Fetuses and infants simply must get enough omega-3 oils for ideal brain development. In a research study of premature babies, those who were fed breast milk had eight points higher IQ at age eight than those fed a standard bay formula. This suggests that the higher amounts of DHA in breast milk can attribute to increased intelligence.
Physicians also advise expectant mothers to add omega-3's into their diet particularly during the last trimester where most critical brain growth happens. Studies also show that boys with lower levels of omega-3 fat have greater tendencies of behavioral problems like hyperactivity, anxiousness or temper tantrums.
Brain cells simply need DHA to function at their highest levels. If our diets are low in omega-3 fatty acids and the brain cells do not get enough, our brains will suffer and inevitably, we will also. But when it is supplied with what it needs, the brain can function much better. The brain is kind of like a relay race. Thought travels thru electrical signals through the brain, getting passed like a baton from one neuron to another. For a signal to enter a neuron, the signal needs to pass through the walls of the neuron, called cell membranes. These walls consist exlusively of fats and twenty percent of these are essential fatty acids like omega-3's.
Omega-3's are claimed to strengthen our synapses, making it easier for signals to cross the space between the brain cells. Since omega-3's are essential fats,the question becomes: Where can we get this vital material?
Although long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in somewhat small quantities in foods like walnuts, flaxseed and a few others, the most beneficial form of Omega-3's, the fatty acids DHA and EPA, can only be found in fish like salmon, tuna, herring, anchovies, mackerel, sablefish and bluefish, etc.
Oddly, omega-6 oils like those found in corn and sunflower seed oils as well as the majority of margarines often neutralize the benefits of omega-3's, so one is well advised to take olive oil and canola oil in their place. Sadly, most Americans consume a dangerously inadequate supply of omega-3's and an excess of omega-6 fatty acids.
Let us just say that the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be around 1 to 1, but the average American ratio ranges from 20 to 1 to 50 to 1.
In addition, fish oil in the form of daily supplements has proven to be a superb replacement, particularly for those that do not eat fish at all or very often, those who simply do not like fish, those pregnant and nursing who should be avoiding mercury or those that are allergic. Speaking of mercury, this issue should be taken into serious consideration, as fish of all types from all waters are now demonstrating hazardous levels of tasteless but toxic mercury. Some physicians are beginning to inform their patients about this metal which is taking up residence inside the bodies of fish because of our polluted environment. There is some salmon which that you can buy for an enormous price which has been lab tested for mercury and other toxins.
Although there is no established RDA for Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA), much of the medical research on the benefits of these nutrients is conducted using amounts of one thousand mg and more.
For instance, according to GISSI-Prevenzione Investigators: "Dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E after myocardial infarction: Results of the GISSI-Prevenzione trial." Lancet 354:447-455 (1999). This study was conducted using approximately one thousand milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids. For more data about fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids, visit Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil and find out more.
Ryan Joseph is a write/researcher. For more information visit http://www.theultimatefishoil.com
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