Health Spotlight: Why Fish and Omega-3s Are So Important

Health Spotlight: Why Fish and Omega-3s Are So Important

If you’re a lover of seafood, then this is definitely going to shed some light on your options. Studies have been released over recent years that show that fish should be consumed at least twice a week. But with mercury level and polluted waters, contamination has risen significantly.

Which Fish is the Best Fish?

Many tuna are high in mercury, but albacore tuna (the kind of white tuna that’s commonly canned) gets a “Super Green” rating as long as it is “troll- or pole-caught” in the U.S. or British Columbia. The reason – smaller (usually less than 20 pounds), younger fish are typically caught this way (as opposed to the larger fish caught on longlines). These fish have much lower mercury and contaminant ratings and those caught in colder northern water soften have higher omega-3 counts.

• Albacore Tuna
• Salmon
• Oysters
• Sardines
• Rainbow Trout

Not getting the daily recommended amount of omega-3s in your diet? Fish Oil Supplementation might be able to help!

Fish Oil Capsules: Ancient Food for the Modern Brain By Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

A large and growing number of studies show the overwhelming benefits fish oils have for the brain. Fish oils can help children with ADHD, especially if they have significant learning disabilities. Fish oils reduce the level of anxiety or depressive symptoms in adults as well as help protect your brain, memory and IQ well into old age. The results of these studies may lead doctors who treat brain-related conditions to change certain aspects of their practice.

Fish Oils are Essential for Memory and Cognitive Function

Fish oils accomplish their effects on the brain through many different pathways. Fish oils mostly supply two important fats – EPA and DHA. The DHA component combines with the brain-friendly nutrient Phosphatidylserine to improve the health of neurons, or to shield the brain from stress hormones. This has applications for improving and protecting memory and executive functions, particularly in the elderly, adults and children with ADHD. It may also improve physical activity and performance in athletes.

Fish Oils Protect the Brain

Fish oil fatty acids are metabolized into resolvins and protectins. Resolvins made out of the EPA or DHA fractions act like molecular tweezers removing a splinter, but in this case they remove cells that cause inflammation in the brain or the retina of the eye. Protectins are made out of the DHA fraction of fish. They act like a shield in the brain and eyes, and through these activities, Fish Oils help selectively protect cognitive functions and vision.

Fish Oils May Postpone or Fight Alzheimer’s disease

Eating fatty fish or taking Fish Oil capsules is proven to be an inexpensive “weapon” that may delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In 2007, researchers led by scientists from UCLA confirmed that Fish Oils are a deterrent against Alzheimer’s – they also identified the science behind their effectiveness. Greg Cole, Professor of Medicine and Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Associate Director of UCLA’s Alzheimer’s disease Research Center, along with his colleagues reported that the DHA component of fish oils increased the production of LR11, a protein that is low in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. LR11 destroys the toxic protein that forms the “plaques” in Alzheimer’s disease. The plaques are deposits of a protein called beta-amyloid that is toxic to neurons in the brain, contributing to Alzheimer’s. This was effective in cell studies as well as in studies of animals specifically bred to develop Alzheimer’s.

Not getting the daily recommended amount of omega-3s in your diet?

Dr. Zady Tan, also of UCLA, has dramatically increased the status of the evidence. Dr. Tan and his colleagues from the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s disease Research, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA examined the effects of Fish Oil levels on brain health and function in 1575 dementia-free adults taking part in the Framingham Study.

In the analysis published online in the journal Neurology, the study participants with an average age of 67 had their red blood cells examined for their fish oil levels. They were also given an MRI to determine brain volume. People with the lowest content of fish oils in their red blood cells, 25% of participants, had a significantly lower total cerebral brain volume (the thinking parts of their brain had shrunk) than those in the highest 25%. They also performed significantly worse on tests of visual memory, executive function and abstract memory. In other words, the fish oils helped reduce the rate of brain aging.

Question about Fish Oils? Leave them in the comments to join the conversation!

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