Archive for June, 2010

NASA sings the praises of Omega 3 re osteoporosis and bone density loss

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

When men boldly goes where no men have gone before – these days they tend to do a lot of experiments along the way. The latest experiment which NASA has announced the results of is the key to explaining and preventing bone density loss which occurs in astronauts while in the weightless atmosphere of space and osteoporosis sufferers on earth. Research, which has been ongoing for several decades, has looked at ways to stop this from happening and would solve a major problem stopping humans from deep space exploration and help osteoporosis suffers too.

The key NASA scientists have found, while experimenting both on earth and in space, is Omega 3. Published in the ‘Journal of Bone and Mineral Research,’ their paper explains that in a series of cell based studies they found that by adding specific Omega 3 fatty acids to cells in both typical cell structures and those in a weightless atmosphere inhibits factors which lead to bone density loss. The factor in question is called ‘nuclear factor kappa B” or NFkB, which is involved in immune system and inflammation processes. NASA found that astronauts returning from space had elevated levels of activity within these factors in their blood cells, and that the inflammatory process involved in adapting the body to zero gravity was a major factor in stimulating NFkB. By administering higher levels of Omega 3 supplements into the diets of test subjects on earth, whose bodies were subjected to the same weightless conditions as they would have experienced in space, they found that bone density loss was reduced.

Next, scientists tracked astronaut’s consumption of fish and thereby fish oils while on a long space flight and found that they lost less bone density over the course of a four to six month trip.

“These results are very exciting, and provide initial evidence that nutrition may be a key factor in mitigating bone loss in astronauts.” said Scott Smith, a nutritionist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

This is a very exciting finding, not only for astronauts, but for osteoporosis sufferers worldwide. Omega 3 is a very important ingredient in our health and general wellbeing as well as, it seems, key to our further exploration of the universe.

The main scientific article is available as it appeared in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

What on earth are DHA, EPA and ALA?

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Essentially they are all Omega 3 fatty acids. While ‘fat’ and ‘acid’ may not sounds like healthy words, fatty acids are one of the most important health supplements around. These fatty acids are an essential part of everyone’s, even animal’s, nutritional intake, and because we cannot create these naturally in our bodies we must get them from elsewhere. The most common sources are oily fish, plant oils or capsule supplements. These all contain either: DHA, EPA or ALA – types of Omega 3 fatty acids.

But what do DHA, EPA and ALA stand for and what are their specialist subjects?

DHA – Docosahexaenoic Acid – Brain and eyes

DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, are one of the main PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids (good fat)) found in the brain and the eyes. For this reason it is of particular benefit for children and babies whose brains are developing. It is also linked to cognitive decline, as decreased levels of DHA tend to be found in patients suffering from depression. DHA is one the most abundant PUFAs within the brain and basically helps carry things around and helps with the movement of chemicals between the various synapses.

EPA – Eicosapentaenoic Acid – Lowers inflammation

EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid, comes from oily fish, and more accurately the algae consumed by fish. Its main clinical significance is its ability to reduce inflammation. While inflammation is a natural reaction for the body to an exogenous pathogen this can be very painful and cause a number of other health problems. Inflammations conditions include: heart disease, arthritis, PMS, asthma and eczema. It also has been found to benefit people who suffer from mental disorders such as schizophrenia who were found to have lower levels of EPA in their blood.

You can in fact find supplements just made from microalgae as they have great health benefits on their own, although EPA is usually provided in a supplement along with DHA as they both offer similarly great health benefits.

ALA – Alpha-linolenic Acid – Vegetarians Choice

ALA or alpha-linolenic acid are found in plant oils. While ALA does not quite have the same levels of health benefits as DHA or EPA, and it can cause some problems for type 2 diabetes sufferers, ALA is a vegetarian alternative to other Omega 3 fatty acids and can be found in things like flaxseed oil, hulled hemp seeds, rapeseed oil and, probably the most appetizing, walnuts.

So now you know what these acronyms stand for there are no more excuses for not incorporating this supremely important supplement into your diet. Which is your favourite type of fatty acid?

Why Omega 3 is essential for our new Prime Minister

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Our new Prime Minister David Cameron is expecting a baby. Well his wife Samantha is, and having reduced her working hours from her role as creative director of stationery firm Smythson, in order to spend more time with her kids and prepare for giving birth, not to mention supporting her husband in his new job, she clearly cares deeply about the health and well being of herself and her unborn child. Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the key ingredients in the diet of mothers and babies before, during and after pregnancy. Doctors recommend a diet high in DHA Omega 3 for all mothers as their body is not only going through one of the biggest physical regimes one can go through, but because their body is the only conduit for nutrition for the baby as it prepares for pregnancy, matures in the womb for 9 months and while breast feeding after being born.

By Samantha Cameron choosing to include Omega 3 fatty acids in her diet, she would receive a number of important health benefits for both her and her child. Here are some of the benefits Samantha could get for herself by taking Omega 3 for the entire course of her pregnancy:

  • Reduced risk of miscarriages, pre-term labour and cesarean
  • Reduced chances of breast cancer
  • Protection from post partum depression
  • Protection from pre-eclampsia
  • Safer delivery

As well as ensuring that her body is prepared and protected while undergoing such a natural yet taxing ordeal. Taking Omega 3 capsules would provide great benefits to her baby at all stages of its early life. These include:

  • Better levels of immunity
  • Chance of a higher IQ
  • Improved memory earlier
  • Enhanced comprehension skills and concentration levels
  • Reduced risk of brain disorders developed in pregnancy such as Autism, Dyslexia etc.
  • Better hand eye coordination skills
  • Better nervous system development
  • Better eye sight
  • Proper brain development
  • Better eye development

As the new first lady on the block, Samantha can be a trend setter for new and expecting mothers around the globe. Having recently won a British Glamour Magazine Award for Best Accessory Designer, she has a platform as a style icon from which she could be a powerful advocate for this important health supplement, not to mention the fact that she now has the ear of one of the most important political figures in the world. Would you be more likely to take it knowing that Samantha does?

Krill Oil passes stringent EU Safety Assessment

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Europe has since 1997 required a very high standard, and notoriously longwinded, procedure of safety assessments before anything produced for human consumption can be deemed fit for sale across all member states. They test the product as well as the source and the production facilities. Sensible precautions one would agree, but over the years the tests have received a lot of criticism from industry innovators for holding back the advancements of new developments. The Novel Food regulations cover any food ingredients not commonly consumed in the EU prior to May 1997. Krill oil produced by Israeli firm Enzymotec is the latest to face and pass these tests.

Krill are a type of plankton commonly eaten by whales and make up the biggest bio mass in the world. Currently we harvest only 1% of their population for human consumption, but with Enzymotec now licensed to farm them we can hope to see more krill oil in products on our shelves and its popularity increasing further.

One of the reasons for the strict tests is that there was concern that krill was not being responsibly farmed, and in turn having a negative effect on the populations of its natural predators. Whole Foods in the US even went as far as removing it from their shelves, saying:

“Fishery management needs to better understand how to evaluate the prey requirements of other marine species in order to set sustainable catch levels for krill.”

Enzymotec have proven through their success in the Novel Foods tests that their krill oil is produced to the highest standards and are responsibly farmed. Their sources are monitored by the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR,) which inspect and verify each and every krill catch. Enzymotec last year announced the development of a new 200,000sq foot facility, expanding its production capacity significantly and has meant they can now produce a lower grade but more affordable krill oil to be competitive in global markets alongside their normal standard of product.

Krill oil is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, marine lecithin and astaxanthin (an antioxidant.) Much like other sources of Omega 3, krill oil has many health benefits for mother and child through pregnancy and for cardiovascular health, not to mention cholesterol, premenstrual syndrome and arthritis. The astaxanthin in krill oil is another reason for its popularity. It comes from the algae they eat and gives krill their red colour, bringing with it antioxidants which theoretically can protect brain cells, eyes and the central nervous systems. It has even been mentioned that it may have anti-cancer properties.

Why not try some krill oil today!

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