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Omega-3 Fatty Acids - "The calm of the deep"
Research and Studies

A greater number of behavior problems assessed by the Connor’s Rating Scale, temper tantrums and sleep problems were reported in boys age 6-12 with lower total omega-3 fatty acid concentrations. Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Boys with Behavior, Learning and Health Problems, Stevens, et al, Physiology and Behavior, 1996

In Child of Our Time, Lord Winston, the fertility specialist who has become the UK's most recognised scientist, explained that oils derived from fish could help calm hyperactive children.
It has long been known that omega fatty acids can help prevent heart disease and improve the condition of some patients with depression.
However, there is growing evidence that it may improve the school performance of unruly children, offering hope to parents who fear that Ritalin, increasingly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), could cause more problems than it solves.

This rush to eliminate fats, along with an increase in consumed carbohydrates, has been a central source of many health imbalances affecting our brain ’s performance. Looking at our evolution, we see evidence that the high consumption of omega-3 food sources, especially fish, may have played a role in the growth, development, and evolution of the cerebral cortex. The consumption of fish-based omega-3 fats may have boosted our ancestors ’ intelligence as well. More recent evidence shows that a deficiency of DHA (a component of omega-3 fats) during pregnancy can impair a modern child ’s intelligence and visual acuity, as well as being a contributing factor to depression and possibly even attention deficit disorder.

A five-year study at the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, the University of Antwerp in Belgium, the University of Sheffield, England, and other institutions found that depressed people have exaggerated immune responses coupled with deficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids. This has led investigators to believe that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids may actually play a key role in depression. In a cross-national analysis, the prevalence of major depression is sixty times lower in countries where fish is consumed daily! Further, a comprehensive study of two hundred elderly subjects showed that low blood levels of DHA were a predictor of greater symptoms of depression and anxiety, and in a nine-year study of a thousand people, those with high DHA levels were more than 40 percent less likely to develop dementia (including Alzheimer ’s disease) than people with low levels of DHA. Therefore, it seems likely that an increase in severity of depression indicates a lower consumption of omega-3 fats. Oz Garcia, author of The Balance, is one of the best-known nutritionists and health authorities in America. Twice voted Best Nutritionist by New York magazine, he is the president of Personal Best, a nutritional counselling firm.

Fish oil has many anti-inflammatory properties and for this reason has been explored in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. These include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, migraine headaches, asthma, and cystic fibroris, and it usually has a significant beneficial effect. Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Dec;21(6):495-505. De Vizia B, Raia V, Spano C, Pavlidis C, Coruzzo A, Alessio M. Effect of an 8-month treatment with omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic) in patients with cystic fibrosis. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2003 Jan-Feb;27(1):52-7

Natural Health,WHAT OMEGA-3 FATS DO FOR YOUR BRAIN: Fats, and especially the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexanoic acid (DHA), make up a large part of the lining of your brain cells; a diet rich in omega-3 fats helps keep that lining flexible so that memory messages can pass easily between cells, says Ray Sahelian, M.D., a Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based general practitioner and author of Mind Boosters (St. Martin's Griffin, 2000).
A study published in Lipids in 2000 reported that people with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids may have a higher risk of dementia or cognitive impairment, including memory problems. Researchers also found low levels of DHA in patients suffering from age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. A 2001 study in the Journal of Molecular Neuroscience showed that increasing DHA intake can reverse some of the mental decline associated with Alzheimer's.

The risk of death from ischemic heart disease was 33% lower in those that ate more fish and 62% lower in those that consumed fish oil supplements. Carroll DN, Roth MT. Ann Pharmacother. Evidence for the cardioprotective effects of omega-3 Fatty acids. 2002 Dec;36(12):1950-6. Skerrett PJ, Hennekens CH. Consumption of fish and fish oils and decreased risk of stroke. Prev Cardiol. 2003 Winter;6(1):38-41. Horrocks LA, Yeo YK. Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Pharmacol Res. 1999 Sep;40(3):211-25

The effect fish oil has on blood pressure has been extensively researched, with a recent meta-analysis of 90 trials finding that fish oil significantly reduced blood pressure, especially in the elderly and hypertensive. Geleijnse JM, Giltay EJ, Grobbee DE, Donders AR, Kok FJ. Blood pressure response to fish oil supplementation: metaregression analysis of randomized trials. J Hypertens. 2002 Aug;20(8):1493-9

Fish oil also fights stress and depression. Multiple studies have found a direct association between depression and omega-3 content in various tissues of the body, including the content in adipose tissue, which is a marker of long-term dietary fat intake. Mamalakis G, Tornaritis M, Kafatos A. Depression and adipose essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2002 Nov;67(5):311-8.

BETTER HEALTH : DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). This omega-3 fatty acid is one of the hottest brain boosters being researched as of late. Lombard and Germano discuss its capabilities in great length in their book, saying, "DHA is the primary structural fatty acid in the gray matter of the brain and promotes communication between brain cells...." In addition, DHA protects cell membranes against oxidative damage, and research indicates that it is essential to brain development.

Omega-3 fatty acids, widely explored for their heart-protective properties, may also be useful in preventing cognitive decline, lowering the risk of allergies in newborns, and benefiting cystic fibrosis patients, according to several new studies.
In a study reported in the January issue of Neurology, researchers investigated whether intake of omega-3 fatty acids is linked to improved cognitive performance. They examined the food intake of 1,613 subjects, ages 45 to 70 years old, from 1995 to 2000. The subjects completed cognitive tests and a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire. Low dietary intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) was related to an increased risk of impaired overall cognitive function and speed. High cholesterol intake also appeared to increase the risk of memory impairment.
Researchers concluded that marine-derived omega-3s benefit cognition, possibly by virtue of their anti-inflammatory effects.
Kalmijn S, van Boxtel MP, Ocke M, Verschuren WM, Kromhout D, Launer LJ. Dietary intake of fatty acids and fish in relation to cognitive performance at middle age. Neurology. 2004 Jan 27;62(2):275-80.

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