Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Good News On Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements

Do you take an Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplement like fish oil or flaxseed oil? If not are you thinking about taking one? Our doctors at SkyVision Centers keep coming up with more and more reasons you should!

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are building blocks for the oil secretion from the Meibomian glands in your eyelids. This oil is what stabilizes the front of your tear film and keeps your tears from evaporating before your next blink. We've lost count on the number of articles in the eye literature that have shown this. Whether you have Dry Eye or not, taking a supplement will improve the quality of your tears in most cases.

The Nurses Health Study which has followed thousands of nurses for decades published a very telling study on Omega-3 Fatty Acid content in diets and vision loss from Macular Degeneration. In short, those nurses who had the highest weekly intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acid in the DHA and EPA forms (see below) had a 1/3 lower incidence of lost vision.

Data continues to accumulate on the benefits of taking an Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplement as a way to decrease your risk of heart disease. This is especially true in men who have other cardiac risk factors. Once again, Fish Oil high in DHA and EPA has an anti-inflammatory effect that seems to work against the type of inflammation that attacks the coronary arteries. This is the same anti-inflammatory effect in your muscles and joints that CrossFitters have found, which is why using Fish Oil is a very common standard in the CrossFit community of athletes.

So what kind of Omega-3 supplement should you take. Dr. White likes to tell his patients that women can take either Fish Oil or Flaxseed Oil, but that men probably should NOT take Flaxseed Oil because of a potential danger to the prostate gland. Flaxseed Oil comes in 1000mg capsules and the best results come from taking 2 or 3 each day.

Fish Oil in capsule form (de-odorized to prevent "fish burps"!) is a little more complex. There are all kinds of levels of quality. You should look for ultra-filtered (to remove mercury), and you want to have the Omega-3 in the DHA/EPA (triglyceride) form. Look on the ingredients and buy the supplement that has the highest percentage of Omega-3 in the DHA/EPA form. Our Doctor's Advantage Omega Shield supplement (that Dr. White takes) has ALL 1200mg in the DHA/EPA form. In general, 1200mg pills have a higher concentration than 1000mg pills, and once again you should try to take 2 or 3 each day if you can.

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