Reverse plank practice:-)
Monday I wrote about the myth that cravings are our body's way of telling us that we need certain nutrients. I argue that if this were true, logic and critical thinking would reason that we should crave peas, tuna, oysters, spinach, and Swiss cheese since these foods are high in zinc, Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. These three micronutrients are the most commonly inadequate in our diet.
Last Wednesday I explored Vitamin D supplementation, this week I'm exploring Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for eye and brain health, have important anti-inflammatory properties, and improve cholesterol ratios. Back when we hunted, foraged and fished for our meals our primary sources of Omega 3 fatty acids were (and still are if you hunt, fish and forage for your food) salmon, trout, sardines, oysters, seaweed, nuts and seeds, and some leafy greens. There is some evidence that meat and fat from game and grass-fed animals have appreciable amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids.
There are three types of Omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA which come from animals and ALA which comes from plants. DHA and EPA specifically have a large and robust body of scientific research exploring their role in our bodies. The research on ALA is just as robust, however the findings show it not to be as beneficial as DHA and EPA. So the type of Omega 3 matters.
If you're not eating salmon, trout, sardines, oysters or other delicious fish twice a week, you might consider fish oil supplementation.
Recommended supplementation amounts vary based on the reason for supplementation. For example, if your goal is general health then 250mg is adequate. However, if you're at risk for heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends 1g for high risk individuals. Pregnant woman are encouraged to take only 200mg per day. The dose matters (and it makes the poison) and more is not necessarily better.
Omega 3 fatty acids supplements are often bundled with Vitamin D. This is a win-win for you because Vitamin D is fat soluble so the Omega 3 it's bundled with will increase absorption. Vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids are 2 of the 3 most commonly inadequate micronutrients in the average American. The other micronutrient is zinc and I will explore that next Wednesday. Is there a supplement about which you have a question? First, search for it on Examine.com, and then ask me to do some digging. I'll find out the latest science and extend what I find to you.
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