Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. and Alzheimers ranks fifth. Not to mention the diminishing quality of life that often occurs in the years leading up to the end. We always advocate using food as medicine, however, not everyone has eating habits that are up to par for delivering the adequate daily nutrition their body needs. If you are one of the billions of Americans deficient in Vitamin D and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, you need to keep reading. According to a study done by Harvard University and the CDC in 2006, Omega-3 deficiency is the 6th leading cause of disease in the U.S. and over 96,000 deaths per year are attributed to Omega-3 deficiency and approximately 98% of Americans are low in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
The human body can produce most of the types of fats that it needs from other fats or raw materials, however, Omega-3's are Essential Fatty Acids, meaning they cannot be made by the body, the body must get them from food or a high quality supplement. Foods that are high in Omega-3's are fish, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flax seed oil, and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin D, on the other hand, can be made in the body by exposure to sunlight, however, due to our primarily indoor lifestyle and the widespread use of sunscreen that blocks the UVB rays we need to make Vitamin D, millions of Americans are highly deficient in this extremely important vitamin.
A study was done in the 1980's on the Eskimos of Greenland. The study revealed that members of this population compared to their western European counterparts, experienced lower incidences of Inflammation, Heart issues, and Autoimmune Diseases like: Type 1 Diabetes, Asthma, Multiple Sclerosis, and Psoriasis. Subsequent observational studies attributed their better health to their high intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which modulate inflammatory pathways, thereby reducing chronic inflammatory diseases. After this connection was made, more than 4,500 studies have been published in about a 25 year period.
Even though this article is mainly about the brain and cardiovascular benefits of Omega-3 and Vitamin D, there are also major benefits to survival rates of female Breast Cancer patients. A Study was done in Long Island, NY of women with Breast Cancer that examined their dietary habits and mortality. Analysis revealed that survival was improved in those women with Breast Cancer who ate more foods high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Fish intake was associated with a 25% to 35% reduction in all-cause mortality. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26452606
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids- Symptoms of Deficiency-
Lowers Inflammation Joint Pain
Reduces Cardiac Disease and Death Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder
Reduces Risk of Stroke Lack of focus and concentration
Regulates Cholesterol Levels Dry, itchy, flaky skin, brittle nails
Decreases Severity of AutoImmune Disorders Dry Eyes
Improved Cognitive Function Fatigue or low energy
Lowers Blood Pressure Trouble Sleeping
Reduces Joint Pain High LDL and low HDL Cholesterol
Benefits of Vitamin D- Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency-
Supports Healthy Bones Getting sick or infections often
Reduces Cancer Risk Fatigue or tiredness
Reduces Alzheimer's Risk Bone and back pain
Decreases Cardiovascular Disease Depression
Protects Against Diabetes Impaired wound healing
Boosts Immunity Bone loss
Reduces Rheumatoid Arthritis Hair loss
Combats Depression Muscle pain
So how much Vitamin D should you consume daily to get up to healthy levels? That depends on your most recent blood work. That's the only true way to know if you're deficient, however, if you are dealing with two or more of the signs or symptoms listed above, you most likely have a deficiency. If you are severely deficient (blood test level of <30 ng/ml) you will need to supplement with 10,000 IU's per day for the first 30 days and then you can back your levels down to 1,000 IU's per day. We believe in front loading the body with therapeutic dosing in this case, due to the detrimental effects of low D levels. Please be aware that it is possible to have Vitamin D toxicity if you take too much for too long. The levels can buildup in your blood and cause hypercalcemia (too much calcium) which can cause nausea, vomiting, weakness, excessive thirst and frequent urination. However, we believe the parameters are set too low for optimal health on blood test ranges. Optimal levels of Vitamin D are between 70 to 100 ng/ml, low levels are below 50, and severely low is below 30. Conventional blood tests will show that levels of 20 to 50 ng/ml are adequate. Not even close!! This is one of the major problems with blood test ranges, they are not set to what is optimal or healthy, they are set to what's just "not sick". There is a BIG difference!
How much Omega-3 should you take per day?
If you want to get it through your diet, you should consume at least 2 to 3 portions of oily fish per week (about 8-12 grams), the best sources are salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna. The best vegetarian sources include tofu, walnuts, flax seeds and flax seed oil, green leafy veggies, and eggs. If you are not one to consume that amount of Omegas through your diet every week, you really need to supplement. For every 100 pounds of body weight, you need approximately 2 grams or 2,000 mg per day. Children under the age of 13 also need approximately 2 grams per day as their diet is usually more deficient and their brains are still developing. If you have a child that has trouble with focus or hyperactivity and has trouble sleeping, you will probably notice a major improvement by supplementing them daily with Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Overall, we feel that Omega-3 and Vitamin D deficiency is all too often overlooked or the dire importance is not stressed nearly enough. We have even been guilty of that at times in our office, which is a big reason for this article. In the busyness of the day, sometimes we forget to stress how vitally important these two nutrients are in your daily diet. You can purchase our Omega-3D II by visiting our Supplement Shop. It's especially important if your blood tests have shown your levels to be low. If you are unsure, go by the symptoms listed in this article.
Please note that it's very important to make sure you invest in a good quality Omega-3 Supplement due to the incidence of contamination due to oxidation, PCB's, mercury and environmental toxins such as dioxins. Nutritional Frontiers products undergo rigorous, independent, 3rd party testing to guarantee purity and their products exceed industry quality standards. Their Omega 3D II is a high potency fish oil combined with Vitamin D. Two softgels contain 2,600 mg or 2.6 grams of Omega 3 Marine Oil combining fish and calamari, along with 1,000 IU's of Vitamin D.
Boost your brain and heart health today. It's never too late to invest in your greatest asset, your health!!