Before the days of industrialization, our diet provided all the omega-3s we needed in two perfect sources – fish and meat.
But the world has changed. Modern food-production practices have drastically depleted the amount of omega-3s in our diet. Meat and fish are now farmed and raised on an unnatural diet of corn and other grains.
And that change led to a dangerous decrease in our consumption of omega-3s.
At the same time, our modern diet changed to include more omega-6 oils than ever before – thanks to the increased use of corn, soybean and sunflower oils in today’s processed foods.
Omega-6 oils aren’t necessarily bad for you, but they must be consumed in the right balance with omega-3s.
Historically, humans ate foods that had omega-6s and omega-3s in the ratio of about 2:1.
But the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s in the modern American diet is about 15:1. This is an extremely unnatural and unhealthy ratio, and is linked to numerous diseases.
So, how do you get things back in balance?
First, return to the diet of our ancestors. Avoid grains and processed foods and stick with grass-fed meats and wild-caught fish.
Unfortunately, even that isn’t enough anymore, making supplements a necessity. But buyer beware…
Most of the omega oil supplements available today are severely lacking in the two unique omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs most. I’m talking about DHA and EPA.
I tell my patients to get between 600 mg and 1,000 mg of DHA plus 400 of EPA every day. That’s 1,900% more DHA than these over-the-counter brands.
The omega capsule Larry King pushes has 36.4 mg of DHA and 46.8 mg of EPA.1 And the soft gel from the big red supplement maker isn’t any better. Their krill pill has a measly 30 mg of DHA and 64 mg of EPA.
Big Pharma’s expensive drug doesn’t even contain any DHA!
As a regular reader, you’ve heard me talk about the benefits of DHA. But if you’re a new reader, or need a refresher, take a look at the incredible benefits in this important fatty acid. DHA helps to:
- Reduce heart disease risk2
- Improve immunity3,4
- Protect the brain from Alzheimer’s5
- Fight inflammation6
- Decrease depression7
- Keep bones strong8
Don’t be fooled by inferior omega-3 oils
As I mentioned earlier, buying the most popular brand of omega-3 doesn’t mean you’re getting a high-quality product. Here’s what I suggest.
- Stop taking fish oil. Most fish oil supplements come from polluted waters that contain chemicals like PCBs and heavy metals like mercury. This is worse than not taking a supplement in the first place.
- Take this tiny animal oil instead. Krill are shrimp-like animals that don’t live long enough to absorb large amounts of toxins — so they don’t get contaminated. And their omega-3s are stored in phospholipid form instead of triglyceride. This helps it pass through cell membranes better.
- And combine it with calamari. But make sure your calamari oil comes from squid that live off the coast of South America in the pure waters of the South Pacific (illex argentinus).
- Check the label. Make sure your omega-3 has 600 mg of DHA and 400 mg of EPA. Calamari has one of the highest concentrations of DHA of any food.
- Add in some astaxanthin. Astaxanthin also helps the oils permeate your tissues where it’s needed, including crossing the blood-brain barrier where the DHA can benefit you.
And always take omega-3 fatty acids with a meal. This allows the fats to be properly digested.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Kean J, et al. “A randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of PCSO-524®, a patented oil extract of the New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), on the behaviour, mood, cognition and neurophysiology of children and adolescents (aged 6–14 years) experiencing clinical and sub-clinical levels of hyperactivity and inattention: study protocol. Nutr J. 2013; 12:100.
2. Kubié J. New Study Finds EPA and DHA Omega-3s Lower Risk of Coronary Heart Disease. http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/pb/assets/raw/Health 20Advance/journals/jmcp/jmcp_pr92_1_1.pdf
3. Liu Y, et al. “The fish oil ingredient, docosahexaenoic acid, activates cytosolic phospholipase A2 via GPR120 receptor to produce prostaglandin E2 and plays an anti-inflammatory role in macrophages.” Immunology. 2014. 143: p. 81-95.
4. Gorjao R, et al. “Effect of docosahexaenoic acid-rich fish oil supplementation on human leukocyte function.” Clin Nutr. 2006. 25: p. 923-938.
5. Dale E. Bredesen, et al. “Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program” Aging (Albany NY). 2014 Sep; 6(9): 707-717.
6. Dawczynski C, et al. “Docosahexaenoic acid in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized cross-over study with microalgae vs. sunflower oil.” Clin Nutr. 2018 Apr;37(2):494-504.
7. Logan A. “Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional.” Lipids Health Dis. 2004; 3: 25.
8. Olson MV,, et al. “Docosahexaenoic acid reduces inflammation and joint destruction in mice with collagen-induced arthritis.” Inflamm Res. 2013.