Saturday, June 24, 2006

Omega 3 - its everywhere now

I am not the only one to notice how many food packages are emblazoned in prominent lettering with the words Omega 3 . I was talking to a friend the other day who offered me one of his very nice coffees. As I added milk to my cup from the plastic bottle I saw it on the side: "Omega 3" in large slanting letters. I remarked that milk always contained Omega 3, and that it had been there since the beginning of cows. And, what they weren't telling you was that it also contained Omega 6 which is is said our diet already provides plenty of.

Omega 3 is used as a selling point because it is on of the HDLs. While it is often not clear whether O6 is a goodie or a baddie from the popularising articles, this sort of report from The Australian (22 June 2006),Depression link to low fish intake, does at least show that the O3/O6 balence in our diet is a problem.

This Google search has enough to keep anyone interested occupied for hours sorting and sifting fact from fantasy.

But it might be worth adding a few other facts which I gleaned from The Sunday Times March 23 2003, which ran a supplement, Heart Health: All you need to know to beat the cholesterol time bomb.:

* Cholesterol is mainly made in the liver from a variety of foods., but mostly by those containing saturated fats., such as beef, lamb, pork, butter and lard. Cholesterol is vital as it strengthens cell walls and membranes throughtout the body, as well as helping to make bile and some hormones.
** To carry out essential maintenance and repair work, cholesterol attaches itslef to special proteins in the blood to form lipoproteins. It then moves freely around the body in lipoprotein particles.
*** There are two main types of lipoproteins: LDL, known as 'bad' cholesterol and HDL, known as 'good'. HDL is thought to be protective and one theory suggests it strips cholesterol from the artieries and tranports it back to the liver for disposal.
**** When the body had too much LDL, instead of maintaining cells, surplus fat builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply the heart and brain forming plaque, which narrows the arteries and can lead to heart attacks, strokes and angina.
***** There are multiple risk factors implicated in coronary heart disease (CHD) - age, cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, family history - but the greatest is cholesterol.

There are hundreds if not thousands of webpages on what essential fatty acids are. This is just one, but seems to cover it pretty comprehensively: Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) for Your Health

You don't habve to use fish supplements, plain old linseed oil, used on cricket bats, sold as flax oil, can have 45% O3, 14% O6 and 17 % O9. Anyone know whether O9 is good or bad ?


Colleen AF Venable's Amazing Math Trick

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