December 15, 2016

Omega 3's part 2 of 2

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

In the last article we introduced the fact that there is a difference in the origin of omega-3 fats, being either plant derived or animal derived. The animal derived omega-3 fats also have differences in their origin, either being fish based or krill based.

Here, we will further explain the differences, starting with animal versus plant derived omega-3 fats.

Marine animal based fats are sourced from fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, herring, fish and krill. DHA is primarily a long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) with 22 carbons, and EPA is a PUFA of 20 carbons. Since they are long chain fatty acids, they are more readily available to your body.

The biological effects of EPA/DHA are mostly anti-inflammatory and for communication within cells and between cells. The last article listed many more effects. As much as 30% of the fatty mass of the prefrontal cortex of the brain is DHA and 90% of the omega-3 fat found in the brain is DHA. The development of the fetal brain is entirely dependent on the availability of DHA. Pre-pregnancy should include super doses of EPA/DHA for proper brain development.

Plant based omega-3 fats are sourced from flax seed, chia seed, nuts and leafy greens. Plant based omega-3 fat is ALA(alpha-linoleic acid), a short chain fatty acid with 18 carbons. It can be converted to EPA or DHA, but conversion rates are poor at 1 to 3 percent. This is because there are certain necessary enzymes required to elongate ALA to DHA/EPA, and it doesn’t work well in most people.

The biological effect of ALA is primarily as a source of energy.

The key difference between ALA and EPA/DHA is that ALA is a source of energy, whereas EPA/DHA are structural elements. Short chain fatty acids are simply food. Long chain fatty acids like EPA/DHA are actually the elements that make up your cells.

Now we can see animal based omega-3 fats are superior to plant based fats. Yet another twist is that there are big differences in which marine animals the good EPA/DHA originates from.

Fish oil is bound to triglycerides and methyl esters as transported in the body. Krill oil is bound to phospholipids. Phospholipids travel easily in your system and are the primary compound in good cholesterol, HDL. Obviously we know from research that we want high HDL numbers for a healthy body.

Research also shows other advantages of krill oil over fish oil. Krill oil is more potent, with studies showing it takes 63% less krill oil to achieve the same blood level as fish oil. This means if you take 1000 mg of krill, it is like taking 1630 mg of fish oil.

Krill already contains a substance necessary for omega -3 to be utilized by your body, phosphatidylcholine. Fish oil needs the liver to attach this substance prior to utilization by the body.

Fish oil, as most of you have found out, easily and quickly goes bad, or oxidizes. Oxidization leads to free radical production, which increases your need for antioxidants. Krill contain a potent antioxidant, astaxanthin, which is why it does not readily go bad or need refrigeration as fish oil does.

Krill oil also does several things fish oil does not, including: enhancing glucose metabolism
promoting lipid(fat) metabolism, regulation the mitochondrial respiratory chain and decreasing bad cholesterol synthesis. This means krill will help lower your triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and increase your energy production.

By the way, the omega-3 supplements produced by drug manufacturers and sold as a superior product, actually is not.  They also must be taken with a meal. If it is not taken with other food, most of it simply passes through the body without being absorbed at all. They still can’t manufacture food better than nature. Don’t even bother taking manufactured omega-3 pills.

It should be pretty obvious you should be switching from fish oil to krill oil for superior health benefits.