Flax and Fish Oil Omega 3 Body Benefits


Skin care 

Flax seeds contain natural skin care components that are very rich in Omega 3 oils. These essential fatty acids are very important for our health and in particular for the skin. There are many skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis that may be caused by the lack of omega 3 essential fatty acids. As a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, flax seed is able to replenish the correct body levels of these fats and so it can act as a natural skin care food. 

A lot of people are also using flax seed oil directly on their skin in order to make it smoother and less dry. Some even report that directly applied flax seed reduces skin inflammations, but much more research is needed before we can know for sure whether this is true or brought on by a completely different factor, or simply a case of the placebo effect. 

Skin products made from flax seed oil can easily become rancid, especially pure flax seed oil, where no preservatives have been added. Heat, light and oxygen will break down flax seed oil. To preserve its potency flax seed oil should be placed in an air-tight container that should be kept away from direct sunlight. 

A spray top bottle with an extra lid is better than a normal bottle with a single lid because the spray construction reduces the possibility of air getting into the bottle. To prevent natural skin care products, such as flax seed oil, from turning bad you should always store them in the refrigerator. The best flax seed oil skin products are usually those processed at low temperatures in dark environments. 

Flax oil and flax seeds are being rediscovered as true health foods. They definitely merit being included on any top ten list of natural skin care products that are good for everyone. 

Joints and Arthritis 

Arthritis isn’t a disease that you can cure. It appears to be part of an autoimmune response where the body’s own immune system attacks the joints. There are plenty of drugs that are available but all that you can hope for is a slowing down of the disease and some relief from the symptoms such as joint swelling and inflammation. One of the ways that the drugs work is to weaken the immune system so that it is less able to attack the joints while it is in its autoimmune phase. This however, then makes your body more vulnerable to attack from infection by bacteria and viruses. In addition to this, traditional arthritis drugs have many varying side effects including diarrhea, fever, stomach ulcers, headaches, rashes, kidney problems and bleeding gums. As well as this they can also increase the risks of getting certain cancers. 

There has, of course, been a great interest in alternative treatments for arthritis so that the side effects of the drugs can be avoided. Taking Glucosamine tablets is one such suggestion but there is great doubt these days as to the effectiveness of this type of treatment. Despite this pharmacists are still making a lot of money selling these tablets. 

Fish oil is another such alternative treatment. There have been a number of studies into the effectiveness of fish oils rich in omega 3 in their ability to deal with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Some of these studies show that the EPA and DHA in fish oil helps to a large degree in arthritis by reducing joint stiffness and joint aches and pains. 

The University of Glasgow did a study into fish oil and found that supplements given to arthritis sufferers can result in a great reduction in morning stiffness and painful joints. The high concentrations of EPA and DHA in the fish oil block or suppress the over active inflammatory agents which cause rheumatoid arthritis. Likewise a study with 50 patients in Australia found that fish oil supplements improved the condition of joints giving greater and less painful movements. This study compared those having the fish oil supplement with a control group taking a placebo. They found that it is necessary to make sure that omega 6 fatty acid intake is maintained at a low level so that the overall ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 was also kept at a low level. The omega 6 should be kept to less than 10g per day where as Omega 3 should be nearer 2.8g per day for person weighing 70 kg. 

Although these and other studies have shown benefits to taking fish oil for arthritis it is a good idea to make sure that the higher quality oils from such fish as salmon and mackerel are used. There is still no clear advice as to whether fish oils can actually be used as an alternative to man made drugs in the treatment of arthritis. Even though the studies show some progress you have to remember that they will still have been taking the usual drugs as part of their treatment. Fish oils were given on top of these. Further studies are therefore needed to build on these results. 

Healthy babies 

In the development of the fetus the circulation and nervous systems have to be constructed and this is where fish oil molecules become very important. 

Omega 3 oils have been found to be important for the development of the nervous system and in turn the visual development of the baby. The normal western diet deficiency in these fish oils is compounded by the fact that levels of Omega 3 in pregnant women normally become reduced anyway, as the pregnancy progresses. This is bad news for the development of the fetus’s nervous system. 

Omega 3 is also used after the birth in the making of healthy breast milk and once again the baby’s development depends on this. If mothers go on to have more pregnancies then they may end up with even further reduced levels of Omega 3 in their bodies. Adding fish oil supplements to the diet of pregnant women increases their levels of EPA and DHA. This in turn has a positive effect on the cognitive and visual development of the fetus and later the child. 

There are also other positive contributions that fish oil can make. It has been found that omega 3 supplements may also reduce the instance of allergies and in children. During pregnancy fish oil supplements also seem to prevent the birth of premature babies as well as lowering the risk of preeclampsia. Babies also appear to have a higher birth weight.

In terms of the mother, the addition of fish oil in the diet can also help to combat the usual depressions that occur after the birth. It is therefore important for mothers to continue taking the supplements after the birth, whether or not they are breast feeding. It is recommended that pregnant women have a consumption of 300 mg of DHA per day. 

In terms of fresh fish pregnant women should avoid large predatory fish in case they have got a build up of mercury or other toxins in their bodies. Examples of these fish are shark, king mackerel and swordfish. The kinds of fish that are low in mercury include salmon, Pollock, catfish, tilapia and cod. It is generally recommended that it is safe to eat up to 12 ounces of fish per week. 

In terms of fish oil supplements you should stick to those that are made from the body of the fish. These are the ones that are good for the development of the baby’s brain and eyes and in the long term can help protect against heart disease and arthritis. You should avoid oil that has been made from the liver of the fish. Cod liver oil is an example of this and is high in the retinol form of vitamin A which could harm your baby. 

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