To Your Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Supplement? Diet? Both?

To Your Health: Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Supplement? Diet? Both?

Part-time Telluride local, Dr. Alan Safdi, is a world-renowned internist and gastroenterologist with encyclopedic knowledge of mind-body wellness and preventative medicine. He posts regularly on Telluride Inside… and Out under the banner of “To Your Health.” Dr. Alan’s blogs feature the most current information in his fields: health, wellness and longevity.

Links to Dr. Alan’s other podcasts and narratives on COVID-19 and more are here.

This week, Dr. Alan answers the question: Should I be taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements and/or incorporate more omega 3 in my diet? His podcast on the subject is here.

For more information about omega 3, read on.

Fish oil supplements—an especially rich source of omega-3 fatty acids—are the most frequently taken non-vitamin/non-mineral product by adults and children in the United States, according to the NIH. Nearly 19 million adults and 664,000 children have taken them during the previous 30 days, based on a study cited by the Institute. These supplements come in various forms, including fish oil, fish liver oil, krill oil, algal oils, and flaxseed oil.

Many nutrients and phytonutrients are capable of significantly modulating immune function and reducing inflammation, according to multiple biomarkers in clinical trials in different populations of adults with varying health statuses. Omega-3 fatty acids — present in foods such as oily fish and some seeds and oils — are known to be essential for good health. They are important for skin, hair, and brain function and may help relieve joint pain and stiffness in older adults. An adequate intake of omega-3 may also ease depression and reduce the risk of developing cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Higher omega-3 levels have been linked to lower inflammation and slower cellular aging, but it was unclear in the study whether omega-3 supplementation would alter the stress reactivity of biomarkers that are important to the cellular aging process. A recent randomized, controlled trial, looked at the impact of four months of omega-3 supplementation on peoples’ blood levels of certain inflammatory markers, cortisol and telomerase, the enzyme that rebuilds the ends of chromosomes to ensure healthy cell division. The findings indicated that omega-3 supplementation can promote healthy aging at the cellular level.

Dr. Alan Safdi:

Dr. Alan Safdi is board-certified in Internal Medicine and in Gastroenterology and is a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology. A proven leader in the healthcare arena, he has been featured on the national program, “Medical Crossfire” and authored or co-authored numerous medical articles and abstracts.

Safdi, a long-time Telluride local, has been involved in grant-based and clinical research for four decades. He is passionate about disease prevention and wellness, not just fixing what has gone wrong.

Dr. Alan is an international lecturer on the subjects of wellness, nutrition and gastroenterology.

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