In our modern diet today, omega-3 fatty acids represent one of the biggest changes in our diet since the dawn of human existence in terms of the healthy fats we can consume. When we consider the many positive effects they have on our health, it is easy to see that humans are not adapting well to the lack of this essential nutrient.
This page will explore why our intake of omega-3 fatty acids have fallen so much in modern times, what the implications are and what you can do to get this essential nutrient back into your diet consistently and in accordance with achieving vitality, health and strength.
Before we get to the specifics, here's why this matters. They have a positive influence on:
They are also potent anti-inflammatory agents.
Now, let's take a look at the omega-3 fatty acids themselves. As stated on the healthy fats page, we want to keep this from getting scientific and we'll stay to the point on what we need to know and why.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
ALA is a good, but not a great one. It's found in flax seeds and other plant sources.
What you really need to achieve vitality, health and strength is EPA and DHA. Although your body can convert ALA to these other fatty acids, it can't be done efficiently so we need the other 2 in our diet.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
EPA has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and also blocks the growth of new blood vessels, called angiogenesis, which is important in the prevention of cancer.
EPA is the one that is lacking in our modern diet and represents one of the biggest changes in human diet since the dawn of time. Conventionally raised meats have so little of this critical fatty acid and is so saturated with omega-6 that the fat content of these meats are nothing like what the human body has been designed to process.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
DHA is another excellent one and again is found in the same animal sources as EPA.
DHA is very important for brain function and has similar anti-inflammatory and angiogenesis properties to EPA.
EPA and DHA are the 2 omega-3 fatty acids we need the most and are lacking badly in our modern diet. The drastically reduced amounts of these 2 critical fatty acids represents one of the biggest changes in human diet since the dawn of time.
As mentioned above, conventionally raised (factory farmed) meats have very little of these critical omega-3 fatty acids. The primary reason for this change is the animals' diet. Factory farmed animals are fed grains and soy which fatten them up and make them sick, just like what excess grains and soy do to us.
Most of the animals we consume are meant to eat grasses and forage on other natural vegetation. This natural diet greatly changes the fat type, content and nutrient properties of the meat back to where they should be. These are the meats the human body was designed to process and is critical for vitality, health and strength.
This is why organic grass fed meat is so important for everyone who eats meat. If you have not read the grass fed meat page yet, you'll want to in order to gain a little more perspective on it.
It's not always possible to find organic grass fed meat...Believe me I know. I look every time I go to the grocery store. There are on-line stores that will gladly ship you all kinds of excellent high quality grass fed meats.
When grass fed meats are not available, I recommend supplementing with a supplement that contain good amounts of EPA and DHA. The reason for this is to balance the omega-6 fatty acids you're consuming with conventionally raised meats. As stated on the healthy fats page, we need a 1:1 to a 1:2 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.
I would recommend taking the supplement right after eating the meal that needs to be balanced.
There's a lot of suppliers out there selling this stuff and I would recommend doing some research on finding high quality supplements. Generally, you want to find "ultra-purified" fish oil and contain as close to an equal ratio of EPA and DHA as possible.
You will not need to supplement if you are eating grass-fed meats or fish.