OMEGA-3 RESEARCH

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HEART AND ARTERIES



The heart is, when you look at it, as big as a fist. It pumps four to five liters of blood every minute. To transport this blood, our body needs an extensive set of arteries.

In 2006, researchers Wang et al. researched 842 studies on the subject of our heart and arteries. Their verdict was that a heightened intake of omega-3 fatty acids, through consuming fish and/or supplements, would lower the chances of a heart attack and sudden death immensely. Furthermore, it was necessary to note that there appeared little to no complications with these fatty acids. Another research from the Mayo Clinic confirms the protective influence of omega-3 fatty acids on the heart (5).

The most convincing proof that the omega-3 fatty acids have a favorable effect on the heart and arteries comes from three controlled studies with 32 thousand participants by the Mayo Clinic institute. These researches point to a decline of cardiovascular occurrences of 19% to 45% (6).


BRAIN FUNCTION



The function of our brains as part of the Central Nervous System (CNS) is to regulate the majority of our body and our brains. Our brains fulfill at least 20 different functions. Scientific omega-3 research is desperately needed to gain more knowledge on brain diseases.

Within our brains, the nervous system has the highest fat percentage of all other tissues. Dr. David Horrobin, a prominent researcher and pioneer on the subject of essential fatty acids, writes that about 8% of our brains consist out of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to help our phospholipid membranes (gatekeepers) and the myelin sheath function properly. These are the isolating and protective layers around our nerve cells. Omega-3 fatty acids are therefore often used to treat various physical disorders (10)(11)(12).


ADHD



ADHD does not only appear in children but also in adults. ADHD is a behavioral disorder of which the characteristics are impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inadvertency.

A omega-3 research study with 21 children diagnosed with ADHD shows that they have a heightened deficiency of essential fatty acids than the control group. The first group of children also showed inferior results during processing information and uncontrolled behavior. It’s therefore expected that children with ADHD use more significant amounts of fatty acids or that they cannot convert these fatty acids as well as people without ADHD (21)(38).


AGGRESSION



If you overstep someone’s boundaries, cause damage on purpose, or if you try to achieve or hide something with your anger, then you can start talking about aggression. Aggression is harmful and threatening for the person at whom it is directed.

Omega-3 research has proven that omega-3 fatty acids are connected to aggression (10). Murder is often caused by people that lack or consume too little fatty acids. Blood values containing low amounts of fatty acids are also commonly seen within people who cause aggressive acts. The aggression declines after a years-long intake of extra omega-3 fatty acids (8). It’s been proven that omega-3 fatty acids have a favorable effect on aggression and the control of impulses (15).


SCHIZOPHRENIA



Schizophrenia is a severe and complex psychiatric disorder that often goes together with psychoses. Within this brain disorder, someone loses contact with reality. There seems to be a connection between a low omega-3 intake and the occurrence of psychoses, an epidemiologic research shows.

Omega-3 fatty acids work just as well as the currently available neuroleptics (atypical antipsychotics) (12). Furthermore, multiple studies show that omega-3 supplements can lower the frequency at which mood swings and fallback appear within people with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (41)(48)(49).


BIPOLAR DISORDER



When you suffer from a bipolar disorder, depressive and manic episodes can alternate during specific periods. During a manic episode, you will feel incredibly happy, outgoing, and cheerful. After a certain amount of time, your mood changes and you will feel depressed. It goes from one end to the other.

A clinical study under the leadership of Ander L. Stoll from Harvard University shows that omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on the impulse transmission in the human brain. After nine months, the group of patients with a bipolar disorder (also known as a manic-depressive disorder), visibly recovered after taking fish-oil supplements in comparison to a placebo group.

Follow-up omega-3 research on the influence of fatty acids on the impulse transmission in the nerve tissue show that omega-3 fatty acids have a positive impact on the treatment of the bipolar disorder (10)(11)(12)(17).


DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY



Depression is one of the most well-known and most common mental disorders. During a depression, you’re feeling somber and lethargic for more than two consecutive weeks. Symptoms can be fatigue, restlessness, and feeling worthless (39)(40). Anxiety disorders are also quite common. You’ll feel continuously nervous, and not a day passes by without you worrying about something. It’s important to note that we all have a bad day sometimes, or that we fear. However, if your daily life suffers from these symptoms, we can speak of a disorder.

Omega-3 research shows that when you consume fatty acids regularly, the chances of a depression decline (41)(42). Even more so, immediately after taking in omega-3 fatty acids during a depressive or anxiety episode, your symptoms will diminish too (39)(41)(43)(44)(45)(46). From all fatty acids, only omega-3 EPA is proven to be the most effective. It turns out omega-3 fatty acids work just as well against depression as, for instance, Prozac (an antidepressant) (47).


DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER



Dementia is a collective name for about 50 different diseases in which the brain doesn’t process information as well anymore. Alzheimer's is a form of dementia. Tests on animals have shown that applying omega-3 fatty acids have a favorable influence on brain function and blood flow. In theory, this would mean that omega-3 fatty acids would reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Research, unfortunately, proves otherwise: the results of the studies are often contradictory, or the quality of the study is insufficient (15).


INFLAMMATION AND AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASES



There are approximately two forms of inflammation: the classic acute inflammation that often pairs with redness, pain, and swelling, and the chronic version, which is also known as low-grade inflammation. Lifestyle factors and foods often maintain, trigger, or worsen these inflammations.

Examples of these inflammations are high blood pressure, heart diseases, rheumatic arthritis, osteoporosis, rhema, COPD, fibromyalgia, and depression. Omega-3 fatty acids can stop inflammatory substances like eicosanoids and cytokines (50)(51)(52).

The immune system cleans up the pathogens daily and protects against infections. Within an auto-immune disease, the immune system regards healthy cells for foreign cells that proceed to be attacked. Diabetes type 1 is an excellent example of this. The insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are attacked within this disease.

Studies have shown that when children in their first year get sufficient omega-3 fatty acids, they have less chance of developing, among other things, diabetes type 1 and autoimmune disease and multiple sclerosis later on in life. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to treat rheumatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis (52)(56)(57)(58)(59)(60)(61)(62).


FATTY LIVER DISEASE



We’ve all heard of fatty liver disease due to the overconsumption of alcohol. However, a non-alcohol fatty liver disease also exists and it appears more often than you might expect. The increase of appearances runs in step with the obesity epidemic and is now the most common cause of the chronic fatty liver disease (63).

A study shows that omega-3 fatty acid supplements can reduce the fat and inflammation in the liver of people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (63)(64)(65)(66).


ASTHMA



Asthma is an inflammation of the lungs. The inflammation of asthma is permanent. This means that there are continuous small inflammations within the lungs. At this moment, about 300 million people suffer from asthma worldwide. In the Western world, approximately one in ten scholarly children get asthma and it’s one of the most common reasons for an emergency hospital visit (67).

Multiple studies have shown that increased omega-3 fatty acid intake reduces the risk of contracting this disease within both children and adults (68)(69).


EYE FUNCTION



Macular degeneration is a radical eye disease in which the eyesight keeps declining. Omega-3 fatty acids can pitch in positively to prevent the eye disease macular degeneration (MD). This appears among other things within international omega-3 research: test subjects that ate fatty fish once a week had a 50% smaller chance of developing MD.

This effect often goes together with the consumption of DHA, since this fatty acid appears in significant amounts of the retina and keeps it in a healthy condition. Research also supports the notion that the fatty acids from the omega-3 type improve the health of the eyes. The fatty acids contribute to the production of tear fluid, which is needed to prevent dry eyes (22).


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