Omega-3 Fatty Acids or EPA
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OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS  
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Natural Nutritional Supplement
** Please note that this product may likely be derived from marine/fish sources; check with the supplier and/or manufacturer of any Omega-3 product that you purchase if you have a known allergy to fish.

Other common names:  Essential Fatty Acid, EPA, Eicosapentaenoic Acid, DHA, Docosahexanoic Acid, Fish Oil

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA & DHA) are essential for normal growth and development.  Found in fish oil, flaxseeds, canola oil and other sources, Omega-3 Acids are now easily taken in supplements that can help to support normal blood pressure levels and good cardiac health, ease inflammatory problems of all kinds and possibly even improve brain function and behavioral problems.  Omega-3 is truly Essential!

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
There are several Omega-3 Fatty Acids, including EPA and DHA, that are the body's basic building blocks and essential for normal growth and development.  Contrary to conventional wisdom, the body does require fat - the right kind of fat.   Essential Fatty Acids cannot be made by the body and must be supplied by the diet, and every living cell in the body needs them for rebuilding and producing new cells.  Alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) is the parent of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, and they, in turn, are the precursors of prostaglandins, which are necessary to life by regulating bodily processes such as blood pressure, inflammation reaction and smooth muscle contraction, etc.  Back in 1970, three Danish scientists, Dr. Jörn Dyerberg, Hans Olaf Bang and Aase Brondum Nielsen, travelled to Greenland to discover why the Inuits (Greenland Eskimos) - with their high fat diet - have one of the lowest death rates from cardiovascular disease.  The Inuits lived mostly on seal meat and fish, but heart disease accounted for 5.3 percent of deaths (males, aged 45 to 64), compared to their U.S. counterparts (forty percent death rate from heart disease) eating a vastly different diet.   After years of blood tests and analysis, the scientists found remarkable differences in levels of long-chain fatty acids in the Inuit, most notably high levels of two fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); and from that moment the awareness and understanding of marine Omega-3 was discovered - and Omega-3 was born.  EPA is found naturally in breast milk; therefore, infants who are breastfed should receive sufficient amounts of EPA, but because American diets are greatly lacking in these foods, it is essential that they be added to the diet as a supplement.  Omega-3 Fatty Oils (including alpha linolenic ALA, DHA and EPA) are found in deepwater fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.) as long-chain fatty acids and in certain vegetable oils as canola, flax and walnut (as shorter, long-chain fatty acids), but Dr. Dyerberg maintains that to achieve the full benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, we should consume long chain, referring to EPA and DHA from marine sources.  Our brains require Omega-3 Fatty Acids for healthy neurotransmissions and normal function, just as muscle growth requires protein.

Beneficial Uses:
In the fight against cardiovascular problems, Omega-3 Fatty Acids have become popular as a supplement that is highly recommended to support healthy heart function.  They are believed to decrease platelet aggregation (blood clotting) and prevent the accumulation of plaque (cholesterol and fat) on the walls of the arteries, which helps to increase circulation and lower blood pressure.  EPA and DHA, the active compounds that help reduce inflammation, are said to be responsible for keeping high triglycerides under control and may inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis.  They help maintain normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well reduce hypertension.  These factors are believed to greatly reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, stroke and heart attack.  2009 research from Sweden and the United States indicates that Omega-3 Fatty Acids have been associated with reduced risk of heart failure in men.  Compelling scientific studies meticulously document the many ways in which Omega-3 Fatty Acids promote cardiac health, and this knowledge has finally made its way to the medical mainstream, such that physicians now routinely recommend fish oil for their patients with high triglycerides and heart arrhythmias.  Even the American Heart Association and other mainstream groups now endorse Omega-3 Fatty Acids to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

A 2009 pan-European study revealed that consumption of Omega-3 Fatty Acids - either as fatty fish like salmon or as supplements - may reduce blood pressure during an energy-restricted weight loss diet.  The blood pressure reducing benefits of Omega-3 were especially noticeable in people with initially low levels of docosahexanoic acid (DHA) in their cell membranes, according to findings published in the journal, Nutrition.

Omega-3 is considered to be very important in brain development and improved cerebral circulation.  When found in high concentrations in the brain, Essential Fatty Acids are thought to aid in the transmission of nerve impulses, and a deficiency can lead to an impaired ability to learn and recall information.  Preliminary studies have demonstrated some promising results with the use of Omega-3 in the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder, ADHD, temporary depression, aggression and other behavioral problems.  Omega-3 deficiencies have also been associated with dyslexia, violence, learning disorders and hyperactivity.  In addition, a controlled study in 1999, showed excellent results in treating bipolar disorder and in controlling mood stability. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are thought to have effects similar to the medication, lithium, in cases of bipolar disorder.

With regard to brain function, Omega-3 Fatty Acids show great promise in the area of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline in the elderly.  In studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists found that Omega-3 Fatty Acids protected against cognitive decline in a group of older men.  Scientists at the Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research in the Netherlands, calculated the intake of fish oil supplements in 210 men between 70 and 89 years of age in 1990, and then followed their cognitive status over the next five years.  At the end of the study, those taking supplements had less cognitive decline than people who didn't.  Supporting these data, research reported at the Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Conference in Vienna, Austria, claimed that Omega-3 DHA improves both memory function and heart health in healthy older adults.  2010 research from the University of Pittsburgh indicated that increased intakes of Omega-3 Fatty Acid DHA supplements were associated with improved nonverbal reasoning, mental flexibility, working memory and vocabulary in middle-aged adults, but echoing the earlier research, they also found that DHA is related to improved brain health throughout the lifespan, with additional, potential implications for neuropsychiatric disorders

Omega-3 Fatty Acids, including EPA, have been shown to modify immune response and may be of great value in alleviating inflammatory autoimmune ailments, such as rheumatoid arthritis.  It appears to work by suppressing the reaction that causes joint inflammation and has been known to relieve the pain of inflamed joints and morning stiffness.

Apropos of inflammation and autoimmune ailments,  studies suggest that Omega-3 Fatty Acids may provide health benefits for arthritis, MS (multiple sclerosis), lupus and Raynaud's patients by reducing inflammation and pain. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are believed necessary to maintain the integrity of myelin sheaths, the fatty coverings that wrap around and surround nerve fibers and protect the nerves.  Omega-3's are considered to be very important for reversing the effects of damage to nerves.

Omega-3 Acids are believed to have a positive effect on inflammations of all kinds, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease (marked by severe inflammation and ulceration of the digestive tract), psoriasis, eczema and inflammatory autoimmune disease. Dermatologists recommend Omega-3 to help heal dry skin and the rough, red, scaly patches of psoriasis and eczema.   In one study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, volunteers with severe dermatitis taking high levels of Omega-3 saw a thirty percent decrease in symptoms. Psoriasis sufferers experienced similar results in other research.  Research in Australia (2009) indicates that increased blood levels of the Omega-3 Fatty Acids (DHA and EPA) are associated with lower levels of a marker of inflammation linked to heart disease.

Adding Omega-3 to your diet is also believed to improve the condition of skin, nails and hair. Besides being an integral part of the membranes that surround our skin cells, Omega-3 — which must be obtained from diet or supplements because our bodies cannot make them — are a key component of the lubricating layer that keeps skin supple.  They also aid in the production of hormones that improve skin texture and help combat the inflammatory damage wrought by free radicals — one of the causes of wrinkles and blotchiness.  According to one study, sun-sensitive people may be significantly less prone to burning after Omega-3 supplementation.

Pursuant to anti-ageing, Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a rich source of Coenzyme Q-10, whose actions resemble those of vitamin E.  It may be an even more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E, and it plays a critical role in the production of energy in every cell of the body.  It aids circulation, stimulates the immune system, increases tissue oxygenation and is said to possess vital anti-ageing effects.

Ongoing studies indicate that we should consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids to maintain normal healthy functions and to significantly improve immune response. Omega-3 seems to activate and enhance the activity of gene p53, which may reduce the risk oft colorectal and breast cancers. Estrogen interacts with an anti-malignancy gene known as gene p53, which is a "molecular patrolman" that ensures that genetically defective cells do not multiply. In 2014, a study from Washington State University found a mechanism by which Omega-3 Fatty Acids could inhibit the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells. 

Use of Omega-3 Fatty Acids is believed to support reduced risk that malignant disease will develop and/or spread, and it is also thought to make malignant colorectal disease more responsive to chemotherapy with certain drugs (cisplatin, dosorubicin, vincristine). 2015 research from Britain's University Hospitals of Leicester found that the addition of Omega-3 Fatty Acids with a chemotherapy agent to anti-tumor medications can help to improve treatment response and quality of life in cancer patients.

Omega-3 supplementation is believed to be helpful in relieving the temporary discomforts associated with allergies and asthma, and according to research from Germany's Tuebingen University, Omega-3 is also said to improve lung function of athletes during and after exercise, including intensive training.

With regard to blood sugar levels, prevention of Type-1 diabetes has been linked to Omega-3 Fatty Acids. A 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association  found that youngsters at high risk for developing Type-1 diabetes might be able to prevent the disease by consuming foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and high-risk children with the highest Omega-3 intake had up to a fifty-five percent reduced risk of Type-1 diabetes. Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly attacks the islet cells in the pancreas; and insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels, is produced by the islet cells.  In past research, scientists discovered that Norwegian children who were regularly given cod liver oil supplements, which are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and vitamin D, had a lower incidence of Type-1 diabetes. According to a 2010 study from the Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge (UK), increased intakes of Omega-3 Fatty Acids may reduce kidney damage in Type-1 diabetics, without impacting the incidence of the condition.  Another 2010 study from Hong Kong also suggested that supplements of Omega-3 Fatty Acids may improve kidney health in Type-2 diabetics.

Relative to diabetes (and cardiac function), according to research (2009) from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences and published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, daily Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplements may reduce levels of a compound in the blood of diabetics (homocysteine) that linked to heart disease.  The study indicated that consumption of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (3 g/day) for two months decreases the production of homocystein by twenty-two percent, thus potentially lowering risk of cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are also said to be useful in cases of Candidiasis and for weight loss regimens.  A 2010 French study suggested that a deficiency in alpha-linolenic acid (Omega-3) coupled with a chronic excess of linoleic acid (Omega-6), could lead to inherited obesity.

Health benefits associated with Omega-3 Fatty Acids have been widely documented.  A Harvard study recalled that as early as 1980, a report first detailed Omega-3 with regard to the relative health of Greenland Eskimos, who traced their longevity to a fish-rich diet.

2009 research from the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, found that a diet rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids may prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in those over fifty years of age.  The fatty acids were also associated with impeding the progression of lesions, as well as improving some lesions.  This research confirmed previous (2008) studies from the University of Melbourne, Australia, reporting that Omega-3 Fatty Acids may protect against the onset of AMD by up to thirty-eight percent.

In 2012, researchers at Scotland's University of Aberdeen found that "...the Omega-3 found in fish oil helps make muscles more fluid, and proteins involved in increasing muscle mass function at a higher level in the body," especially in the elderly who naturally tend to lose muscle size with age, a process known as sarcopenia. A 2015 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted by scientists from Missouri’s Washington University School of Medicine found daily intake of Polyunsaturated Omega-3 Fatty Acids (PUFA’s) can delay age-associated declines in muscle tissue and function in healthy older people (sarcopenia).

Further 2012 research from Ohio State University, which was published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, suggested that consumption of a predominance of the beneficial Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements over Omega-6 may help to slow the biological signs of ageing and could represent a rare single nutritional intervention that has potential to lower the risk for a host of diseases associated with ageing, such as coronary heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease.

Pursuant to cerebral function, a 2012 report published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, indicated that long term effects of brain trauma may be reduced by early administration of Omega-3 in the emergency room or sooner. Further 2012 research from Queen Mary University, London, suggests that Omega-3 Fatty Acids prevent nerve damage and help regeneration after accident and injury.

 

According to a 2009 news release from the International & American Association for Dental Research, Boston University researchers indicated that resolvins, the biologically active compounds in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, may be able to remedy the inflammation of periodontal disease and restore gums to health. Two types of resolvins are made from the Omega-3 Fatty Acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and they help reduce inflammation and already used to help people with a variety of inflammatory conditions.  Supporting this oral application and refocusing attention on the anti-inflammatory potential of Omega-3s for treatment, 2010 research from Harvard Medical School, found that moderate dietary intake of the Omega-3 Fatty Acids DHA and EPA were associated with a decreased prevalence of periodontitis of up to twenty percent.   Furthermore, 2010 University of Kentucky studies suggest that Omega-3s, EPA, DHA and ALA, may inhibit the growth of oral pathogens, including Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans and Porphyromonas ginigivalis.

A 2012 study from Italy's University of Milan found that supplementation with Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) could help to reduce the symptoms of depression in elderly people. The researchers noted that the data clearly demonstrate that elderly depression is characterized by very low levels of Omega-3 PUFA (in particular of eicosapentanoic acid) in red blood cell membranes, compared to healthy subjects, and the study confirms the positive effects of Omega-3 supplementation in the treatment of elderly depression.

Contraindications:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids  are not recommended for people who take anticoagulant (blood thinning) medicine (Coumarin, aspirin, etc.) or prescription heart medicine. Those who take prescription mood altering drugs should avoid Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Speak with your doctor before taking Omega-3 Fatty Acids if you have a bleeding disorder (hemophilia, thrombocytopenia) or diabetes. Omega-3 oils, a source of EPA, can be high in vitamin A and vitamin D, and taking more than 25,000 IUs daily of vitamin A , or 800 IU of vitamin D per day is not advised while taking EPA. Although potentially helpful for breast and colorectal cancers, Omega-3 Fatty Acids are not considered good in cases of liver cancer.

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