Omega-3 is more important than you think...
Talking about omega-3 may seem a bit dated but don't stop reading, it's more important than you think. And you're probably not getting enough.
Some sources say that 95% of the world's population does not consume enough omega-3. Eating more omega-3 is associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks, arrhythmias, strokes, depression, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.
Interestingly, for those who cycle a lot, omega-3 supplementation can also improve endurance by reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.
How do I know if I am consuming enough omega 3?
The recommendation is to eat fish 2-3 times a week, at least once of which should be oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel). Oily fish contains the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which the body cannot produce itself and which we must get from our diet. Other fish contain very small amounts of EPA and DHA.
Rekommendationen är också att äta 1-2 msk rapsolja per dag. Rapsolja innehåller omega-3 i form av ALA, men inte fettsyrorna EPA och DHA. ALA kan i mycket liten omfattning göras om till EPA och DHA i våra kroppar.
Our daily requirement of omega-3 is 2.5-3 grams per day (this includes EPA and DHA but also includes ALA). That's how much omega-3 there is in one portion of salmon (150 grams).
But there is no recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration on how much EPA and DHA we need to get. The only recommendation is for pregnant and breastfeeding women is 200 mg of DHA per day. The reason there are no recommendations for everyone is that EPA and DHA are not considered vital (necessary for survival).
The levels of EPA and DHA in fish vary quite a lot, but if we eat oily fish once a week and other fish 1-2 times a week, we should get enough.
Ok, now we have numbers and recommendations. But what are your values? Are you getting enough omega-3s?
Today it is possible to test it yourself, through private companies. Curious as I am, I decided to give it a try. I eat fish sometimes but I must admit that here I do not follow the recommendation.
So I suspected I was a bit low and decided to give it a try. I ordered a test through the company Zinzino. The test showed that I had a 15:1 omega 6/omega 3 ratio. So I had 15 times more omega 6 than I have omega 3. It is unclear which omega-6/omega-3 ratio is best. Indigenous peoples have a ratio of 1:1, so that's probably where we've been further back in time. The optimal ratio seems to be somewhere between 1:1 and 4:1 to reduce the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, autoimmune diseases, asthma and depression. However, there is no official recommendation on which value is best. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
When ordering the test through Zinzino, the idea is to use their omega-3 oils as supplements to get the value right. Since both my partner and I took this test and had similar values, we decided that he would take Zinzino's oil and I would take omega-3 capsules from another brand (which are cheaper and contain just as much omega-3). To see if there is any difference in the supplements. In retrospect, of course, it would have been even more interesting if I had started eating a few pieces of herring every day to see how much my values improved from that. It's easy to be wise afterwards. If you would like test this after taking the test yourself and have similar values to mine as a starting point, please let me know! Then I can present the results here eventually.
I am of the opinion that the best way to get everything your body needs is through your diet. That's how the body is used to getting the nutrition and it's often easier to absorb it then. The advantage of eating fish is that you get other nutrients too, like vitamin D. But there is a downside to eating fatty fish.It contains some heavy metals (like mercury) and also dioxins and PCBs. Farmed fish (e.g. salmon and herring) do not contain as many heavy metals, but on the other hand contain a little less EPA and DHA.
The heavy metals we ingest are stored in the body and can affect, among other things, reproduction and the foetus. The only time in life you get rid of heavy metals is when a woman is pregnant and they are transferred through the placenta and breast milk to the baby. . There's a lot of good information on this on the Food Standards Agency website if you want to read more.Many omega-3 supplements claim to contain very little heavy metals and other substances, so this is a benefit of the supplements.
Now I have recieved the results after 4 months and I will continue this article soon.