Vitamin Junkeys

The Benefits of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids Ep 52


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Why do I need to take Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids
Vitamin Junkeys Episode #52 (running time 9:14)
Date: December 8, 2009
Podsafe Music: Ice Cream by Christopher Dale Courtesy of MeVIO Music Alley
Show hosts: Jennifer Lyall & Dr. Jean Jacques (Dr. JJ) Dugoua, ND HBSc PhD (Cand.)

This episode examines:

What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

Why do our bodies need Omega 3's?

What is EPA and DHA?

How much Omega 3's do we need each day?

What can vegetarians take to get their daily dose of Omega 3's?

How do I know if I'm deficient in Omega 3's?

Which fish should we avoid eating?


What's Dr. JJ taking today?

Dr. JJ is taking fish oil - the best form of Omega 3, essential fatty acid (EFA).  It can be purchased as a capsule or an oil.  The liquid version of the oil is not like the Cod Liver Oil from the old days, it is usually flavoured with lemon or orange to make it more palatable.

One of the biggest "issues" with taking fishoil is that sometimes it "repeats" and you may burp it up.  The trick to avoid this is to take your fish oils before eating.

What are the benefits of taking Omega 3's?  What does it do in our bodies?

Omega 3's are necessary for the functioning of many parts of our body including our brains and cell walls.  Omega 3's are a natural anti-inflammatory, they have anti-cancer properties, the fish oil form of Omega 3's are a blood thinner and help to lower blood pressure.

Omega 3's are essential for a lot of physiological processes in our body.

What is EPA and DHA?

EPA - Eicosapentaenoic Acid helps the heart

DHA - Docosahexaenoic Acid helps the central nervous system and brain


How much Omega 3's do we need each day?

Dr. JJ recommends that his patients take a fish oil that contains both DHA and EPA, because our bodies need both.  For those with heart-related illnesses, they should choose a formula with a higher EPA content.  Those who want to support the brain and central nervous system should take an Omega 3 with a higher ratio of DHA.

The product that Dr. JJ recommends contains 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA to his patients including pregnant women, and those with conditions like arthritis, memory problems, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, and high cholesterol.


What are some vegetarian options for taking Omega 3's?

Vegetarian forms of Omega 3s include:


  • flax seed
  • fortified foods (e.g. eggs, soy milk)
  • hemp seed


The problem with Flax is that flax oil does not convert as well into EPA and DHA.  The mechanism that does this in the body is not very energy efficient and they aren't really sure of how well it converts i.e. how much DHA and EPA you will "get" by taking flax oil.

Flax is also slightly estrogenic, so women with hormonal issues should be careful taking flaxseed oil.

It is important for flax seed to be ground, since the oil is contained inside the seed.  If it is not ground, then the seed will just past through the digestive system.  Dr. JJ recommends that his patients take whole flax seeds and grind them fresh in a coffee grinder to ensure that the oil doesnt' go rancid.  

What happens if you are deficient in Omega 3s?

If you are deficient in Omega 3's you tend to have dry skin, more joint pain, and more inflammation.


What fish should we avoid eating?

When choosing fish, try to avoid predator fish, because they tend to be higher in mercury.  The fish to avoid are:


  • shark
  • king fish
  • sword fish
  • tile fish
  • albacore tuna
  • yellowfin tuna


There was an interesting study on PCB's in salmon where they found that if you cooked the fish without the skin and without the brown outside layer of flesh/fat, that you eliminate a lot of the PCB's.

If you would like to find an alternative healthcare practitioner to help you address a health issue, you can find a naturopath, holistic nutritionist and other practitioners in your community through the Find a Practitioner link on our website

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Camera: Jerome Marrin,  Jerome Marrin Media Production 
Editor: Jerome Marrin,  Jerome Marrin Media Production
Sound Recordist: Jeffery Magat, Eqtion 


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Join Jennifer Lyall and Naturopath, Dr. JJ Dugoua as they have fun exploring alternative therapies and healthy living. Weekly episodes are released every Tuesday.

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