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Omega 3 Boosters

December 6, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Many health experts ranging from Dr. Loren Cordain (The Paleo Diet) to Dr. Barry Sears (The Zone Diet) recommend choosing foods that help balance ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. The primary motivation for doing so is a documented anti-inflammatory shift that takes place when n-3 fats including ALA, DHA and EPA account for a larger proportion of your total calories. The most direct way to achieve this end is to consume more fish and/or supplement with algae, fish or krill oil. But modern science has recently revealed a lesser known means of supporting a healthier omega-3 status – the use of antioxidant pigments such as those found in berries and red wine.

Before I delve into the issue of antioxidants and omega-3 fats, I’d first like to establish the viability of augmenting n-3/n-6 ratios. Earlier this year, researchers from Ohio State University performed a randomized, placebo controlled study involving thirty young adults. All of the participants had their n-3/n-6 ratios measured at the beginning and completion of the trial. Over the course of 4 weeks, half of the participants were given fish oil supplements containing 1.2 g/day of DHA and 1.6 g/day of EPA. The remainder of the study volunteers were given an equivalent amount of mineral oil. The n-3/n-6 ratio at the start of the experiment was comparable. By the end of the intervention, those consuming the fish oil displayed a significantly lower ratio (6.3 vs 16.8) as compared to the mineral oil/placebo group. This finding proves that major shifts in fatty acid ratios can be achieved using reasonable and safe dosages of fish oil. (1)

Higher Fish Oil Intake May Slow Down the Aging Process
Source: JAMA. 2010;303(3):250-257. (link)

A few years ago, a groundbreaking paper appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which discovered a link between red wine consumption and higher levels of plasma and red blood cell concentrations of omega-3 fats. At the time, the authors of the investigation theorized that polyphenols in red wine might be responsible for this compelling finding. Now, a new experiment from France offers support for this initial proposal. Rats fed an antioxidant extract from purple corn, which contains similar antioxidants as red wine (anthocyanins), proved effective in increasing blood concentrations of DHA and EPA, but not other fatty acids. The conclusion of the research states – “These studies demonstrate that the consumption of flavonoids increases plasma very long-chain (n-3) PUFA levels. These data confirm previous clinical and epidemiological studies and provide new insights into the health benefits of flavonoids”. This intriguing observation may help explain the so-called French Paradox and some of the health benefits generally assigned to Mediterranean style diets. It’s also another reason to include plenty of richly pigmented foods in your daily diet. (2,3)

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition

6 Comments & Updates to “Omega 3 Boosters”

  1. dave Says:

    Mmm, Krill Oil and Flavonoids. I love this kind of geeky stuff, keep up the research!

  2. JP Says:

    Thanks, Dave.

    Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? 😉

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update 05/31/15:


    Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 May 27.

    Supplementation with a blend of krill and salmon oil is associated with increased metabolic risk in overweight men.

    BACKGROUND: Krill is an increasingly popular source of marine n-3 (ω-3) PUFA that is seen as a premium product. However, to our knowledge, the effect of krill-oil supplementation on insulin sensitivity in humans has not been reported.

    OBJECTIVE: We assessed whether supplementation with a blend of krill and salmon (KS) oil [which is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] affects insulin sensitivity in overweight men.

    DESIGN: The design was a randomized, double-blind, controlled crossover trial. A total of 47 men with a mean ± SD age of 46.5 ± 5.1 y, who were overweight [body mass index (in kg/m2) from 25 to 30] but otherwise healthy, received 5 1-g capsules of KS oil or a control (canola oil) for 8 wk and crossed over to another treatment after a 8-wk washout period. The primary outcome was insulin sensitivity assessed by using the Matsuda method from an oral-glucose-tolerance test. Secondary outcomes included lipid profiles, inflammatory markers, 24-h ambulatory blood pressure, and carotid artery intimamedia thickness.

    RESULTS: Unexpectedly, insulin sensitivity (per the Matsuda index) was 14% lower with the KS oil than with the control oil (P = 0.049). A mediation analysis showed that, after controlling for the likely positive effects of blood EPA and DHA (i.e., the omega-3 index), the reduction in insulin sensitivity after KS-oil supplementation was more marked [27% lower than with the control oil (P = 0.009)].

    CONCLUSIONS: Supplementation with a blend of KS oil is associated with decreased insulin sensitivity. Thus, krill-oil supplementation in overweight adults could exacerbate risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Updated 1/23/16:


    J Nutr Sci. 2016 Jan 8;5:e2.

    Consumption of Buglossoides arvensis seed oil is safe and increases tissue long-chain n-3 fatty acid content more than flax seed oil – results of a phase I randomised clinical trial.

    Enrichment of tissues with ≥20-carbon n-3 PUFA like EPA is associated with positive cardiovascular outcomes. Stearidonic acid (SDA; 18 : 4n-3) and α-linolenic acid (ALA; 18 : 3n-3) are plant-derived dietary n-3 PUFA; however, direct comparisons of their impact on tissue n-3 PUFA content are lacking. Ahiflower(®) oil extracted from Buglossoides arvensis seeds is the richest known non-genetically modified source of dietary SDA. To investigate the safety and efficacy of dietary Ahiflower oil, a parallel-group, randomised, double-blind, comparator-controlled phase I clinical trial was performed. Diets of healthy subjects (n 40) were supplemented for 28 d with 9·1 g/d of Ahiflower (46 % ALA, 20 % SDA) or flax seed oil (59 % ALA). Blood and urine chemistries, blood lipid profiles, hepatic and renal function tests and haematology were measured as safety parameters. The fatty acid composition of fasting plasma, erythrocytes, polymorphonuclear cells and mononuclear cells were measured at baseline and after 14 and 28 d of supplementation. No clinically significant changes in safety parameters were measured in either group. Tissue ALA and EPA content increased in both groups compared with baseline, but EPA accrual in plasma and in all cell types was greater in the Ahiflower group (time × treatment interactions, P ≤ 0·01). Plasma and mononuclear cell eicosatetraenoic acid (20 : 4n-3) and docosapentaenoic acid (22 : 5n-3) content also increased significantly in the Ahiflower group compared with the flax group. In conclusion, the consumption of Ahiflower oil is safe and is more effective for the enrichment of tissues with 20- and 22-carbon n-3 PUFA than flax seed oil.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Updated 03/08/16:


    Nutrients. 2016 Mar 2;8(3).

    An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity.

    In the past three decades, total fat and saturated fat intake as a percentage of total calories has continuously decreased in Western diets, while the intake of omega-6 fatty acid increased and the omega-3 fatty acid decreased, resulting in a large increase in the omega-6/omega-3 ratio from 1:1 during evolution to 20:1 today or even higher. This change in the composition of fatty acids parallels a significant increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Experimental studies have suggested that omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids elicit divergent effects on body fat gain through mechanisms of adipogenesis, browning of adipose tissue, lipid homeostasis, brain-gut-adipose tissue axis, and most importantly systemic inflammation. Prospective studies clearly show an increase in the risk of obesity as the level of omega-6 fatty acids and the omega-6/omega-3 ratio increase in red blood cell (RBC) membrane phospholipids, whereas high omega-3 RBC membrane phospholipids decrease the risk of obesity. Recent studies in humans show that in addition to absolute amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid intake, the omega-6/omega-3 ratio plays an important role in increasing the development of obesity via both AA eicosanoid metabolites and hyperactivity of the cannabinoid system, which can be reversed with increased intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio is important for health and in the prevention and management of obesity.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 06/13/16:


    Arch Med Sci. 2016 Jun 1;12(3):507-12.

    Lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 ethyl esters and krill oil: a randomized, cross-over, clinical trial.

    INTRODUCTION: Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) derived from different sources could have different lipid-lowering effects in humans. The main aim of our study was to compare the short-term triglyceride-lowering efficacy of krill oil and purified omega 3 ethyl ester PUFAs in mildly overweight hypertriglyceridemic subjects.

    MATERIAL AND METHODS: This double-blind, randomized clinical trial was carried out in 25 moderately hypertriglyceridemic subjects (TG = 150-500 mg/dl). After a 4-week run-in, participants were allocated to treatment with similar pills containing omega 3 ethyl ester PUFAs 1000 mg twice a day vs. krill oil 500 mg twice a day. After 4 weeks of treatment, participants were asked to observe a 4-week wash-out period, and they were then assigned to the alternative treatment for a further period of 4 weeks.

    RESULTS: Although both PUFA sources were able to improve TG plasma levels, esterified omega 3 PUFAs were more efficacious than krill oil (p < 0.05). Nonetheless, only krill oil treatment was able to significantly improve high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein AI levels, compared to both baseline (p < 0.05) and end of treatment with esterified omega 3 PUFAs (p < 0.05) values. Both treatments were able to significantly reduce high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels from the baseline (p < 0.05), but krill oil improved it more efficaciously than esterified omega 3 PUFAs (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Krill oil has lipid-lowering effects comparable with those obtained through a 4-fold higher dose of purified omega 3 ethyl ester PUFAs in mildly overweight hypertriglyceridemic subjects, while more efficaciously reducing hs-CRP. Be well! JP

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