Omega 3 fatty acids may help prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease!

From the Economist:

“A Celebration of DHA” in London this week… was a scientific meeting… at the Royal Society of Medicine to discuss the many virtues of docosahexaenoic acid, the most important of that fashionable class of dietary chemicals, the omega-3 fatty acids.

DHA is a component of brains… and its displacement from modern diets by the omega-6 acids in cooking oils such as soya, maize and rape is a cause of worry. Many researchers think this shift—and the change in brain chemistry that it causes—explains the growth in recent times of depression, manic-depression, memory loss, schizophrenia and attention-deficit disorder. It may also be responsible for rising levels of obesity and thus the heart disease which often accompanies being overweight….

…In this experiment he fed rats diets that were identical except that in one case 8% of the calories came from linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) while in the other that value was 1%. These percentages reflect the shift in the proportion of omega-6s in the American diet between 1909 and the early 21st century.

In the 8% diet, levels of rat obesity doubled. It turns out that in rats (and also in humans) linoleic acid is converted into molecules called endocannabinoids that trigger appetite. Those who eat omega-6s, in other words, want to eat more food. And since, in the human case, omega-6-rich food is much cheaper than omega-3-rich food, that is what they are likely to consume.

I like my fishy fish – salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines…  But if you don’t, consider taking a fish oil supplement.  One concern is the mercury content of fatty fish, so research your sources.  I take Nordic Naturals every day, 2 capsules, in addition to eating my fish.

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

Comments are closed