Which Omega’s?

Omega 3 and omega 6 together make up a group of important unsaturated fats in our body, called essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Essential meaning they are vital for our body to function, but our body cannot make them, so they must be included in our diet. We tend to think that all fats are bad for us so we avoid them where possible, but the EFA’s are extremely beneficial, and should be consumed daily.

The two omegas are obtained from different sources and perform different functions.

Omega 3 is found in flaxseed (linseed) oil, walnuts, leafy green vegetables and from the fatty cold water fish like mackerel, salmon, tuna and sardines.

Omega 6 is found in nuts, seeds and seed oils (sunflower and olive oil).

Health functions of the omega’s:
Omega 3 is responsible for keeping cell membranes strong. A strong membrane ensures a healthy cell which is able to hold water and vital nutrients, and hence protect the body against many degenerative diseases.

Omega 3 is also used in the making of prostaglandins, hormone like substances, which help to regulate blood pressure and blood clotting. Hence omega 3 has been shown to help prevent and treat cardiac disease, and also help circulatory disorders and migraines. Prostaglandins also have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used in such conditions as arthritis.

Omega 3 is critical for foetal brain and eye development. Its intake is vital during pregnancy and breast feeding.

Huge benefits have been seen in improving the concentration in attention deficit and hyperactive children put onto Omega 3 supplements.

Omega 6 also has many health benefits: A lack of it will result in such things as high blood pressure, PMS, dry eyes, inflammatory disorders, difficulty in losing weight, and blood sugar irregularities.

It is extremely important that the two omegas are supplemented in THE CORRCT RATIO. Too much omega 6 will lead to inflammatory conditions, as well as to an omega 3 deficiency. The ideal balance in our body is twice as much omega 6 to omega 3. However, because our Western diet includes much more omega 6 than 3, the correct supplementation must ensure a lot more (about 4 parts) omega 3, to only one part omega 6.
It is also very important to remember that omega 3 oils are damaged by heat, light and oxygen, so they must be stored correctly and never heated for cooking purposes.

There are two naturally occurring omegas in our body. Omega 7, found in skin, has recently become popular due to its anti-aging and skin healing properties, and omega 9 which together with 3 & 6, supports cardiovascular health.

At M-Kem we have a full range of omega supplementation, including prenatal, infant and baby formulations.

Gillian Watson