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Omega3 Innovations

The Fresh Fish Oil Company

  • Do Cholesterol-Lowering Medications (Statins) Increase the Risk of Developing Breast Cancer?

    Physician pointing out cholesterol in bloodstream Last week, Bo handed me a new study on an issue close to my heart - breast cancer and its relationship to omega-3 and statin use. This study, he said, was a must-read. And indeed, the article was so interesting that Bo and I had all the women in the office reading it by the end of the day.

    The study, conducted by a French team in Grenoble, raised several interesting questions about statin use. For one, it reexamined the little-discussed issue of whether taking statins might be linked with an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Several biological reasons might explain this phenomenon. First of all, statins decrease the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which is problematic since investigators believe an increased ratio has a protective breast cancer benefit. In addition, the authors list several other possibly cancer-promoting side effects of statin use, including the drug's ability to decrease anti-tumor defenses and contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction.

    Even more interesting, the authors discussed how pharmaceutical companies handled the problematic knowledge that statins could possibly increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. After a 1996 double-blind trial revealed that the statin group experienced a 10 fold increase in breast cancer compared to the placebo group, statin investigators started excluding high-risk women from follow-up research. In other cases, investigators would terminate the studies before a breast cancer risk could be detected or would simply fail to report breast cancer data.

    Most individuals can lower cholesterol levels and reduce their risk of breast cancer by improving diet and lifestyle - and there are no side effects to going this natural route.

    I am not trying to suggest that statins cause breast cancer. There’s not enough information to jump to that kind of conclusion, and medicine is never black and white. There are times when using a statin can be life saving tool!

    Gluten-free Omega Cookies Eating a well balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 is the most effective way to prevent health issues, like heart disease and breast cancer.

    But as the authors suggest and as I always emphasized in my medical practice, we have to look at improving diet first and foremost - before we rush to write out a prescription. This statin discussion serves as an important reminder. Most individuals can lower cholesterol levels and reduce their risk of breast cancer by improving diet and lifestyle - and there are no side effects to going this natural route.

    Of course, people say that making significant lifestyle changes is harder than taking a pill every day. I agree. I would like to meditate every morning. But many days, the stress gets the better of me, even though I know meditating would make me feel better.

    If we really want to improve our overall health, however, we have to start trying. And as physicians, Bo and I have at least tried to make it easier for people to eat nutritious meals and amp up their omega-3 levels. As we say here at Omega3 Innovations, you can improve your diet by eating a cookie. Or having a chocolate truffle (or four). Or by adding three teaspoons of Omega Cure to your yoghurt in the morning. These are just some of the steps you can take to improve your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which should in turn reduce your risk of both heart disease and breast cancer. To see other ways to lower LDL levels, read this Mayo Clinic article on the Top 5 Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Cholesterol.

    As we read more research studies, we continue to see that the natural way - the full-spectrum way, the fresh way - is the best method of improving our health and creating lasting, positive change. As long as we have that option, let’s take it first.

    References: 
    1. Lorgeril, Michel de. "Do Statins Increase and Mediterranean Diet Decrease the Risk of Breast Cancer?" BMC Medicine 12 (2014). BMC Medicine. BioMed Central Ltd, 5 June 2014.

    2. Zheng JS, Hu XJ, Zhao YM, Yang J, Li D. "Intake of Fish and Marine N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Risk of Breast Cancer: Meta-Analysis of Data from 21 Independent Prospective Cohort Studies." BMJ (2013). BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 27 June 2013

  • Should You Stop Taking Fish Oil Supplements Before Having a Medical Procedure?

    Last week a customer called and asked, “I am having a colonoscopy on May 20th, and I was told that I needed to get off all blood thinning medication, aspirin and fish oil. What's the deal?”

    These admonishments have been standard protocol before any medical procedure for many years. After all, omega-3 fish and cod liver oils have a blood thinning effect - one of the properties that make the oils useful in stroke and blood clot prevention. When consumed at higher doses, omega-3 may cause a person to bleed and bruise more easily. However, just like the longtime airline industry rule about turning off all electronic equipment during flight, some researchers and physicians are now questioning whether the precaution is valid.

    Bill Harris, one of the leading authorities in omega-3 research, doesn’t think so.

    In 2007 he reviewed 19 clinical studies involving 4387 surgical patients who were taking fish oil supplements in doses ranging from 1.6g EPA/DHA per day (equivalent to one and a half teaspoons of Omega Cure) to 21g EPA/DHA per day. In 16 out of 19 studies, the patients were also taking aspirin. And in three of the studies, patients were taking heparin, another common blood thinning drug. The review concluded that the risk of bleeding was virtually nonexistent. Another review from 2008 reached the same conclusion. This review stated that no published studies have reported clinically significant bleeding episodes among patients treated with antiplatelet drugs and fish oil (at a dose of 3g to 7g per day).

    Fish oil capsules Taking 1 or 2 capsules of fish oil provides about as much omega-3 as eating a few bites of a salmon filet - hardly enough to achieve any clinical benefits.

    It is also worth noting that most people have an inflated impression of how much oil is in fish oil capsules. For example, taking one or two capsules of fish oil provides about as much omega-3 as eating a few bites of salmon for dinner - hardly enough to make a difference at all. Considering the small amounts of fish oil capsules consumed by the general population, most people have a long ways to go before needing to curtail their supplement use. Sadly, when a patient does bruise more easily when using a blood thinner in combination with fish oil supplements, many physicians eliminate the use of fish oil instead of reducing the amount of blood thinning medication.

    When fish oil supplements are used as clinically indicated, the potential benefits of omega-3 outweigh possible bleeding risks for the vast majority of people. For example, I’d rather get a light bruise from bumping into my desk than feel arthritic pain in my left knee on a daily basis. But here, everyone is different and should discuss their specific needs with their physician. Those taking Warfarin should be monitored and would need their medication dosage adjusted if there’s a significant change in bleeding tendencies.  Additionally, people with bleeding disorders or those who are going in for neurosurgery need special supervision.

    Depending on whether you are removing a small mole or undergoing open heart surgery,  you and your physician should decide whether or not  it is necessary for you  to stop using fish oil supplements. As soon as your doctor gives the go ahead, continue taking three teaspoons of a fresh, full-spectrum fish oil every day. Getting back to a solid dose should help ease post-procedure aches and pains and speed your body on the road to recovery.

    References: 
    1. Harris, William S. "Expert Opinion: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Bleeding—Cause for Concern?" Report of the National Lipid Association’s Safety Task Force: The Nonstatins. 99.6A (2007): 44C-6C. March 19, 2007.

  • Vote for Your Favorite Omega Cookie Flavor

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    We want to make our products as stimulating for your taste buds as they are for your health. For the past year, we've been busy developing new limited edition versions of our products. You've probably tried a number of them already. For instance, in time for Valentine's Day, we launched a chocolate cherry version of our gluten-free Omega Heaven® cookie. During the holiday season, we released the Peppermint Omega Passion® chocolate truffle - which got to be so popular, it's now a part of our regular product line.

    Lately, however, we've been concentrating on developing new flavors of our delicious Omega Cookies. And this time, we want you to help us decide which  cookie to make available as our newest limited edition item.

    We have two different Omega Cookies flavors in the running – the Piña Colada or the Berry Blast. The Piña Colada is inspired by our sunny, tropical location. This cookie is loaded with chunks of pineapple and unsweetened, toasted coconut for a bright start to the day. Berry Blast features some of  summertime’s best flavors with blueberries, cherries and cranberries.

    Of course, both Omega Cookie flavors contain the same nutritional value: 2000 mg of EPA/DHA from full-spectrum cod liver oil, five grams of oat soluble fiber, 800 IUs vitamin D, and calcium. In addition, the sugar content is the same - roughly ten grams of natural sugar from fruit, orange juice, and banana puree only. All of our baked products are gluten-free.

    Cast your ballot now through May 12th by voting on this blog, at the farmers market or when you come through our front door. Order your boxes of the winning cookie on May 19, 2014.

    What gluten-free Omega Cookie contains

  • What You Should Know About Gluten-Free Cookies and Other Foods

    Gluten is a hot topic. After years of being pooh-poohed as a passing fad, the gluten-free diet is going strong and gaining acceptance amongst the medical community as a diet plan that can benefit more people than those who have celiac disease.

    Having been producing gluten-free, omega-3-rich cookies and chocolates for years, I am happy that gluten-free foods are getting their day in the sun. But as a physician, let me say this: going gluten-free by itself does not ensure a healthy diet.

    Why? Here’s what you should know about gluten-free cookies and other foods.

    Why People Assume Gluten-Free Is Synonymous for ‘Healthy’

    When Bo and I started developing our Omega Cookies and our line of baked goods, we quickly decided to make Omega3 Innovations a gluten-free company. For one, many of our customers have food allergies and are sensitive to gluten. In order to make our products as accessible as possible, we thought it best to choose gluten-free ingredients.

    In addition, we also decided to make our products gluten-free as part of our focus on nutrition. Gluten itself does not add any nutritional value. Yet, food manufacturers typically use it in everything from bread to salad dressings because it adds a shot of flavor and cheaply boosts the volume of the product. In many ways, it functions similarly to other food additives, like high fructose corn syrup or processed fibers that provide flavor, bind water, and increase the weight of the product - but also diminish the nutritional value of the food. At the end of the day, adding gluten to foods to make them puffier and prettier is indicative of an industry that focuses on the bottom line, rather than wellbeing of consumers.

    This is one reason why gluten-free diets have gained a reputation for being healthy. Many gluten-free foods are not just devoid of gluten, but also many other unfortunate ingredients found in processed foods. For instance, as part our mission, we wanted every ingredient in our cookies and chocolates to be doing our customers good. Therefore, we nixed the preservatives and added sugars and went the extra mile of choosing gluten-free oats as another means of improving the overall nutritional value of our omega-3-rich cookies.

    Junky Ingredients in Gluten-Free Foods

    Various grains close up Read the ingredients list to determine the nutritional value of the flours used in gluten-free baked goods.

    As the gluten-free diet has become more popular, many food manufacturers have hopped on the gluten-free bandwagon. But that doesn’t mean they are necessarily concerned about the quality of ingredients they are using. Many gluten-free products are low in vitamins, minerals, or the right kinds of fibers and omega-3s. Often, the manufacturer will use highly refined flours and starches in place of certain whole grains that contain gluten. Even more egregious, some manufacturers add more sugar or fat to the product to replace the taste and fluff the gluten provided.

    A gluten-free diet with large amounts of pro-inflammatory vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners or loads of preservatives will not serve gluten sensitive consumers well. And for those without gluten sensitivities, poor quality gluten-free foods will simply exacerbate the health problems they were trying to solve in the first place.

    Measuring the Nutritional Value of Gluten-Free Foods

    At the end of the day - whether you are looking at gluten-free foods or otherwise - the take home message is the same. To know whether a product is good for you, you have to read the ingredients list. Minimally processed, nutrient-dense, wholesome foods are the answer to improving our diet - and they always will be.

    In going gluten-free, we haven’t compromised our products with added sugars or preservatives, nor have we skimped on taste. Our chocolate-covered Omega Heaven cookies were awarded the SupplySide Editors Choice Award for their delicious flavor, as well as their good omega-3 content. And our Omega Cookies - which contain 350 mg of calcium, 800 IUs of vitamin D and 2000 mg of omega-3 cod liver oil - are recommended by many health care professionals for their exceptional ingredients.

    We are proud that our products are not only gluten-free, but also help promote the long-term health and wellbeing of everyone.

    What gluten-free Omega Cookie contains

  • The Future of Omega Cure: Solving Omega-3 Challenges with a Glass Vial

    When Anne-Marie and I founded Omega3 Innovations, we knew that there were three crucial elements for experiencing maximal health benefits from omega-3.

    1. You need ultra-fresh fish oil that’s free of toxic rancidity by-products.
    2. You need a natural, un-modified fatty acid blend.
    3. You need an effective dose equivalent to eating a 5 oz. fillet of salmon or seven to 12 capsules of fish oil (30 capsules of krill oil) on a daily basis.

    To address those three points, we abandoned the idea of putting our fish oil in capsules. We knew most consumers would never want to swallow the handful of capsules needed to achieve results. Furthermore, the process of encapsulating fish oil oxidizes or destroys the fatty acids that provide the health benefits sought by consumers. Yet another reason to give up fish oil capsules!

    Omega Cure fresh liquid fish oilInstead, we focused on developing fresh Omega Cure® liquid fish oil, a product that has remained our most popular item to date. Over the years and through education, our customers have learned that fresh fish oil has no fishy taste and that taking a liquid supplement is not only economically attractive, but a pleasant experience.

    However, we encountered some new challenges with our Omega Cure glass bottle presentation.

    First and foremost, many people did not know how to accurately measure the daily dose necessary for reducing chronic inflammation (three teaspoons). Our solution was to supply customers with shot glasses and measuring cups. Unfortunately, in many cases, people misunderstood the instructions or forgot to take their daily dose.

    Another challenge with the glass bottle came from frequent travelers. Customers cited the difficulty they encountered when bringing Omega Cure aboard a plane in their carry-on bag or when they took a long driving trip and needed to keep their Omega Cure cold.

    Not wanting to deprive our frequent travelers of their Omega Cure benefits, we put our heads together in search of a new solution.

    This spring, we will introduce the solution: Omega Cure Extra Strength™ in a single serve pharmaceutical glass vial. Each vial will contain 3000 mg of EPA/DHA - a high enough dose to impact pain and chronic inflammation.

    Our new glass vials remove the guesswork and measuring from the omega-3 experience. In addition, the vials allow us to use our patent-pending blend with green tea to further reduce the risk of oxidation. Finally, the glass vials will be easy to pack for traveling.

    Although the dose is slightly lower than the 4000 mg EPA/DHA recommended for prescription omega-3 products such as Lovaza® or Amarin, each of our vials contain 12 times more omega-3 than a single fish oil capsule. We believe that the freshness and synergy with green tea will make Omega Cure Extra Strength the new superfood champion and an uncontested omega-3 leader.

    Stay tuned for more information about Omega Cure Extra Strength. If you have questions in the meantime, we're happy to answer them here.

    Omega Cure, Omega Cookie, Omega Passion

  • Rev Up Your New Year’s Resolutions with Fresh Fish Oil

    Every New Year, we make plans to get our health back on track, be it by losing weight, sleeping more, giving up fries, or starting yoga. But making permanent change isn’t easy. After a few weeks of sticking to the straight and narrow, it’s hard to resist falling back into comfortable old habits.

    Knowing resolutions are easier made than kept, some tricks can assist us in reaching our goals. You could try writing out your resolutions or breaking your goal into manageable chunks. But I am talking about a slightly unconventional resolution aid – namely, fresh omega-3 fish oil.

    So how can fresh fish oil help you with your New Year’s resolutions? Let’s look at how omega-3 makes a difference for three of the most commonly made promises: exercise more, lose weight and reduce stress.

    Improving Exercise Outcomes with Fish Oil

    Woman running Studies indicate that taking fish oil in conjunction with exercise seems to strengthen the muscles more than exercise alone.

    Most of us need to exercise more and we know it. We spend too much time in front of the computer or television at home, and too much time sitting at the office. Come the New Year and a new gym membership, we want to make sure we stick with our new routine. And that’s exactly where fish oil helps.

    There are several reasons omega-3 fish oil makes exercising easier. Taking fresh, full-spectrum omega-3 fish oil every day can provide pain relief equivalent to the effect achieved with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Naproxen or Ibuprofen. As Australian rheumatologists discussed in their article, “Fish oil: What Prescribers Need to Know,” most physicians and patients are unaware that taking one or two capsules of omega-3 fish oil does not provide enough EPA/DHA to make a difference. Readers should note that the body needs 2700 mg of EPA/DHA every day to achieve pain relief. On the plus side, fish oil does not produce any of the serious side effects seen with the long term use of NSAIDs (1). You can enjoy reduced muscle aches and improved recovery time after exercise, without worrying about the rest of your health being compromised.

    Besides delivering a natural pain relieving effect, omega-3 fish oil also impacts how muscle cells function. When researchers put omega-3 to the test in a training context, they find taking fish oil in conjunction with exercise seems to strengthen the muscles more than exercise alone (2).

    There are several studies exploring this phenomenon. To mention just one, a 2012 study from Brazil looked at how postmenopausal women responded to omega-3 in conjunction with their exercise regimen. Researchers found that the women who took omega-3 and exercised experienced increased muscle strength compared to women who exercised without added fish oil supplementation (3).

    This news should hopefully make all of us stay wedded to our exercise plans. What better way to feel motivated than to see the results of one’s hard work?

    Rethinking Weight Loss with Fish Oil and Fiber

    One of the most common and challenging New Year’s resolutions is the desire to lose weight. Amongst the plethora of diets, most people are unaware that adding two essential ingredients to meals - namely fish oil and steel cut oats – significantly improves weight management.

    At first, it might seem strange that fish oil, a pure fat, can function as part of an effective weight loss plan. But taking an adequate dose of fresh omega-3 fish oil makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight. The omega-3s in the fish oil act on the hunger hormones, helping signal the brain that the stomach is full. Furthermore, because fish oil also influences the stress hormones, it decreases the natural stress that comes with reducing daily calorie consumption (4).

    Men standing on scale Because fish oil influences the stress hormones, it can help decrease the natural stress that comes with reducing daily calorie consumption.

    Oat fiber also makes an enormous difference when it comes to weight loss. The longer food stays in the stomach before passing to the intestines, the less hungry we feel. Fortunately, soluble oat fiber has staying power. It binds with the liquids in the stomach to create a thick gel that slows stomach muscle contractions - therefore making it an ideal weight management tool (5).

    In addition, oat fiber also plays a probiotic role in the large intestine. The gut flora, which seem to influence a person’s appetite and metabolism, changes depending on the food we consume. Diets high in processed carbohydrates and sugar promote unhealthy gut flora, while the good gut flora flourishes on oat fiber (6). Healthy gut flora in turn helps promote healthy weight control.

    Improving Overall Mood with Fresh Fish Oil

    For the New Year, many of us wish we could feel less stressed on a day to day basis - maybe have time to stop and smell the roses and feel grateful for the little things. Fish oil doesn’t make day-to-day problems go away. However, many studies indicate that full-spectrum omega-3 helps reduce stress and provides therapeutic benefits for people suffering from mood disorders.

    One theory behind the positive power of omega-3 fish oil is that it influences neurotransmitters, like serotonin, or the “happiness hormone” (7). In addition, people with depressive and anxiety disorders commonly have low levels of omega-3 in their blood (8). That deficiency might explain why people with depression experience mood-lifting benefits when they restore the proper balance of fatty acids in their body.

    All of these benefits, of course, come with one caveat: To be effective, omega-3 fish oil needs to be fresh (non-rancid), consumed daily and taken in an adequate dose. That means one or two capsules here or there won’t cut it. You would need to consume nine or more regular fish oil capsules to match the same dose used in the studies showing that omega-3 has a pain relieving effect.

    Omega Cure fresh liquid fish oilStill, taking fish oil daily does not need to be painful. You can enjoy an effective dosage of omega-3 as a breakfast cookie or as taste-free oil added to juices, smoothies and yogurts. So say cheers to a fresh New Year and best of luck with your resolutions!

    References:

    1. Cleland et al. “Fish Oil: What the Prescriber Needs to Know.” Arthritis Research & Therapy, 8 (2006) : 202.

    2. Martinsen, Bo and Chalmers, Anne-Marie. “Improve Your Workout with Omega-3 Fish Oil.” Omega3 Innovations. February 25, 2012.

    3. Rodacki et al. “Fish-oil Supplementation Enhances the Effects of Strength Training in Elderly Women.” PubMed, January 4, 2012.

    4. Parra et al. “A Diet Rich in Long Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids Modulates Satiety in Overweight and Obese Volunteers During Weight Loss.” PubMed, June 14, 2008.

    5. Hall, McKenzie. “Fiber Facts About Cereal.” Today’s Dietitian, 14, 12 : 30.

    6. Khoury et al. “Beta Glucan: Health Benefits in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome.” Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, (2012).

    7.  Hamazaki et al. “Fish Oils and Aggression or Hostility.” PubMed, March 4, 2008.

    8. Parker et al. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Mood Disorders.” The American Journal of Psychiatry, 10 (2006) : 163.

  • Three Healthy Gift Solutions for the Holidays

    I have to confess, the thought of Christmas has at times made me feel exhausted and stressed. Especially when I had school-aged children, it seemed that everywhere I turned, I would find a teacher, a coach, colleagues, newspaper boys, and babysitters who needed a gift. Then, I had to think about the holiday cards that never got in the mail before the middle of January. And of course, extra music rehearsals, concerts, and dinner parties all added to the stress.

    With age and hopefully more wisdom, I’ve tried to focus on giving less stuff and enjoying the holiday season as a time for friends and family. But when I do give gifts to my loved ones, I try to simplify by getting them something easily consumable and good for them.

    Wholesome, easy to use, and beneficial - those values influence the creation of every Omega3 Innovations product, making them excellent gifts for loved ones. For those of you who enjoy the products yourself but haven’t given them as gifts before, consider putting some of these treats on your shopping list.

    A Healthy Treat for the Diabetic Grandmother or Grandfather

    An Omega Heaven chocolate-covered omega-3 cookieThe Struggle: When the holiday season rolls around, grandparents have to be some of the trickiest people for whom to find gifts. Grandparents have been collecting things for a lifetime, and most are more keen on giving away their possessions than accumulating new goods. If the grandparent struggles with diabetes, regular holiday sweets are off limits. And regular health issues - coupled with accompanying weight fluctuations - makes buying clothes a struggle.

    Gift Suggestion: A bag of Omega Heaven chocolate-covered cookies, containing gluten-free steel cut oats, non-alkalized dark chocolate and fresh, full-spectrum omega-3 fish oil.

    Why It Works: In contrast to regular holiday sweets, the Omega Heaven satisfies the sweet-tooth and provides a safe treat for those with diabetes. Made with gluten-free steel cut oats, the Omega Heaven provides four grams of soluble oat fiber that helps prevent blood sugar levels from spiking. In addition, the dark chocolate coating helps stimulates blood flow in the brain. And since each Omega Heaven contains 1000 mg of EPA/DHA from fish oil, the chocolate-covered cookie can replace a few of your grandparents’ capsules/pills. All in all, the Omega Heaven is a great hit with the older generation.

    Breakfast-on-the-Go for the Man in Your Life

    Close up of gluten-free Omega Cookies, cranberryThe Struggle: You love him and no one knows him better than you. Even so, finding a good gift can be tough. Maybe it sounds cliche, but at least in my experience, men never think they need or want anything. Or, if they do come clean with a wishlist, the electronic toys, cars, and boats are a pricey investment.

    Gift Suggestion: One box of Omega Cookies. Each Omega Cookie contains 2000 mg of EPA/DHA, vitamin D3, calcium, and five grams of gluten-free oat soluble fiber.

    Why It Works: Individually wrapped for grab-and-go convenience, the Omega Cookie provides an easy breakfast meal for the man on the run. Better yet, since each cookie provides as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal, it will keep him more satiated than donuts or cereal. In addition, the full dose of omega-3 fish oil found in each Omega Cookie helps improve recovery time and relieves joint pains for the workout-minded man. Clocking in at just under $2.00 per cookie, the Omega Cookie is an affordable daily luxury - and you can feel at peace knowing this is one that will do him good.

    A New Spin on Chocolate for the Host and Hostess

    Omega Passion chocolate trufflesThe Struggle: Bottles of wine, bouquets of flowers, and boxes of chocolates are lovely, timeless presents for the hosts and hostesses of your holiday parties. But once in a while, it feels good to break the mold and get creative with your party present.

    Gift Suggestion: A tin of Omega Passion chocolates. Each frozen chocolate truffle contains 300 mg of EPA/DHA, gluten-free oat fiber, and non-alkalized dark chocolate.

    Why It Works: At first glance, the Omega Passion chocolate truffle appears to be a traditional gift. But when your host or hostess look closer at the ingredients list, they’ll appreciate your good taste. Made with a rich, 60-percent Italian dark chocolate, the non-alkalized coating and ganache has been gently processed so that they provide a higher dose of antioxidants than regular dark chocolate. Plus, the oat fiber found in each 49-calorie truffle provides a satisfying treat that will stop the cravings. Finally, since each truffle provides as much omega-3 as one regular fish oil capsule, they make fun, delicious alternative to get enough omega-3.

    Best of wishes for a very happy and relaxing holidays!

  • Could Multivitamins be a Threat to Your Health?

    Some time ago, I received a letter from an old patient of mine.

    He asked, “Is it true what research reports from Denmark are saying ? Does taking particular vitamins increase the risk of disease and dying?”

    The Vitamin B Paradox

    The letter brought back memories from many years ago when I was investigating the effects of taking vitamin B supplements. In the 1990s, scientists and cardiologists stated that if a person had increased homocysteine levels in the blood, the patient would be carrying a significant risk factor for heart disease. At the time, physicians recommended taking a high dose of vitamin B, which would lower the homocysteine level dramatically and theoretically solve the problem.

    But a few years later, the University of Tromsø and the University of Colorado both published well documented studies stating that consuming vitamin B supplements could actually increase the risk of heart disease, even though vitamin B improved homocysteine levels.

    I was puzzled. However, when I considered the issue, I realized that the vitamin B paradox could be seen in the same light as another vitamin’s supplement story - namely vitamin E.

    Lessons from Vitamin E Research

    Originally, it looked like vitamin E would be a very beneficial supplement for treating heart disease. But then came new reports stating the opposite and a suggestion about why:

    Vitamin E is a family of eight different members. When the supplement industry started to push the vitamin, manufacturers only used the most common alpha member and left the other ones alone. Subsequent analysis showed that this super-supplementation of the alpha version created a depletion of the less prevalent, but still important vitamin E members.

    Given that the human body is programed to run using a full array of nutrients, it makes sense that lopsided supplementation of just one substance would not have the same positive effects as consuming balanced nutrition.

    It is interesting to note that the most simple vitamin - vitamin C - seems to escape the criticism. Can it be because vitamin C doesn’t have a number of family members, and therefore we don’t create new imbalances by taking it?

    The Importance of Balanced Supplementation

    Salmon and salad dishThe study from Copenhagen, which alarmed my old patient, did not prove consuming vitamin E and A was harmful. But its findings underlines one thing that every nutritionist agrees upon: eating fresh fruits and vegetables is better than taking artificial multivitamin pills.

    Coming back to omega-3, new research suggests that fish oil supplements are not as effective as previously thought - directly contradicting earlier findings. Could the problem lie in the manufacturing of many omega-3 supplements?

    Looking at some of the most common fish oil manufacturing techniques, I would not be surprised.

    In the process of putting fish oil into capsules, the beneficial healthy balance of omega-3s in the fish is changed both by the relative proportions and chemical structure. If the manufacturer does not take care to preserve the freshness of the oil, the oil cleaning and encapsulation process creates new byproducts. And if the oil is skimmed - as almost all omega-3 fish oils are - the oil loses important nutrients. In most cases, we end up with something that is far removed from the original chemistry of the fish. Moreover, the deviation from Mother Nature’s recipe seems to get worse the more the industry tries to handle the fish oil by pumping up the concentration of just one fatty acid.

    Sadly, eating fish regularly (and in the dose necessary to get enough omega-3) can cause problems because most fish contain some degree of heavy metals and pollutants. Because omega-3 fish oil is filtered for all toxins and heavy metals, consuming a fish oil supplement daily might ultimately be more beneficial than eating the food source from which it comes - but that is only if the fish oil maintains the integrity of the natural fatty acid balance.

    This is the reason we produce a fish oil that completely mirrors the fat composition of the fish. We believe that Omega Cure’s unique freshness and full-spectrum fatty acid composition provide the basis for its extraordinary potency - and explains why so many of our customers see dramatic results.

    Back to the multivitamin discussion, we hope that future studies will take into consideration how manufacturing techniques might influence the ultimate benefits delivered by the supplement at hand.

    References:

    Hildebrandt, Sybille. “Confirmed: Vitamin Pills Can Cause Death.Science Nordic. March 24, 2012.

    Dolara P, Bigagli E, Collins A. “Antioxidant Vitamins and Mineral Supplementation, Life Span Expansion and Cancer Incidence.” PubMed. June 9, 2012.

    Bønaa KH, Njølstad I, Ueland PM. “Homocysteine lowering and cardiovascular events after acute myocardial infarction.” PubMed. March 12, 2006.

    Lange H, Suryapranata H, De Luca G. “Folate Therapy and In-Stent Restenosis After Coronary Stenting.” PubMed. June 24, 2004.

    Omega Cure, Omega Cookie, Omega Passion

  • Smart Lunchbox Swaps to Get More Omega-3 in Your Child's Diet

    When I was a young, full-time working mother, it was a never-ending battle finding wholesome, nutritious food to put in my children’s lunch boxes. When I did manage to put a Martha Stewart-like loving touch to their sandwiches, my children would either throw them away or bring them back, half eaten. Then they'd ask the same question: “Why can’t I get cookies and chips like the other kids?”

    Between fighting busy schedules, cafeteria vending machines and my children's desire for junkfood, it was difficult to ensure that my son and daughter ate fresh, full-spectrum foods during school hours. However, there was one family of brain boosting fats that I wanted to make sure my children didn't miss - and that was omega-3.

    The Benefits of Omega-3 for Children

    School boy having a bright idea Numerous studies have found that omega-3 can have an impact on children’s learning abilities.

    Omega-3s not only improve children’s focus, attention, calmness and social skills, but they also aid brain development. Numerous studies have found that omega-3 can have a profound impact on children’s learning abilities. For example, one recent study by the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine looked at how developing male children responded to DHA, the principle fatty acid of mammalian brain gray matter. The study showed that subjects who consumed less DHA had slower reaction times and exhibited lower levels of concentration compared with subjects who consumed more DHA. Another study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh determined that consuming more omega-3 could improve a young adult’s working memory.

    While DHA is important, keep in mind the entire family of omega-3 fats is critical for the human body. Much of the newer brain research seems to indicate other omega-3s and nutrient-co-factors, besides DHA or EPA, are essential for protecting our brains. To get the full range of all of these good fats, children need a healthy diet of fatty fish, breast milk or fresh, full-spectrum cod liver oil.

    Finding the Right Omega-3 Serving

    Food preferences may be one reason why most American children are chronically deficient in omega-3s. However, the difference in the American recommended dosage as compared to other countries may also be partly to blame. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average consumption of omega-3 EPA/DHA for children 4 to 8 years old is only 50 mg per day, about half of the FDA recommended intake levels. This recommendation is dramatically less than that of other countries, like Norway, where the government wants children to receive 1000 mg EPA/DHA per day starting at the age of one. A serving of 1000 mg EPA/DHA translates to the dosage contained in about three to five regular fish oil capsules. The disparity suggests that a government’s recommended dosage is not necessarily based on scientific evidence, but instead is related to an intake that is realistic or feasible within the culture.

    Fish oil capsules Consider the dose: You would need to consume 3-5 regular fish oil capsules to get a serving of 1000 mg EPA/DHA.

    Finding a daily omega-3 serving for children depends on their overall health, regular fish intake, size and genetics. You can typically base the dose on the following guidelines: If your child is younger than 10 or small for his or her age, then 1,000 mg should be sufficient. For your “tweens” and teens, you might want to increase the dosage up to 2,000 mg per day.

    Consuming less than this dosage of omega-3 can be detrimental to your child’s health and intellect. Allergies, eczema, constipation, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and other learning disabilities are just some of the ailments that have been linked to a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids.

    Now that you know how important it is for your child to receive enough omega-3, you may wonder whether there’s a limit on the amount of omega-3 children should consume. This will of course depend on their age and weight. For adults, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that consuming up to 5000 mg (17 regular fish oil capsules) of EPA/DHA per day is safe.

    Omega-3 in the Lunchbox

    You can help boost your child’s brain power and make sure he or she gets the proper dose of omega-3 by swapping out traditional lunchbox items for ones that are rich in the nutrient. Here are some ideas on how to prepare an omega-packed lunchbox:

    • Cookie Substitutes: Instead of packing a regular chocolate chip cookie or Fruit Roll-Up, throw in an Omega Cookie®. Each cookie is full of essential nutrients like vitamin D3, calcium, gluten-free oat fiber and, of course, omega-3 fatty acids (in fact, seven regular fish oil capsules worth of omega-3). Equally important, there are no processed ingredients such as trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and preservatives, and each cookie contains less sugar than an apple!
    • A Healthy Take on the Candy Bar: Swap out a traditional chocolate candy bar for a chocolate-coated Omega Heaven™. This cookie is made of gluten-free steel cut oats, fresh, full-spectrum omega-3 fish oil and enrobed in non-alkalized dark chocolate. The powerful trio of healthy ingredients works in harmony, providing a delicious dessert that will delight the taste buds of even the pickiest eater.

    An Omega Heaven chocolate-covered omega-3 cookieOne thing to keep in mind when you’re working with omega-3 fish oil - it is important that the lunch is packed so that the fish-oil products stay as cold and fresh as possible. Also, be sure to pack a big drink. While it’s important for children to drink enough fluids anyway, Omega Cookies and Omega Heaven contain a hefty dose of soluble oat fiber. Extra liquid is important to keep the intestinal tract functioning properly.

    While I wish I had known about these smart swaps years ago, I hope that other nutrition-conscious parents can benefit from these suggestions today. By creating convenient, nutritious lunches that should satisfy even the pickiest eater, I believe we can boost our children's brain and overall health.

    So let's try the lunchbox challenge. Over the course of a few weeks, see if you notice a change in your children’s focus and attention as they eat more fresh, full-spectrum foods during the school day.

  • Nutritional Solutions to Postpartum Depression

    If it is possible to look for a silver lining to Miriam Carey’s tragic death, it is that her condition is bringing much-needed attention to an important women’s health issue. With news surfacing that the young mother suffered from postpartum depression, journalists and health care professionals are now citing that as many as 9 to 19 percent of mothers experience postpartum depression (1).

    The statistic begs the question: What can we do for young mothers struggling with their mental health?

    Mothers Need Omega-3

    Although the reasons why women develop postpartum depression are complex, we do know diet plays a role in relieving the mental anguish associated with this type of depression. Insufficient omega-3 fatty acid reserves during pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk. In fact, a recent study from Bergen concluded that mothers with the lowest omega-3 index had a 19 percent higher risk of developing depression (2).

    As the brain and mood-protecting benefits of omega-3 have been well-documented, it is crucial for mothers to make sure they have an additional intake of these good fatty acids before and after delivering a baby. During the last trimester especially, the fetus sucks the important fatty acids from the mother’s body, putting the mother at risk of being omega-3 deficient. This can leave her in a brain fog if she doesn’t replenish these fatty acids essential to the transmission of signals between brain cells.

    Woman playing with baby Low omega-3 fatty acid reserves during pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of depression.

    Although omega-3 is vital for the health of both mother and child, researchers conclude that women typically have a low omega-3 intake during their childbearing years (3). In addition, most of the prenatal supplements contain only one of the important omega-3 fatty acids -  the long-chained DHA. While DHA is a good start, several other nutrients found in full-spectrum cod liver oil have also been recorded as important for good brain activity.

    Omega-3 is not just one molecule, but a family of several important fatty acids, including ALA, EPA, DPA and DHA. DHA has been singled out for improving brain functioning. However, newer research suggests that other important co-nutrients are also crucial for wellbeing. Those co-nutrients only exist in full-spectrum fish oil products, or fatty fish.

    How to Increase Omega-3 Intake During Pregnancy

    There are two easy ways to improve omega-3 intake: eat more fish or take supplements. Young mothers should gravitate towards eating smaller fatty fish, like herring, sardines or small mackerel. These fish have lower amounts of mercury and other toxins than the bigger tuna and salmon.

    If you are going the supplement route, it is also important to get a fish oil that is fresh (not rancid) and contains a full range of all the omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrient co-factors. Using a synergistic, full-spectrum, and purified oil like Omega Cure ensures that all the body’s omega-3 needs are being met.

    Finally, almost as important as getting enough omega-3 is to reduce the consumption of poor and damaging fats found in many of our fried and process foods. These bad fats counteract the omega-3, requiring you to consume more omega-3 in order to benefit.

    It is easy to imagine that a sleep-deprived, depressed new mom can act out in ways that bring both her and her child in harms way. We hope that more guidance, education, and support can help prevent future family tragedies.

    References:

    1. Weise, Elizabeth. "What is postpartum depression?" USA Today. October 4, 2013.

    2. Markhus et al. "Low omega-3 index in pregnancy is a possible biological risk factor for postpartum depression." National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, Bergen, Norway. PubMed. July 3, 2013.

    3. Shapiro et al. "Emerging risk factors for postpartum depression: serotonin transporter genotype and omega-3 fatty acid status." Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Université de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. PubMed. November 2012.

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