It is just the way it is with certain supplements in an industry that seems to be constantly searching for the key to anti-aging and better health. Too often they are billed as “the next big thing.” And too often, they are here today, gone tomorrow. But the test of time distinguishes the pretenders from the real thing.
One nutrient that always deserves to remain at the head of the class is Omega-3s. And their place at the top is an appropriate distinction for one of the most useful and varied supplements available.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as Omega-3s are integral to the health of our bodies, yet they are not nutrients that our bodies can produce on their own. EFAs have to come from diet or supplementation if we are to reap the many benefits that they offer.
EFAs are important because they exist in every cell of the body, and they help maintain structural, metabolic, and regulatory functions in the body. This wide variety of tasks plays an important role in the health of our immune system. As part of each cell, EFAs produce prostaglandins that help the immune system stay at a high level. Omega-3 fatty acids set themselves apart in this regard because the prostaglandins produced by Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory in nature, which can provide many benefits for our bodies.
If the EFAs were missing, continual and cumulative damage may occur in the cell membranes and, if that happens, our health would erode, our immune system would weaken, and we would be more susceptible to aging and disease.
The ability of EFAs to strengthen the immune system is a big reason why it can have so many different benefits for our overall health. One of the other ways fatty acids help is by increasing the blood flow throughout the body. This increase can help nutrients to travel faster to where they need to go, it can unclog arteries and aid cardiovascular health, and it keeps brain function at a maximum by providing increased blood to the brain.
Fish oil versus flax oil
Fish oil is by far the main source of Omega-3s. Most of the Omega-3 on the market is processed from fish oil as found in AIM Cellsparc 360®. Mediterranean and European diets, which have a greater emphasis on fish, often contain an appropriate amount of Omega-3, but Americans have a harder time getting naturally-occurring supplies of the nutrient. Thus, many Americans have turned to Omega-3 supplements, making it an extremely popular supplement.
AIM recognized the importance of Omega-3s and chose to include them in AIMega® when we introduced the product in 2005. AIMega® is a blend of organic seed oils that includes Omega-3 in addition to Omega- 6 and Omega-9 fatty acids. This EFA combination gives AIMega® a balanced blend of fatty acids from monounsatured and polyunsaturated fat sources (healthy fats).
The biggest difference between AIMega® and the other Omega-3 supplements on the market is that AIMega® is one of the unique products that does not get its Omega-3 from fish oil. The Omega-3 in AIMega® is derived primarily from flax seed oil, which typically contains double the amount of Omega-3 found in equal quantities of fish oil.
The list of benefits from Omega-3 is immense and impressive..
From as early as the 1970s, Omega-3 has been linked to heart health. Cardiovascular research in relation to Omega-3s is one of the most thoroughly established bodies of work among all of the Omega-3s benefits, and the results are very positive.
Studies have found that Omega-3s can help lower cardiovascular disease risk, improve heart rhythms, and lower the risk of experiencing a second heart attack. The findings relating to a lowered risk of a second heart attack first surfaced in 2006, thanks to a study done by researchers from the Mid America Heart Institute and the University of Missouri. Even more recently, Italian researchers found that Omega-3s might help reduce hospital visits for those suffering from heart-related conditions by as much as 9 percent, and a different study said that Omega-3s can help with vascular tone, heart rate, blood lipid levels, blood pressure, and clogged arteries.
After cardiovascular health, the second most popular use for Omega-3s is increased cognitive ability. To be more specific, Omega-3s are particularly helpful when it comes to protecting against age-related cognitive decline, as recent studies have demonstrated.
Alzheimer’s disease especially is under the microscope when it comes to how Omega-3s relate to the disease. Preliminary trials have shown that the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in Omega-3s can reduce the build-up of Alzheimer’s related proteins in the brain, which can lead to the development of the disease and damage to the brain. Another study showed that the Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the amount of harmful plaque build-up in the brain that can impair cognitive ability and can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s.
Mood and behavior
Similar to its effect on cognition, Omega-3s also can improve mood and behavior in adults and in children. One such trial claimed that Omega-3s can have positive effects on depression, decreasing the rate by as much as 50 percent in patients who take a daily Omega-3 supplement. A similar reduction in depression figures can also be achieved by clinical drugs, but Omega-3 supplementation can do the same work without the cost or side effects.
A number of studies report that Omega-3s can help prevent cancers such as breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. Though there is a need for more research on the link between Omega-3 fatty acids and cancer, results from some studies suggest that the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3s could be integral to reducing cancer risks.
Macular degeneration numbers could be reduced with Omega-3 supplements, and overall eye health could be aided with regular supplementation. The DHA found in Omega-3 fatty acids is an important nutrient for the health of nerve cells in the retina, and getting an appropriate amount of Omega-3 can help keep these nerve cell layers from falling into disrepair, resulting in macular degeneration. Some studies even claim that the risk of macular degeneration can be reduced by as much as 70 percent with proper Omega-3 supplementation.
In addition to macular degeneration, researchers found that a topical application of fatty acids would help relieve certain eye-related issues (like dry-eye syndrome).
Mother and child
A connection has been found between healthy fetuses and mothers who receive a proper amount of Omega-3s. Studies indicate that children stand to benefit from their mothers having appropriate levels of fatty acids during pregnancy. One study found that motor skills in children increase if the mother uses Omega-3 supplements during pregnancy, and other studies have found that proper fatty acid levels could improve vision, brain function, and development in children. In addition to these benefits, Omega-3s can also help reduce the risk of offspring developing issues such as diabetes, skin disorders, and weight management.