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One Supplement Our WHOLE Body Needs: Fish Oil
by Jordan Rubin

When it comes to fats, some have what it takes and some don't.While fatty acids are at the molecular level of all fats and oils, it's the fatty acid classification that predominates and determines its health effects.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats. They are one of four basic types of fat the body derives from food or supplements and increasingly gaining recognition as important to human health. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids (or EFAs) because they must be derived through the diet.

Interestingly, omega-3s are not a single nutrient, but a collection of several. The primary omega-3 oil, ALA or alphalinolenic acid, is found in flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Fish, including salmon, cod, sardines, and mackerel, and fish oils contain the other important omega-3 oils, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Numerous studies indicate, however, that the EPA and DHA are more biologically potent than those from ALA — making fish and fish oil the better nutritional choice.

The benefits of Omega-3, especially from DHA and EPA, are numerous and significant. They support heart, brain, blood vessel, nervous system, cellular, immune, and joint health.* Additionally, they help maintain already healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels. They also serve as energy reserves for oxygen transport, synthesizing hormones, and normal healing.

Noted health organizations and specialists touting its benefits include the American Heart Association, which recommends one to two servings of fish per week for all adults—citing that EPA plus DHA can help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and healthy joints.*
The FDA also weighs in on EPA and DHA, allowing the following claim on foods and supplements high in omega-3s: "Supportive, but not conclusive, research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3s may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."

In a recent article in U.S. News & World Report, Bernardine Healy,MD, discusses omega-3s, saying that EPA and DHA actually "become embedded in the membrane of each of the trillions of cells that make up the body and, from that perch, influence cell structure and function, including cell-to-cell communication and electrical stability. On demand, they also generate a reservoir of hormone-like molecules to help support body-wide health." *She concludes, "All cells feel the pinch of omega-3 deficiencies."

Some people may already know about omega-3 benefits, but just can't seem to add enough omega-3 foods to their diets to cover recommended intake. The reasons can vary: they may not like omega-3 foods, may be concerned about ingestion of pollutants from fish, or they may not know exactly what foods provide the most omega-3 "bang for the buck." For them, a diet rich in omega-3s or omega-3 supplementation can add outstanding health benefits.

Some power-packed omega-3 foods that are especially high in EPA and DHA include cold-water oily fish, preferably wild, like salmon, cod, halibut, tuna, sardines, and anchovies.

If omega-3 foods don't make it on your menu though, there are alternatives. For instance, one tablespoon of a high-quality fish or cod liver oil can provide approximately 87% of the daily value of omega-3s — including a desired amount of both EPA and DHA.

Another plus for fish or cod liver oil is that reputable manufacturers have the ability to remove heavy metals and other contaminants from the oil—making it a pure and more potent source of those all-important omega-3s EPA and DHA.

Garden of Life's unique Oceans 3 line combines the extraordinary benefits of fish oil with other supportive nutrients. Oceans 3–Beyond Omega-3 combines the synergistic benefits of astaxanthin, a powerful carotenoid from sea algae, with fucoxanthin, an antioxidant from brown seaweed. Oceans 3–Better Brain with OmegaXanthin supports normal brain function and nervous system health. Better Brain combines powerful herbs and nutrients, such as Phosphatidylserine, bacopa, and vinpocetine, to support cognitive function.

For these alpha omegas, the bottom line is it's time to put omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA back in their rightful place—your diet—and experience for yourself what you've been missing.

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