Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3

A balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is essential to promoting and maintaining health. According to Artemis Simpoulos, M.D., President of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health in Washington D.C. and co-author of The Omega Plan (Harper Collins, 1998), “The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the typical Western diet is betweeen 10-to-1 and 21-to-1, whereas the diet humans evolved on had a ratio of 1-to-1. One of the most important medical findings of recent years is that eating a balanced ratio of EFAs brings your diet back in sync with your genes and helps you experience optimal health.”

Current thinking is that omega-6 and omega-3 fats need to be balanced in the diet at a ratio of 1-to-1 or 2-to-1. And the best way to do that is to supplement your diet with an excellent fish oil nutritional supplement, and/or eat fish several times a week.

Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids should be distinguished because they are metabolically and functionally distinct, as well as having opposing physiological functions, says Simpoulos. “Omega-3s and omega-6s work differently in the body. When they’re in balance, they’re both very good. When the omega-6s are in excess, they become bad.”

Here’s what happens: omega-3s produce hormone-like eicosanoids that are anti-inflammatory. These eicosanoids help support normal blood pressure by relaxing the arteries and blood vessels and decreasing blood lipids. They also decrease blood clotting factors and support immune function.

Omega-6s, however, can produce both anti-inflammatory and/or inflammatory and vasoconstricting eicosanoids. To oversimplify just a bit: omega-6s are good for you if you take them in the right amount with omega-3s. However, in the absence of omega-3s they can be very bad indeed.

Too many omega-6s in your diet in the absence of sufficient omega-3s can produce potent inflammatory agents that set the stage for autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, and a host of other health problems.

But the eicosanoids produced by omega-3s help inhibit the production of these inflammatory agents. To clarify further: LA gets made into GLA, then into DGLA and then into either AA (arachidonic acid), which then gets made into inflammatory eicosanoids, or the DGLA gets made into a series of VERY BENEFICIAL eicosanoids that have, among other effects, antiviral and anti-vaso-constrictive effects.

What determines whether DGLA goes to AA or to the beneficial eicosanoids?

Well, low EPA and high insulin will cause DGLA to go to AA (that’s why Americans have such high levels of AA; we make it in our own bodies). If you have good levels of EPA and low insulin (by doing an insulin-smart diet) then your body will NOT make AA from DGLA … instead the DGLA will get made into the beneficial eicosanoids.

So, in a word, to turn omega-6 fats into a positive biological reaction, you take omega-3s! Confusing enough yet?

Even though omega-6 is an essential fatty acid, too much of it can do more harm than good. Insulin encourages the conversion of (omega-6) Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) into arachidonic acid. So does consumption of sugar, alcohol, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, diabetes, aging, stress, and some prescription medications. Low levels of EPA also strongly encourage the conversion of omega-6 into AA. In essence, everything about the modern Western World diet encourages the conversion of dietary LA into heart disease causing AA! The solution? Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and take fish oil!

Read more about Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids here:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids From Fish Oil Protect Your Heart, Brain and Overall Health

Why is Vitamin D so important?

At least one-third of American adults, and 75% of adults with cardiovascular disease may be deficient in vitamin D.

We now know that every body cell has a receptor for vitamin D, which is why it is so crucial to overall health. Adequate vitamin D is necessary for reducing the risk for bone disease, is believed to play a role in the reduction of falls, as well as reducing pain, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, mortality and supporting cognitive function.

Click here to read more

To your health,
Us Smart Publications

What is Vitamin K?

Originally identified as a fat-soluble nutrient required for normal blood coagulation, vitamin K is actually a family of similar compounds, which recent research reveals are also necessary for integrating calcium into bone and preventing its deposit within blood vessels. The latest research also indicates vitamin K possesses significant anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory actions.

In nature, vitamin K is found in the forms of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and several different types of vitamin K2 (menaquinones):

K1, which is involved in photosynthesis, is produced by plants and algae, its highest concentrations found in green leafy vegetables. Primary dietary sources of K1 are leafy greens, such as broccoli, kale, and Swiss chard, and plant oils, such as canola and soybean oil.

K2 is produced by bacteria and also via the conversion of K1 to K2 by beneficial bacteria in the intestines of animals, including humans. Natto (fermented soybeans) is the richest dietary source of vitamin K2. Dairy products (milk, butter, cottage cheese, cheese) and egg yolk also provide small amounts.

K2 is more potent and has the widest range of activity. Far more active than K1 in both bone formation and reduction of bone loss, K2 is a 15-fold more powerful antioxidant than K1, and is also the form which has been found to protect against arterial calcification and the oxidation (free radical damage) of LDL cholesterol.

Protect Multi
Protect Multi with Vitamin K2

Finally, K2 occurs in numerous forms that vary in their activity. K2 can have a side chain between 4 and 9 units long. This side chain has a great effect on bioavailability. Shorter chain length results in shorter half-life within the body, thus limiting our body’s ability to utilize the vitamin. Both vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 in the form of menaquinone-4 have very short half-lives in the body, while longer chain forms of vitamin K2, such as menaquinone-7, have dramatically longer half-lives and much higher bioactivity. Because recent research has shown that vitamin K2, in the form of menaquinone-7, is the most potent and longest acting form of vitamin K2, many researchers now consider it to be the most important dietary form of vitamin K for protecting the cardiovascular system and promoting bone health.

In a massive European clinical trial following 4,807 subjects aged at least 55 over a 7-10 year period, researchers found that K2, but not K1, significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%, death from all causes by 26%, and severe aortic calcification by 52%. K1 provided no significant cardiovascular protection.

Read more about vitamin K in these following articles:

http://lmreview.com/vitamin-k2-optimal-levels-essential-for-the-prevention-of-age-associated-chronic-disease/

Vitamin K2—Keeps Calcium Out of Your Arteries and In Your Bones

The Heart Bone and Skin Health Benefits of Vitamin K

Vitamin K2 is More Important in the Fight Against Osteoporosis than Calcium

Are You Getting a Full Spectrum of Mixed Carotenoid in Your Diet?

Carotene Rich Foods

Unless you eat a wide variety of carotenoid-containing foods (tomatoes, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, broccoli, etc.) you are probably not getting adequate amounts of the full range of carotenoid compounds— powerful antioxidants that protect our cells and tissues from the damaging effects of free radicals.

And even if you eat like a rabbit, because of natural factors like growing conditions, the carotenoid content of one piece of fruit or vegetable and another can vary by as much as three-fold!

Fact is, most carotenoids are much better absorbed from supplements than from food. But most multivitamin supplements don’t come close to supplying you with a full spectrum of mixed carotenoids, either.

Find out how you can make sure you’re getting a full spectrum of mixed carotenoids in the article, Caroteniods Are Better Absorbed From Supplements Than From Food!

To your health,

US Smart Publications

Vitamin K2 More Important than Calcium

Bone X-ray
Bone X-rayIf you or your loved one are concerned about osteoporosis—and you should be—here is the simple but too often overlooked truth about how this prevalent bone disease operates. What the public at large tends not to realize — and what your doctor may not be aware of — is that both osteopenia and osteoporosis are entirely preventable.

Vitamin K has recently been identified as an important nutrient in bone health.  Several studies have indicated that low vitamin K levels are associated with a higher risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures, and that supplementation with vitamin K increases bone mass and mineralization of the bone matrix.

It is important to note, there are many forms of vitamin K, vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) being the most common. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is the most important nutrient in the calcium recycling process. Researchers have recently found that supplementation with menaquinone-7 (MK7), a long chain vitamin K2 molecule, is the form that protects against osteoporosis and reduces the risk of bone fractures. Furthermore, when combined with vitamin D, the MK7 form of vitamin K2 has actually been shown to promote bone growth. It does this by increasing the production of osteocalcin in osteoblasts, which allows calcium to anchor to bone and thus build bone. It also inhibits the production of osteoclasts, which break down bone.5