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Omega Three Institute of Food Pharmacy
w–3 Fatty Acids and health in the new millennium
Every life form requires food, air and water for sustenance of life. These, alongwith interactions with the genes they possess, are converted to nutrients in the body. Man has evolved with certain limitations in his synthetic abilities, because of which as many as 48 readymade ingredients, comprising 10 amino acids, 16 vitamins, 20 trace elements, and two fatty acids are required to be consumed in his diet. These are regarded as “Essential” as we have no ability to synthesize them. Vitamins and trace elements are micro–nutrients required in microgram and milligram quantities. Recent research has shown that drastic changes in the lifestyle and food habits in the last century have particularly lowered the w–3 fatty acid levels in the human body with dire consequences to human health.
Both omega six (w–6) and omega three (w–3) fatty acids have been identified as essential fatty acids (EFAs). Recently, it has become clear that the w–6 EFA is much more widely distributed and is adequately consumed by populations all over the world in their diet through a wide range of foods. However, the intake of w–3 EFAs has been decreasing rapidly for the last 100 years due to production of foods that are deficient in w–3 EFAs as well as changes in dietary practice. This, combined with dramatic changes in lifestyle that result in an increased destruction of w–3 EFAs in the body, have led to a significant selective reduction of w–3 EFAs in the body.
Now, w–3 EFAs are found to be essential for good health from conception to death. Their loss or deficiency may contribute to fertility problems, pregnancy related complications, developmental disorders (e.g. mental retardation, diabetes and child behavioral disorders), and non–communicable adult disorders (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications, hypercholesterimia, triglycerides, Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease), certain cancers and aging.
w–3 EFA deficiency can be corrected by improved food production, dietary supplementation, and by reducing their destruction by toxic free radicals in the body and the environment with the use of dietary antioxidants, e.g. vitamins E, C and b–carotene in fruits and vegetables. Such correction in the early stages of development may prevent many of the later diseases and improve the quality of life. This will guarantee healthy and long living civilizations.
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