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Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Asthma, Arthritis, and Anchovies

Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as essential fatty acids (EFAs), have the ability to change easily and are used by the body for a variety of functions. Arthritis is commonly referred to as a result of deficiency in one or more EFAs. In recent years, asthma patients have shown a significant deficiency in some of the same essential nutrients. The past treatment of these two difficulties was to reduce and control the symptoms. Current treatment modalities are moving toward preventing or stopping the development of two problems that affect nearly half of the American population at some point in their lives.

Most nutritionists agree that both omega-3 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are included in a balanced diet and diet program. Omega-6 sources are mainly found in vegetable and seed sources. Omega-3 sources are found primarily in fish oils or in some nuts and seeds. However, the omega-3 sources found in these plant sources must be converted by the body and the body is very inefficient in this process making these poor sources available for EFA. To be useful in reducing the inflammation response of both types of EFAs must be balanced. Optimal balance (general guidelines set by the Alternative & Complementary Therapy Association) should be 4 omega-6 to 1 omega-3 fats (4: 1).

It is important to maintain this balance so that EFAs can perform their functions more efficiently. These functions include the production and protection of cell membranes along with the body's ability to metabolize prostaglandins. Many estimate that this fat nutritional balance is at least 10: 1 while other agencies (including the American Heart Association) believe the imbalance is as high as 20: 1. Natural practitioners believe this may be the biggest reason for the increase in asthma and arthritis in the last 20 years then.

A study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash School of Medicine in Victoria, Australia found that a diet high in marine fatty acids (fish oil) reduced the incidence of both arthritis and rheumatoid asthma. Over 9 different studies have found that some patients are able to reduce medications that reduce pain for arthritis patients and increase airflow for asthma patients. Studies include both dietary changes and supplements. In all studies, positive results were shown without adverse effects.

In addition, recent studies show that adding fish oil to dietary patients, whether through diet or supplements, reduces the chemical response in the body resulting in joint inflammation and respiratory tract. The EPA has again been proven to provide level protection with or greater than current NSAID drugs and prescription counters. Especially where the side effects are experienced by the patient. Many times the side effects of the drugs used to treat these two problems cause more discomfort than the actual symptom patient experience.

The dose needed to prevent and protect against inflammation is higher than the dose commonly accepted for general health and heart health. The recommended dose for most people is between 1 and 4 grams per day depending on the general health of the individual. The FDA says that a dose of 3 grams a day is safe. However, the decision for those who are in crisis or who have suffered from both diseases requires higher doses to show positive effects. The need for very high doses of oil requires patients who wish to try this therapy only under the care of the medical profession. Fish oil shows great promise in this area but requires careful supervision to ensure patient safety.


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