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The Magic of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish oil and flax seed)

published on 01-11-2008

By Dr. Jack England

Fish OilThere are many natural supplements that help combat many of the health problems we now face. They may not be magical, but the results I have seen in many patients make it seem so.

I have been suggesting omega-3 for my patients for over 15 years. Fish oil is becoming more in vogue lately as there is now prescription fish oil used to decrease triglycerides. Triglycerides are part of cholesterol blood tests and high triglycerides are bad for the heart and other organs.

Omega-3 is healthy for the brain. Over 60% of the brain is composed of fat. Good fats such as omega-3 and the monosaturated fats in olive oil help the brain function better.

Much has been written about using high doses of omega-3 (EPA and DHA) showing they seem to be quite healthy for a multitude of psychological problems including depression, bipolar disease and attention deficit disorder. There is some evidence that omega-3s are helpful in preventing Alzheimer disease.

The dosage for fish oil often gets mixed up. Usually patients report they are taking 1000 mg. This usually means they are only getting about 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg DHA per 1000 mg capsule. The total for decreasing triglycerides and helping with the treatment of depression etc. is 1400 to 1800 mg of EPA and 1000 plus mg of DHA which is 8-10 capsules if it is not concentrated, so look at the labels.
Two prominent sources of omega-3 fatty acids are coldwater fish like salmon, and flax seed.

Flax SeedFlax seed ground up can be put on cereals or taken with fruit juices and is helpful for lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and raising HDL (good cholesterol). One-fourth cup of flax contains almost twelve grams of fiber. Work up to this amount slowly as adding to much fiber quickly does not agree with everyone.

I have had very good results with ground up flax seed in helping chronic constipation. Also, several patients over the years have enjoyed a moderate to marked decrease in arthritic symptoms, and some have experienced decreases in rashes such as psoriases. Also, flax is one of those foods that seem to help prevent cancer.

To Your Health,
Jack D. England, D. O., FACEP, FACOEP, FAAEP

This information is provided by the physicians at Plum Creek Medical in Castle Rock, Colorado. For more information please call 303.688.6900.

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