Since I was an undergraduate in college, Omega 3 terminology has been tossed around quite a bit. Healthy fats? What is not to love? Oh, except it taste like fish, lol... I soon found myself gulping down fairly foul-smelling fish-oil supplements for I had heard of their mythic health powers. After all, they are fish... But, which type of Omega exactly? Omega 3, 6, 9? How much of each and where from? And what for? What was the benefit?
Well, with a brain that is approx. 60 percent fat, it makes sense that fat could "feed" fat. As we have evolved from the sea, in many ways, it makes sense that therein lies our best "catch". DHA, or "docosahexaenoic acid", is that sweet Omega 3 that seems to have been a major contributor of brain growth. It is found in large amounts in Krill Oil and Salmon. Seafood in general seems to tout the highest amounts of Omega 3 DHA. While nuts seem to have very rich ALA Omega 3 and Omega 6 content. "Flax seeds" and "Chia seeds" are popular these days. These plant based fats, much like nuts, are predominately ALA Omega 3.
The sea is where it is at though for brain power and growth. It makes sense because most brain growth is occurring during the first years of life. And what is high in DHA that babies love? Mommie's milk. Nature Selects, and Nature Knows.... 2 Hmmm. This all sounds great but "Paleo Diet" says I should eat lots of juicy red meat? Well, in 2005 a Professor and Researcher from the University of Toronto called the Paleo Diet into question long before it took off. What he suggested makes perfect sense. Essentially there is little iodine in Eating Animal Meat but Loads in Seafood. Lacking iodine and DHA, we would likely develop mental illness and puny brains.
So I think the take away here is that all of us need to be very conscious of what we are talking about when we are looking for Omega 3s. Many reach for their nuts thinking that they are getting DHA from them-- but they get little. They do end up with large amounts of ALA Omega 3 and also an Omega 6 to Omega 3 imbalance that some have suggested may be a cause for concern. There are implications that this imbalance leads to an inflammatory state and possibly a bi-polar state. I eat and support nuts-- by all means. But understand that the Omega 3s in nuts are largely ALA and the conversion of ALA down to precious DHA is only about 5%. ALA is a great Omega 3 but our brains are dominated by DHA and evolution supports DHA as its fat fave. 2, 3
So Paleo has some merits with its grain and GMO gluten banishment-- but be careful. The proper Omega 3 balance may be more like "The Mediterranean Diet". Get your DHA. It is how we evolved to have the brains we have. Guess what..? It comes in seafood, not red meat. As a matter of fact, fish fat increases cognitive function while red meat fat increases cognitive impairment. Can you say "Stop ADHD"? Our pre-historic brethren would eat a one-to-one ratio of Omega 3s to Omega 6s. Modern America, now eats about 50 Omega 6s to each Omega 3. Sound right to you? This is "pro-inflammatory" making us also more prone to heart disease, joint arthritis, perhaps even depression and other mental illness. 4
Want kids with higher IQs?
Want to fight off ADHD, attention deficit disorder in kids? 5, 6
Want Better Brain Building?
Want to ward off Alzheimers and other Mental illness including Memory Decline? 2
Omega 3s and DHA !!!! Fish Oil (Wild Alaskan Salmon) and Krill Oil are King...