B Iatrogenic

Conditions That Respond Alternative Medicine Approaches to Disease

FROM: Life in the Balance   ~ Natural Medicine Online July 2000

FROM: Alternative Medicine Review 2001 (Feb); 6 (1): 61–77

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Articles

International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research
Practice Guidelines for Omega-3 Fatty Acids in
the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

Psychother Psychosom. 2019 (Aug 11);   88 (5):   263–273 ~ FULL TEXT

The expert consensus panel has agreed on using n-3 PUFAs in Major depressive disorder (MDD) treatment for pregnant women, children, and the elderly, and prevention in high-risk populations. Personalizing the clinical application of n-3 PUFAs in subgroups of MDD with a low Omega-3 Index or high levels of inflammatory markers might be regarded as areas that deserve future research.

An Improvement of Cardiovascular Risk Factors by Omega-3
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

J Clin Med Res. 2018 (Apr); 10 (4): 281–289 ~ FULL TEXT

An epidemiological survey in the Northwest Greenland reported that the Greenlanders have a lower frequency of acute myocardial infarction and diabetes mellitus. The very low incidence of ischemic heart disease in the Greenlanders was explained by consumption of a diet rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Possible anti-atherothrombotic effects of omega-3 PUFA include an improvement of lipid metabolism such as a reduction of triglyceride and an increase of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), and glucose metabolism, anti-platelet activity, anti-inflammatory effects, an improvement of endothelial function and stabilization of atherosclerotic plaque. The present study reviews an improvement of cardiovascular risk factors such as dyslipidemia and diabetes due to consumption of omega-3 PUFA. A sufficient number of studies suggest that omega-3 PUFA supplementation reduces serum triglyceride and increases HDL-cholesterol.

Vitamins and Nutrients as Primary Treatments in Experimental
Brain Injury: Clinical Implications for Nutraceutical Therapies

Brain Res 2016 (Jun 1);   1640 (Pt A):   114–129 ~ FULL TEXT

With the numerous failures of pharmaceuticals to treat traumatic brain injury in humans, more researchers have become interested in combination therapies. This is largely due to the multimodal nature of damage from injury, which causes excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, edema, neuroinflammation and cell death. Polydrug treatments have the potential to target multiple aspects of the secondary injury cascade, while many previous therapies focused on one particular aspect. Of specific note are vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can be utilized to supplement other therapies. Many of these have low toxicity, are already FDA approved and have minimal interactions with other drugs, making them attractive targets for therapeutics.

Neuroinflammatory Processes in Cognitive Disorders: Is There
a Role for Flavonoids and N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
in Counteracting Their Detrimental Effects?

Neurochem Int. 2015 (Oct);   89:   63–74 ~ FULL TEXT

We will also detail the current evidence indicating that flavonoids and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are strong candidates in preventing neuroinflammation and modulating age-related memory decline, and we will describe the potential mechanisms of action underlying their neuroprotective effects. As such, these dietary bioactives represent important precursor molecules in the quest to develop a new generation of drugs capable of counteracting neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.

Brain Atrophy in Cognitively Impaired Elderly: The Importance
of Long-chain ω-3 Fatty Acids and B Vitamin Status
in a Randomized Controlled Trial

American J Clinical Nutrition 2015 (Jul);   102 (1):   215–221 ~ FULL TEXT

This study provides greater clarity to earlier studies that found that B vitamins and/or Omega-3 fatty acids were found to slow brain loss in areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease.   It also helps explain why some trials that only focused on the B vitamins had mixed results.   Apparently having high blood levels of BOTH the B vitamins AND Omega-3s provides better results in prevention of the deterioration of the brain tissue in Alzheimer's patients.

Women Who Take N-3 long-chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplements
During Pregnancy and Lactation Meet the Recommended Intake

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2015 (May); 40 (5): 474–481 ~ FULL TEXT

This newly published study, assessing the diet of over 600 pregnant women (Canadian Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition Trial) found that only 27% of them met the current European Union (EU) consensus recommendation for DHA blood levels during pregnancy. DHA (one of the key Omega-3 fatty acids) is very important for fetal brain (nervous system) development.

Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Marine and Botanical Oils:
An 18-month, Randomized, and Double-blind Trial

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014 (Mar 19);   2014:   857456

Although the combination of oils did not prove superior to either oil alone, patients in each group did improve significantly, so that most patients had incentive to continue the trial. In addition, these oils can substitute for NSAIDs, and the combination of both oils allows reduction of more toxic DMARDs by patients treated with agents that block TNFa. Newer formulations which provide appropriate fatty acids in smaller capsules would encourage more patients to use them rather than NSAIDs. Further studies of the combination of marine and botanical oils might provide data to persuade physicians to use them in treatment of patients on DMARDs and biologic agents, in an effort to reduce treatment with the more toxic DMARDs.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids as a Putative Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury
J Neurotrauma. 2013 (Jun 1);   30 (11):   897–906

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global public health epidemic. In the US alone, more than 3 million people sustain a TBI annually. It is one of the most disabling injuries as it may cause motor and sensory deficits and lead to severe cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial impairment, crippling vital areas of higher functioning. Fueled by the recognition of TBI as the “signature injury” in our wounded soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its often devastating impact on athletes playing contact sports, interest in TBI and TBI research has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, despite increased awareness of its detrimental consequences, there has been little progress in developing effective TBI interventions. Recent evidence, however, strongly indicates that nutritional intervention may provide a unique opportunity to enhance the neuronal repair process after TBI.

Long-chain N-3 PUFAs Reduce Adipose Tissue and Systemic
Inflammation in Severely Obese Nondiabetic Patients:
A Randomized Controlled Trial

American J Clinical Nutrition 2012 (Nov); 96 (5): 1137–1149 ~ FULL TEXT

This study evaluated daily supplementation with 3.36g omega-3 fatty acids (O-3FA) for 8 weeks and inflammation in 55 obese nondiabetic patients. O-3FA decreased expression of inflammatory genes and increased production of anti-inflammatory compounds in fatty tissue. Treatment with O-3FA reduced inflammation and improved lipid metabolism in obese nondiabetic subjects.

Fish-oil Supplementation Enhances the Effects of
Strength Training in Elderly Women

American J Clinical Nutrition 2012 (Feb); 95 (2): 428–436 ~ FULL TEXT

In conclusion, the use of fish oil (FO) supplementation in addition to strength training potentiates the neuromuscular system, enhancing the muscle strength and the functional capacity in elderly women. Thus, FO may be an attractive supplement for the elderly to maximize their neuromuscular responses to strength training, which is important to life quality. However, the supplementation length does not influence the strength-training effects.

Nutrient Biomarker Patterns, Cognitive Function,
and MRI Measures of Brain Aging

Neurology. 2012 (Jan 24); 78 (4): 241–249 ~ FULL TEXT

Research investigators at the Department of Neurology of the Oregon Health & Science University reveal that higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E are associated with better mental functioning in the elderly.
You may want to review this New York Times review of this study.

4 Vitamins (and one Fatty Acid) That Strengthen Older Brains
New Tork Times ~ January 2, 2012 ~ FULL TEXT

Higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E are associated with better mental functioning in the elderly, a new study has found.

Big Fish Story
Scientists worldwide are praising a nutrient so powerful that it may help combat dozens of diseases. But don't expect an endorsement from our policy makers: They say we can do without

Cognitive Function After Supplementation with B Vitamins
and Long-chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Ancillary Findings
From the SU.FOL.OM3 Randomized Trial

American J Clinical Nutrition 2011 (Jul);   94 (1):   278–286 ~ FULL TEXT

This study investigated the effects of supplementation on cognition in a high-risk population. In subjects with prior stroke, B vitamins plus omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a higher score on the temporal orientation cognition task vs those assigned to placebo. Effects may be group specific and may be useful in interventions aimed at preventing cognitive decline in high-risk individuals.

Nutritional Intervention with Fish Oil Provides a Benefit Over Standard
of Care for Weight and Skeletal Muscle Mass in Patients
with Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer Receiving Chemotherapy

Cancer 2011 (Apr 15); 117 (8): 1775–1782

Involuntary weight loss is a major contributor to mortality and morbidity in patients with advanced cancer. In this study, patients supplemented with 2.2 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) per day maintained weight, muscle mass, and adipose tissue throughout approximately 10 weeks of chemotherapy, despite having a mean weight loss of 6.3 percent over the previous 6 months. During the same period, patients receiving no supplementation lost an average of 2.3 kilograms (5 pounds).

Long Chain Omega 3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation in
the Treatment of Elderly Depression: Effects on Depressive Symptoms,
on Phospholipids Fatty Acids Profile and on Health-related Quality of Life

J Nutr Health Aging. 2011 (Jan); 15 (1): 37–44

In this two-month Italian study, 46 depressed female nursing home patients ages 66–95, received either supplements of 2.5 g omega 3 fatty acids or a placebo daily. Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation reduced the occurrence of depressive symptoms, improved phospholipid fatty acid profile, and improved health-related quality of life measurements in the Omega 3 group, compared to the placebo group.

Natural Anti-inflammatory Agents For Pain Relief
Surg Neurol Int. 2010 (Dec 13); 1: 80 ~ FULL TEXT

The use of both over-the-counter and prescription nonsteroidal medications is frequently recommended in a typical neurosurgical practice. But persistent long-term use safety concerns must be considered when prescribing these medications for chronic and degenerative pain conditions. This article is a literature review of the biochemical pathways of inflammatory pain, the potentially serious side effects of nonsteroidal drugs and commonly used and clinically studied natural alternative anti-inflammatory supplements. Although nonsteroidal medications can be effective, herbs and dietary supplements may offer a safer, and often an effective, alternative treatment for pain relief, especially for long-term use.

Specialty Supplements and Breast Cancer Risk in the VITamins
And Lifestyle (VITAL) Cohort

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 (Jul); 19 (7): 1696–1708 ~ FULL TEXT

Dietary supplements taken for menopause have been associated with reduced risk of breast cancer. This study investigated the long-term use of supplements and breast cancer risk in 35,000 postmenopausal women, in the Vitamins and Lifestyle study. Supplemental fish oil use was associated with a 32% reduced risk of breast cancer and 10-year average use was suggestive of reduced risk for breast cancer. The authors conclude that fish oil intake may be inversely associated with breast cancer risk and that future research for fish oil in chemoprevention studies is warranted.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) - Monograph
Alternative Medicine Review 2009 (Dec); 14 (4): 391–399 ~ FULL TEXT

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that falls into the larger category of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Although many chronic conditions are associated with excessive intake of dietary saturated and trans fatty acids (including obesity, insulin resistance, coronary heart disease, and some forms of cancer), research shows omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA, are essential in the prevention and treatment of numerous diseases. DHA has been shown to be particularly important for fetal brain development, optimal development of motor skills and visual acuity in infants, lipid metabolism in children and adults, and cognitive support in the elderly. In vitro and animal studies also suggest a beneficial role for DHA in certain types of cancer.

Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Human Health Outcomes
Biofactors 2009 (May); 35 (3): 266–272

Current intakes of very long chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are low in most individuals living in Western countries. At sufficient levels of incorporation, EPA and DHA influence the physical nature of cell membranes and membrane protein-mediated responses, eicosanoid generation, cell signaling and gene expression in many different cell types. Through these mechanisms, EPA and DHA influence cell and tissue physiology, and the way cells and tissues respond to external signals. In most cases, the effects seen are compatible with improvements in disease biomarker profiles or in health-related outcomes. On the basis of the recognized health improvements brought about by long chain omega-3 fatty acids, recommendations have been made to increase their intake.

Effect of Fish Oil-Derived Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid
Supplementation on Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction
and Immune Function in Athletes

The Physician and Sportsmedicine 2008 (Dec): 36 (1)

Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) is a condition in which vigorous physical activity triggers acute airway obstruction in asthmatic and nonasthmatic individuals with hyperresponsive airways. Studies have shown that inflammatory mediators and contraction of airway smooth muscle are central components in the pathogenesis of EIB, and it has long been recognized that leukotrienes and prostaglandins play an important role in the EIB response. Studies have shown that 3 weeks of fish oil supplementation, rich in EPA and DHA, reduces exercise-induced airway narrowing, airway inflammation, and bronchodilator use in elite athletes and asthmatic individuals with EIB. Based on the evidence to date, fish oil supplementation may represent a potentially beneficial treatment intervention for athletes and asthmatic individuals with EIB.

Omega-3 DHA and EPA for Cognition, Behavior, and Mood:
Clinical Findings and Structural-functional Synergies
with Cell Membrane Phospholipids

Alternative Medicine Review 2007 (Sep); 12 (3): 207–227 ~ FULL TEXT

The omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are orthomolecular, conditionally essential nutrients that enhance quality of life and lower the risk of premature death. They function exclusively via cell membranes, in which they are anchored by phospholipid molecules. DHA is proven essential to pre- and postnatal brain development, whereas EPA seems more influential on behavior and mood. Both DHA and EPA generate neuroprotective metabolites. In double-blind, randomized, controlled trials, DHA and EPA combinations have been shown to benefit attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia, and aggression.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Monograph
Alternative Medicine Review 2006 (Sep); 11 (3): 232–237 ~ FULL TEXT

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA – also known as thioctic acid) was discovered in 1951 as a molecule that assists in acyl-group transfer and as a coenzyme in the Krebs cycle. In the 1980s, the scientific community realized alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant. Several qualities distinguish alpha-lipoic acid from other antioxidants: ALA can be synthesized by animals and humans; [1] it neutralizes free radicals in both the fatty and watery regions of cells, in contrast to vitamin C (water soluble) and vitamin E (fat soluble); and, ALA functions as an antioxidant in both its reduced and oxidized forms. [2]

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) as an Anti-inflammatory:
An Alternative to Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
for Discogenic Pain

Surgical Neurology 2006 (Apr); 65 (4): 326–331

The use of NSAID medications is a well-established effective therapy for both acute and chronic nonspecific neck and back pain.   Extreme complications, including gastric ulcers, bleeding, myocardial infarction, and even deaths, are associated with their use. An alternative treatment with fewer side effects that also reduces the inflammatory response and thereby reduces pain is believed to be omega-3 EFAs found in fish oil. We report our experience in a neurosurgical practice using fish oil supplements for pain relief.

Study Links Nutrition and Children’s Behaviour
Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals 2005 (Jul)

The double-blind study gave the 5- to 12-year-old children, many of whom had accompanying attention deficit problems and dyslexia, either an olive oil placebo or a fish oil-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Those on the supplement showed greatly increased concentration and ability to process information within three months of taking the supplement, with an average advancement in reading age of about nine months and spelling age of six months.
Here's a report on the Durham Dyspraxia Trial.
There's more like this at our ADD/ADHD Page.

Neurobehavioral Aspects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Possible Mechanisms and Therapeutic Value
in Major Depression

Alternative Medicine Review 2003 (Nov); 8 (4): 410–425 ~ FULL TEXT

Omega-3 fatty acids have been the subject of volumes of international research, the results of which indicate these substances may have therapeutic value in a number of medical conditions. An emerging area of research is examining the neurobehavioral aspects of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic, docosahexaenoic) and the critical role of these essential fats in the functioning of the central nervous system. Investigations have linked omega-3 fatty acids to a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression. The purpose of this article is to examine the possible mechanisms of action and potential clinical value of omega-3 fatty acids in major depression. A novel mechanism involving omega-3 modulation of cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is proposed.

The Diet-induced Proinflammatory State:
A Cause of Chronic Pain and Other Degenerative Diseases?

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002 (Mar);   25 (2):   168-179 ~ FULL TEXT

We can no longer view different diseases as distinct biochemical entities. Nearly all degenerative diseases have the same underlying biochemical etiology, that is, a diet-induced proinflammatory state. Although specific diseases may require specific treatments, such as adjustments for hypomobile joints, Beta-blockers for hypertension, and chemotherapy for cancer, the treatment program must also include nutritional protocols to reduce the proinflammatory state.

Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids:
Impact on Cancer Chemotherapy and Radiation

Alternative Medicine Review 2002 (Feb);   7 (1):   4–21 ~ FULL TEXT

Preclinical studies have shown that certain polyunsaturated fatty acids may actually enhance the cytotoxicity of several antineoplastic agents and the anticancer effects of radiotherapy. These effects are possibly mediated by incorporation of the polyunsaturated fatty acids into cancer cell membranes, thus altering the physical and functional properties. In addition, certain polyunsaturated fatty acids may also reduce or prevent some of the side effects of these therapies, and administering antioxidants to prevent polyunsaturated fatty acid-induced oxidative stress may further enhance the impact of chemotherapy and radiation.

Multiple Sclerosis, An Autoimmune Inflammatory Disease:
Prospects for its Integrative Management

Alternative Medicine Review 2001 (Dec);   6 (6):   540–566 ~ FULL TEXT

No pharmaceutical or other therapies exist that confer prolonged remission on MS, and obvious interrelationships between toxic, infectious, and dietary factors make a persuasive case for integrative management. The time-proven MS diet meticulously keeps saturated fats low, includes three fish meals per week, and eliminates allergenic foods. Dietary supplementation for MS minimally requires potent vitamin supplementation, along with the thiol antioxidants, the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and adaptogenic phytonutrients. Gut malabsorption and dysbiosis can be corrected using digestive enzymes and probiotics. You may review other articles about the nutritional treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Conjugated Linoleic Acid: A Review
Alternative Medicine Review 2001 (Aug);   6 (4):   367–382 ~ FULL TEXT

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) refers to a group of positional and geometric isomers of the omega-6 essential fatty acid linoleic acid. In humans evidence is currently ambiguous as to whether CLA supplementation has a significant effect on body composition. Despite favorable changes in lipid levels in animal models, a beneficial effect in humans has not yet been established. While some of the changes reported are consistent with an improved lipid profile, declines in HDL and increases in lipoprotein (a) have also been observed in some subjects. Available evidence suggests CLA supplementation has no impact on immune system performance in healthy subjects.

Can Manipulation of the Ratios of Essential Fatty Acids Slow
the Rapid Rate of Postmenopausal Bone Loss?

Alternative Medicine Review 2001 (Feb); 6 (1): 61–77 ~ FULL TEXT

The rapid rate of postmenopausal bone loss is mediated by the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Dietary supplementation with fish oil, flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil in animals and healthy humans significantly reduces cytokine production while concomitantly increasing calcium absorption, bone calcium, and bone density. Possibilities may exist for the therapeutic use of the omega-3 fatty acids, as supplements or in the diet, to blunt the increase of the inflammatory bone resorbing cytokines produced in the early postmenopausal years, in order to slow the rapid rate of postmenopausal bone loss. Evidence also points to the possible benefit of gamma-linolenic acid in preserving bone density.

Fish Oil Monograph
Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Aug); 5 (6): 576–580 ~ FULL TEXT

Many well-recognized problems are associated with excessive intake of dietary fat, including obesity, insulin resistance, coronary heart disease, and some forms of cancer. While intakes of saturated, trans, and arachidonic fatty acids have been linked to the development of chronic disease, research shows omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids, specifically fish oils, are essential in the prevention and treatment of disease.

Life in the Balance - The Critical Need for Omega-3 Supplementation
Natural Medicine Online 2000 (Jul) ~ FULL TEXT

Throughout human history mankind has ingested an approximate equal proportion (1/1 ratio) of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids. The Omegas 6 and 3 are two of forty-nine known essential nutrients. As essential nutrients they cannot be synthesized by the body, but must be ingested directly in foods or in the form of dietary supplements. The relationship of equivalence between the two Omegas is critical because they self-check each other in a delicate balance to regulate thousands of metabolic functions through prostaglandin pathways.

Fats, Fish Oil and Omega-3-Fatty Acids ~ A Primer
MedicineNet (undated)

Find out a little about EFA's and what are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Battle of the Omega-3s: Marine vs Veggie Sources of Omega-3s
Nutrition Science News (July 2004)

Omega-3 fatty acids are generally derived from either nonmarine sources (vegetable oils) or marine sources. [1] Fatty acids from marine oils include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), primarily obtained from cold-water fish. Recently, menhaden oil and omega-3 oils from micro algae have been granted GRAS status by the US government. The nonmarine sources of omega-3s are generally in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and can be obtained from flaxseed, walnut and other oilseeds such as soybean or canola.

Non-fish Sources of the Omega-3s?
Nutrition Science News (July 2004)

Much has been written about the cardiovascular, anticancer and immune-modulating effects of omega-3 oils found in cold-water fish. The main fatty acids in this family are alpha linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA, found predominantly in fish, appear to have most of the beneficial effects attributed to omega-3 oils, although the body can convert ALA to both DHA and EPA. However, the body will only convert about 10% of ALA to DHA.

The Essential PUFA Guide For Dogs And Cats
Nutrition Science News (October 2001)

Dogs and cats suffer from many problems that affect their skin and coats. Skin, the body's largest organ, is a natural protector against toxic substances, dehydration, infection, and ultraviolet light. Good nutrition can have a positive effect on an animal's coat and skin.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) for Bone Growth and Repair
Nutrition Science News (March 2001)

Bone strength is not normally associated with conditions such as osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, severe food allergies, Lyme disease or the autoimmune condition known as ankylosing spondylitis. However, these conditions are known to interfere with the absorption and utilization of nutrients needed to construct healthy bone and cartilage. [1] Moreover, some biochemical messengers associated with these chronic inflammatory conditions directly interfere with bone growth and repair. [2]

Omega-3s May Help Rheumatoid Arthritis
Nutrition Science News (February 2001)

Omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish oil supplements may provide modest improvement in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at the University of Newcastle in Australia. In this study, 50 people with RA were randomly assigned to take either 40 mg/kg body weight of fish oil (containing 60 percent omega-3 fatty acids) or placebo daily for 15 weeks. The fish oil group had an average age of 54 and an average disease duration of 12 years, whereas the placebo group was 60 years old on average and had RA for an average of 15 years. Because omega-6 fatty acids, found in most vegetable oils, compete with omega-3 fatty acids, the researchers included only subjects who generally ate less than 10 g/day of omega-6 fatty acids.

Alpha Lipoic Acid: The Universal Antioxidant
Nutrition Science News (October 2000)

Move over vitamins C and E, there is another antioxidant in town said to provide a far wider range of benefits. Lipoic acid, which is the priority name according to the American Society of Biological Chemistry, is also known as alpha-lipoic acid and thioctic acid. Like other antioxidants, lipoic acid has the ability to scavenge the body for disease-causing free radicals; however, that appears to only scratch the surface of this supplement's benefits. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation of cells by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that contain one or more unpaired electrons and cause damage by "stealing" electrons from other molecules such as DNA, fats and proteins. Antioxidants prevent this damage by donating electrons to the radical, preempting its need to "steal" and thus neutralizing the radical's reactivity.

Polyunsaturated Fats and Neurological Disorders
Nutrition Science News (September 2000)

For he past 50 years, major psychiatric disorders generally have been attributed to neurotransmitter system abnormalities. Neurotransmitters are biochemicals that transfer information from one neuron, or central nervous system cell, to another. While this concept is still considered valid, it has limited ability to explain the origins and guide the treatment of mental illness. Furthermore, there is a growing consensus in scientific circles that the phospholipid metabolism of the neuron cells themselves also plays a crucial role in the development of mental conditions. [1] Phospholipids are substances composed of two fatty acids linked to a phosphate group (e.g. choline, serine, inositol). This consensus has come because numerous studies have linked low brain levels of these substances to conditions such as depression, dyslexia, schizophrenia and more.

Natural COX-2 Inhibitors: The Future of Pain Relief
Nutrition Science News (August 2000)

Although NSAIDs are effective, their anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-fever and anti-thrombotic results can come at a high price. They can inhibit COX-2, but they inhibit COX-1 as well. This is problematic because COX-1 inhibition "turns off" some important functions such as the repair and maintenance of stomach lining, which results in varying degrees of gastric ulcerations, perforations or obstructions in one-third to almost one-half of patients taking them. [4] Moreover, on the extreme end, more than 16,500 people die in the United States each year from NSAID-related gastrointestinal bleeding. [5]

Serum Fatty Acid Imbalance in Bone Loss:
Example with Periodontal Disease

Clin Nutr 2000 (Aug); 19 (4): 271–276

People often use omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. As it turns out, these fatty acids may actually help prevent bone loss. French researchers found that high levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids were strongly associated with bone loss in a group of 105 periodontal patients. The use of omega-3 supplements — 360 mg/day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 240 mg/day of docasahexanoic acid (DHA) — appeared to decrease production of proinflammatory prostaglandin E2 in bone. Significantly, it also stopped bone loss.

Fish Oil Reduces Atherosclerotic Blockages
Nutrition Science News (October 1999)

Evidence that a diet rich in fish reduces the incidence of heart disease [1, 2] is so strong and the news so widespread that people are taking it for granted. Despite the promising evidence of this preventive effect, however, remarkably few human studies prove encapsulated fish oil is more effective than placebo as a heart disease treatment. The few studies were relatively small and had mixed results—some showing benefit, others not. [3-6]

A Smart Start for Pregnancy and Lactation
Nutrition Science News (March 1999)

Many health–conscious women who are pregnant or breast–feeding adhere to dietary guidelines set by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology that recommend limiting fat intake for the health of their babies. However, scientists now recognize that specific long–chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs) are required for the development of a baby's brain, nerves, heart and eyes. Furthermore, research has revealed that pregnant American women do not get enough LCPs in their diet, even when they are not necessarily trying to limit fat intake. [1]

A Simple Chart of the Omega–3 and Omega–6 Fatty Acids
Nutrition Science News (March 1999)

The ideal ratio of omega–6:omega–3 fatty acid consumption is 1:1. The average American diet pushes that ratio to 20:1 or 30:1. Where have the omega–3 fatty acids gone? Blame it on altered eating habits.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Monograph
Alternative Medicine Review 1998 (Aug);   3 (4):   308–311 ~ FULL TEXT

Acting as a potent antioxidant, DHLA was found to protect rat pancreatic islet cells from destruction by reactive oxygen species. [10] In vitro, lipoic acid was found to stimulate glucose uptake by muscle cells in a manner similar to insulin. [11] Type 2 diabetics, given 1000 mg intravenously (I.V.), experienced a 50 percent improvement in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake.

Essential Fatty Acids Improve Infant IQ
Nutrition Science News (undated)

An infant's brain grows rapidly during the first year of life––tripling its size from birth. In that year, the foundations for intelligence, vision and language are built. Since the human brain is about 60 percent fat, all this brain building requires fatty acids. Proper foods, rich in those fats, might even give babies an intelligence advantage.

Stress-Reducing Fatty Acids Also May Defuse Health Risks
Nutrition Science News (May 1997)

More than half of all patients who visit general physicians suffer from symptoms triggered or made worse by stress– headaches, ulcers, fatigue or even emotional distress. Two research studies demonstrated that essential fatty acid nutritional supplements can increase resistance to stress– and its debilitating and costly side effects.

Important Fats For The Body
Nutrition Science News (Nov 1996)

"Save your heart–eat less fat." This is a fallacy believed by many. People follow the simplified formula by eating traditionally low–fat foods such as bread, pasta and cereal. Manufacturers supplement consumer buying trends with low–fat cookies, crackers and treats.

Back to Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)


Omega-3 Fatty Acid Abstracts by Category

Alzheimer's Disease & EFAs

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/
         Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) & EFAs

Cardiovascular Disease & EFAs

Immune System & EFAs

Cancer & EFAs

Diabetic Neuropathy & EFAs

Multiple Sclerosis & EFAs

Neurodegenerative Diseases & EFAs

Pain & EFAs

Parkinson's Disease & EFAs

Ulcerative Colitis & EFAs

Rheumatoid Arthritis & EFAs

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Allergic and Inflammatory Diseases,
         Migraine, Cardiovascular and Postmenopausal Issues & EFAs

Stroke & EFAs


Behavioural Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Study Links Nutrition and Children’s Behaviour
Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals July 2005

The double-blind study gave the 5- to 12-year-old children, many of whom had accompanying attention deficit problems and dyslexia, either an olive oil placebo or a fish oil-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Those on the supplement showed greatly increased concentration and ability to process information within three months of taking the supplement, with an average advancement in reading age of about nine months and spelling age of six months. Here's a report on the “The Durham Dyspraxia Trial”.

Thanks to Pub Med for their
excellent MEDLINE search tool!

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