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Omega 3 Fatty Acids

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Submitted By macabustamante
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“The need to consume omega-3 fatty acids: not a fad”

Everyday Americans are bombarded with tons of stories about studies and investigations related to the latest findings in food issues. Not too long ago, a recent study conducted by UCLA made it to the NBC news, putting omega-3 fatty acids on the spotlight. The study evaluated the omega-3 intake of 1600 individuals, with an average age of 67, to see the impact of this nutrient on the brain’s functions. Researchers found that those individuals with lower levels of omega-3 consumption had poor problem solving skills, less abstract thinking, lower visual memory, and an overall lower brain volume. This has brought to the attention whether omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for the brain’s functions, the sources from where they are available, and the recommended doses by specialists.

As seen in the video, and supported by further research, omega-3 fatty acids, also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), are key nutrients for the body. These fatty acids have been linked with the brain’s development and its functions, and have been proven to be involved in preventing aging and deterioration of the brain (Simopoulus, 2011). The American Heart Association has also referred to omega-3 as beneficial for reducing possible heart disease, encouraging people to consume those food that are rich in these fatty acids. Other possible benefits that have been related to the adequate consumption of omega-3 include lower cholesterol levels, lower high blood pressure, and improvement in inflammatory reactions (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2013).

Due to the fact that omega-3 is not synthetized by the body itself, it is considered an essential nutrient, and must be obtained from food sources. Among the sources with most

availability of omega-3, fatty fish, such as sardines, albacore, tuna, and salmon stand out the most (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2013). There is also omega-3 available in vegetable oils like canola, flaxseed and nut oils. Despite the wide range of available sources, experts mention that American do not have an adequate intake of this nutrients (Simopoulus, 2011). This results in nutritional deficiencies in most adults, which can put in jeopardy the health status of Americans.

As a result of the tremendous amount of information available to the public, Americans need to focus on those reliable sources that provide them with accurate information. Realizing that news, like the one on omega-3 fatty acids, can create a fad and encourage people to actually consume more of these foods is important for health care providers so they can properly inform their patients with the truth and accurate knowledge. Therefore, the public needs to comprehend that everything in excess can have the opposite effects desired, and although omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to the human being, any consumption out of control can actually be harmful.

References
American Heart Association. (2014). Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp

Simopoulus, A. P. (2011). Evolutionary Aspects of Diet: The Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio and the Brain. Molecular Neurobiology, 44, 203-215. Retrieved from 10.1007/s12035-010-8162-0

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2013). Omega-3 fatty acids. Medical Reference Guide: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. Retrieved from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids

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