DHA Omega 3: What You Should Know!

DHA Omega 3

ALA, EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the functioning of the human body. ALA is alpha-linolenic acid, EPA is eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA is docosahexaenoic acid.

Together they are all essential because they cannot be made in the human body. Small amounts of DHA can be converted from ALA, but not enough for optimum health.

The omega 3 fatty acids, like other fatty acids, are used by the body to produce unique compounds know as eicosanoids.

These are similar to the hormones produced in the body and help to regulate all types of functioning. This includes the major body systems as well as each individual cell.

ALA, EPA, DHA omega 3 fatty acids are usually also found with omega 6 fatty acids. This is known as gamma linolenic acid or GLA. Both are fats that are beneficial to the body and need to be consumed on a regular basis. 

More About Eiconsanoids

Think of the eicosanoids as little control molecules that are found throughout the body. They are helpful to keep blood pressure constant and correct as well as to help to balance cholesterol and triglycerides.

This is why DHA and EPA in the form of krill oil supplements are found to be beneficial in cardiovascular health.

In addition the eicosanoids also help to reduce inflammation at a cellular level. This means that they will also help to control both pain as well as swelling.

People with chronic joint pain and arthritis and related conditions may find that daily krill oil supplements dramatically reduce the symptoms of the conditions.

Women during pregnancy and when nursing need to have a good source of omega 3 fatty acids in their diet. This is because omega 3s are essential in the brain and cellular development of the baby.

The mother must increase her intake to supplement both herself and the fetus and nursing child. 

Key Points To Remember

There are two key points to remember when thinking about omega 3 fatty acids and your health. The first is that DHA omega 3 is essential in your diet to keep your entire body regulated and functioning correctly.

The second is that DHA is an essential fatty acid and has to be consumed on a daily basis as the body cannot make it on its own.

WHY OMEGA 3 Oil, EPA and DHA, ARE NEEDED DAILY

Omega 3 oil, EPA and DHA, is required as part of a balanced daily intake of nutrients for the body.

EPA and DHA are both omega 3 fatty acids that cannot be made by the human body.

This means that to keep these compounds at the right levels for normal body functioning they must be consumed daily.

In addition when the body is under stress due to a health issue increased levels of omega 3 fatty acids can be very beneficial.

Research has shown that increasing the intake of fish oil, or even better krill oil, can help to reverse the damage done by specific types of disease. 

While these two functions of omega 3 fatty acids are important, the compounds are also critical for preventing some diseases from forming.

Amazingly they may be strong preventative options for the most prevalent conditions in our world today. 

CANCER AND OMEGA 3 

Increasing intake of omega 3 supplements during cancer treatments has been shown to have very promising results.

Krill oil also contains a very powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin that helps to get rid of free radicals from the body. Some types of cancer are linked to high levels of free radicals.

There is also very early research that indicates that supplements of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, may also help to prevent some types of cancers.

Individuals in families that have a history of specific cancers that take supplements statistically have fewer incidents of cancer than those in the family that do not.

MACULAR DEGENERATION

This is a condition of the eye that has been linked to aging. Historically there has been little in the way of treatment options or prevention of the condition.

Researchers have now shown that women in particular have between a 35 to 45% reduction in the development of the disease if they take an omega-3 supplement.

This was a very large study that went over 10 years and had 400,000 participants, all women.

Since the disease is a significant source of vision impairment as people age this is considered a breakthrough in prevention.

DIABETES AND ARTHRITIS

Both diabetes and arthritis are diseases that include a lot of joint pain and chronic inflammation of body tissues.

People that have arthritis and start a DHA supplement may find that joint mobility increases and pain, swelling and stiffness decreases.

Diabetics, particularly those with Type 1 diabetes also find a decrease in the pain and discomfort of chronic inflammation.

Ongoing research into the ability of Omega-3 supplements to help to control the immune system and also lower triglycerides and bad cholesterol also show positive benefits.

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

As with diabetes, cardiovascular disease can be controlled and possibly very effectively prevented by supplements of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Regulation of blood pressure as well as overall cellular health of the heart and blood system reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and arteriosclerosis.

Taking a fish oil EPA and DHA supplement is a good start.

Using a Krill oil supplement is an even better choice since there are virtually no counterindications with a much richer source of Omega 3s. 

DHA SUPPLEMENTS CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH NATURALLY

New research on DHA supplements has led to increased interest in natural treatment options and preventative health.

Researchers have found that DHA, an essential omega 3 fatty acid, has been linked to many different types of benefits.

Studies on the use of fish oil and krill oil, because of the high concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids have shown very positive results. People that eat a diet high in cold water fish, particularly in parts of Scandinavia and throughout the Pacific Rim area have lower rates of many common Western health conditions.

Since Western diets don't include a lot of cold water fish supplements that are high in DHA and EPA as well as omega 6 fatty acids can be added to the diet.

Traditionally fish oil has been used as a supplement but new research suggests that krill oil is actually a better source without some of the common problems.

Many people have a variety of side effects from taking traditional fish oils. The most common complaint is a nasty fish aftertaste. Other people may also find they experience bloating or nausea even when staying within the recommended dosage.

The best way to avoid these is to switch from fish oil to krill oil, which is typically has no side effects at all and is provided in a much smaller dosage amount. 

SOURCES OF DHA

There are actually very few effective sources of DHA available today. There are two different forms as options.

The most beneficial and concentrated form is from animal sources. The second option is DHA from plants.

This is often the form used by those on vegetarian or vegan diets.

DHA is one of the three essential fatty acids that comprise the Omega 3 fatty acids. DHA can, in very limited amounts, be generated through a synthesis of ALA or alpha linolenic acid.

ALA and EPA are the other two Omega 3 fatty acids. DHA essential fatty acids have to be consumed in the right ratio with the other Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids to provide full health benefits.

Daily intake of Omega 3 fatty acids is essential for good health. They not only provide relieve from inflammation in the body but they also help to regulate all cellular functioning.

Lower than optimum levels of Omega-3 fatty acids can have very far reaching health issues. 

FISH AND KRILL SOURCES

One form of DHA for humans is found in cold water fish. These are the fatty or oily fish that are part of the diet for many people. Try to buy wild caught fish if possible. 

However, simply eating fish once or twice a week will not provide you with all the Omega-3 fatty acids you need.

Best Sources of DHA Omega 3

The top types of fish and seafood for DHA include:

  • Krill
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring/Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Tuna
  • Halibut 
  • Swordfish 
  • Mussels
  • Cod
  • Catfish

Other fish and seafood such as flounder, grouper, red snapper, mahi mahi and prawns can also be good sources but their levels of Omega-3s are less than half of the fish listed above. 

There are some microalgae that are found in very deep, cold waters that are an excellent source of both DHA and EPA. This is the only food source for the tiny krill that is used to make krill oil. 

Krill oil, in turn, is very rich in DHA, EPA and several other beneficial compounds. These include astaxanthin and phospholipids. Having the right combination of all these compounds is the best option for health.

ANIMAL SOURCES

Different meat and poultry can also provide much lower levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. These include turkey, lean red meat and even eggs.

The Omega-3 fatty acids in land based meat sources come from the grass that the animals consume.

Eggs from organically range fed chickens, ducks or geese will be much higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than those that are commercially produced or mass produced.

Some commercial egg producers have tried to address this issue by feeding marine based foods.

These may contain green algae and various types of seaweed in the laying hen food.

While this may boost the Omega-3 levels it can also lend a fishy taste to the eggs, particularly the yolk that is rich in fat.

PLANT SOURCES

The best source of DHA and Omega-3 fatty acids in plants is microalgae and seaweed.

It is important to realize that most Omega-3 fatty acids from plants are ALA which can then be covered to EPA and on a more limited basis to DHA.

Microalgae, on the other hand, do provide DHA in a usable form for the human body. 

Other possible sources include nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, leafy green vegetables and some beans.

The beans that recommended include pinto, kidney and soybeans as well as garbanzo beans.

Remember that plant sources of DHA are going to convert ALA to mostly EPA and just a bit of DHA. This may lead to imbalances that can create other issues.

It is therefore highly recommended to include a Krill oil supplement along with your food sources to ensure the correct daily intake and balance of Omega-3s. 

Because krill oil comes from the Antarctic Ocean, it's  a clean and pure source of omega 3 fatty acids.

Krill oil is also very compatible with the human body and includes naturally occurring astaxanthin (a super antioxidant) and phospholipids. This makes krill oil a great option. 

DOSAGE SIZE

The typical dosage amount for those taking DHA supplements in the form of krill oil capsules is at least 2 (500mg ) soft gels daily.

There are some variations in the concentration of the omega 3s, astaxanthin and phospholipids in the capsules.

Try to get a high grade krill oil that has 1.5 mg (of naturally occurring) astaxanthin for each 1,000 mg, or 2 soft gels. 


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