Currently viewing the tag: "omega-3 fatty acids"

Wow!  This one has even me surprised.  A recent study has shown omega-3 fatty acids (FA) to help cancer patients preserve muscle tissue and avoid malnutrition.  By taking fish oil supplements, lung cancer patients avoided losing muscle mass and weight from chemotherapy treatments.  Astounding!

The small study, published in the Feb. 28 online edition of Cancer, looked at 40 people with lung cancer that were undergoing 10 weeks of chemotherapy;16 of the subjects received 2.2 grams of fish oil containing the omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), while the other 24 received chemotherapy alone.  The results: the chemo only group lost an average of just over 5 pounds, while the chemo plus omega-3 FAs group lost no weight at all.  Further, 70% of the fish oil group either gained or kept their original muscle mass, while 30% of the no fish oil group lost muscle mass.  I’m blown away.

This study is important for the obvious reason–possible supplemental treatment to help keep cancer patients undergoing chemo from wasting away.  But for me the real fascination is how amazing the body is.  Give it what it needs and watch Innate Intelligence take over to produce health.  Incredible!

Some are cautioning against premature optimism.  Says one registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Dallas,

“I would caution that the amount of pure concentrated fish oil supplement the people in this study were given is a lot–much, much more than any recommended dietary allowance, along the lines of two to three servings of fish per week…[P]eople should definitely not go out and start consuming huge amounts of fish oil.”

That’s one way of looking at it.  But as far as I’m concerned, we can forget the optimism and try marveling.  Ain’t the human body awe-inspiring?  Yes I’m surprised by this study, simply because sometimes I cannot grasp the magnitude of intelligence operating through the human life form…and the universe.  It sure is humbling.  A good reminder that our educated mind cannot improve on nature’s order.  Not yet anyhow…and maybe never.

Finally a genetic excuse for obesity that actually makes sense.  Researchers show that an omega fatty acid imbalance can lead to obesity.  But even more interesting is that this imbalance, and the associated obesity, can be passed on from generation to generation.

A recent French study looked at the role of omega intake and fat deposition in mice.  Four generations of mice were fed a 35% fat diet with an omega imbalance now common in much of the developed world–that is, a high ratio of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3s.  The results were progressively fatter mice at birth, generation after generation.

In my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, I discuss the importance of bringing the omega balance to 1:2 omega-6:omega-3.  Currently the typical imbalance in western cultures is 15:1 in much of Europe and up to 40:1 in the United States.  Omega-3s are important to many functions including cholesterol balance, blood pressure, reducing heart disease and stroke, preventing blood clots, preventing diabetes and much, much more.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found plentifully in fish and flax oils, although fish liver oils are a more potent source.  Omega-6s, on the other hand, are high in vegetable oils, breads, grains and poultry–things we eat copiously in the typical American diet.

But what about passing fatness on to successive generations?  Experts believe that the link between omega imbalance and obesity is epigenetic; in other words, the imbalance in mothers influences an offspring’s genes during development.  Whoa!  That’s right–the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in the breast milk of American women has gone from an average of 6:1 to 18:1.  Holy milkshakes!  Exactly.

I recommend a few things to bring the omega ratio back into healthy balance.  First and foremost is reducing your intake of high omega-6 containing foods.  So breads, high carbs, vegetable oil–cut ’em.  Then I suggest you supplement with a good omega-3 fatty acid.  I carry a great brand in my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood chiropractic office.  Check this article for all the information you need on omega-3 fatty acids.

Stop the cycle of obesity in your family–get your omega fatty acids balanced.  And don’t think it’s too late for your children, either.  Feed them well (healthily, not in hordes), get them moving, and give them omega-3 fatty acids–that should break the inheritance pattern.  Remember, health starts in the home.  Now how’s that for epigenetics!

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