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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Discover Why Essential Fish Oils Are So Important to Your Health

By Laurel Cohen
Have you heard about this recently? The essential fish oils are the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. They are considered "essential" because they are necessary for human health, but cannot be created by the human body. So, they must be present in the human diet.
Some researchers still insist that the only omega-3 that must be present in the diet is alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. The body can convert ALA to EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), if it must. But, the conversion process is limited.
Basically, the human body was designed to survive through times of famine and nutrient deficits. The original hunter-gatherer peoples had plenty of food, at times, but, not always.
The human body hasn't really changed much since the hunter-gatherer days. But, the human diet has changed greatly. Some researchers suggest that man would be much healthier if he returned to the diet eaten by his ancestors.
But, we assume that the reason the body can covert ALA to EPA and DHA is because the first is abundant in plant oils. Edible plants were nearly always available to early man. Edible seafood and fish might not always be around the corner.
Researchers also believe that the essential fish oils EPA and DHA were probably present in wild game and fowl. The studies done concerning the conversion rates of ALA to the other fatty acids were conducted on modern people. If the people in the studies didn't eat fish or seafood, then their bodies were responding to a kind of famine. The way it responds is to convert the only omega-3 available.
The studies were not long-term studies, either. So, it is not known if the body continues to convert ALA at the same rate over time. Even if it does, no more than 5% will be converted to DHA.
Many scientists agree that the essential fish oils are more important than ALA consumption, not only because of the inefficient conversion rate, but also because ALA supplementation does not correct low DHA blood levels. No matter how much ALA is given; blood levels of DHA stay the same.
Low DHA in the bloodstream is associated with depression, schizophrenia and suicidal behavior. It is now accepted by everyone from the mainstream medical community to alternative practitioners that DHA must be present in a child's diet in order for the brain to develop normally.
It is suspected that a lack of the essential fish oils in a pregnant woman's diet is responsible for post-partum depression. While she is pregnant and breast-feeding, her body will direct all of her DHA to the infant, which can cause her blood levels to become extremely low.
DHA is necessary to produce or form new brain cells. EPA is necessary for the cells to function normally. So, both must be present in the diet, if you want to think clearly and be less depressed.
Make no mistake about it. If you are thinking about buying essential fish oils as a dietary supplement, do your homework. Some of them are far better than others.
Laurel Cohen is a strong advocate of natural health in all its forms: skin care, supplementation, and farm fresh foods. She enjoys introducing people to the best natural products she can find and uses herself daily.
Visit her site to learn about the omega 3 fish oils Laurel uses daily for optimal health.

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