Omega-3 Oils
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Norm
Posted on: March 28, 2002

Can you send me some info on omega 3 and any possible side effects?

Omega-3 fatty acids are the predominant oils in cold water, fatty fish like wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, rainbow trout, tuna, and the yolks of free-range chickens, or chickens fed on foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Flax, hemp and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, algae and purslane are also good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Wild fish feed on algae and other plant materials that make omega-3 oils. Farmed salmon are often fed grains, which are predominantly omega-6 oils. Similarly, chickens that are grain fed produce eggs with predominanly Omega-3 oils, while free range chickens feed on plants. Eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids are produced from chickens fed a diet high in omega-3 oils, such as flax

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids perform a balancing act. For example, omega-3’s decrease inflammation and decrease blood clotting, while Omega-6 oils promote inflammation and blood clotting. We need a balance for good health. A good balance of omega-6 to omega-3 oils is about 3:2.

One of the problems with today’s western diet is the over-consumption of meat and omega-6 oils (for example: sesame, soybean, safflower, sunflower and corn oils). All polyunsaturated oils oxidize and become rancid quickly, making them carcinogenic, especially on exposure to air, light or heat. An overabundance of omega-6 oils blocks the beneficial processes of omega-3 oils, and is the cause of many of today’s health problems.

When using flax seed, grind just before use, or grind and store in the freezer. Flax and hemp oils should be purchased from a refrigerated section, and used quickly to prevent rancidity.

I haven’t heard of anyone consuming too much omega-3 oil. However if this did happen, there would be an imbalance, causing, for example, inhibition of the inflammation required for healing and inhibition of normal blood clotting.

For the full story on oils and fats, I recommend the book “Fats that Heal Fats that Kill” by Udo Erasmus, Alive Books.

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