The discussion about fat really ought to center around types of fat, not the fat around your center. Understanding the differences between dietary fats may make a big difference in supporting your own brain, heart, and whole body health. Let’s deconstruct a few mysteries about fat, because there are, in fact, some very good and needed fats.*
Yes, there are some not-so-helpful fats. Saturated fats and trans fats are to be limited or avoided. They can cause challenges for heart health and even day-to-day energy levels. Saturated fats are derived from natural sources like butter, cream, red meat, egg yolks, and dairy foods. Trans fats are manmade. They’re labeled as “partially hydrogenated” oils, and they’re found in vegetable shortening, margarine, and almost all processed foods.
Now, for the good fats: They are called unsaturated fats (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat), and they are actually vital for supporting healthy brain function and whole-body health. They contain essential fatty acids (EFAs) – both omega-3 and omega-6 called omega-3 fatty acids. EFAs are called “essential” because the body requires them and cannot manufacture them on its own. We have to get EFAs from food or supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are the precious gems of the good fats.*
Research indicates that Omega-3 helps maintain healthy cognitive function, and even promotes balanced mood.1 It turns out Omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a main component of the brain’s synapses2, while Omega-3 EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) promotes blood flow 3, which supports overall brain function. After all, the solid weight of the brain is 60 percent fat, so getting healthy fats from Omega-3 sources is critical for supporting a healthy brain.*
Consuming enough Omega-3 also promotes cardiovascular health and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range.4, 5 Omega-3 also supports joint comfort and healthy flexibility. You may have known those benefits, but did you know Omega-3 is vital for supporting dermal health, and it can even promote healthy hormonal balance for women? These broad benefits come from the fact that every cell in the human body relies on Omega-3 for ongoing healthy function. It’s a critical component of all cell membranes.*
While you can get Omega-3 from eating fish, and plant-based sources like chia seed, a superior source of Omega-3 fatty acids is krill oil. Additionally, krill oil does not contain the risks of high mercury levels that fish oil does.
Krill oil is a unique source of Omega-3 EFA extracted from Antarctic krill. Krill are rich in the Omega-3 oils EPA and DHA, as well as phospholipids and the antioxidant astaxanthin. The EPA and DHA in krill oil are incorporated into phospholipid molecules closely resembling that of brain phospholipids and the phospholipids that make up the membrane of every cell in your body. This makes krill oil more absorbable and bioavailable (more readily available for the body to use), as these essential fatty acids go through a different process in the body before becoming cell membrane-ready phospholipids.*
Krill oil’s phospholipid form is both fat-soluble and water-soluble. In contrast, the DHA and EPA in fish oil are bonded to triglycerides, which are fat-soluble only. That means krill oil is more efficiently digested and won’t cause the fishy burps and aftertaste associated with fish oil.
Dr. Rudi Moerck, a drug industry insider and expert on Omega-3 fats said, “Nothing else that has come along in the last 10 years, and nothing that I know of in the entire nutraceutical business, is as good for human health as krill oil.”
The more you learn about Omega-3, the more you will see it’s a key to countless whole health goals.*
1http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10479465. Pharmacol Res. 1999 Sep;40(3):211-25. Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
2Kitajka K, Puskas LG, Zvara A, et al. The role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in brain: modulation of rat brain gene expression by dietary omega-3 fatty acids. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002 Mar 5;99(5):2619-24.
3Brain Res. 1997 Jul 4;761(2):300-5. Effect of long-term administration of ethyl eicosapentate (EPA-E) on local cerebral blood flow and glucose utilization in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP). Katayama Y1, Katsumata T, Muramatsu H, Usuda K, Obo R, Terashi A. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9252029
4Micallef MA, Garg ML. Anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and plant sterols in hyperlipidemic individuals. Atherosclerosis. 2009;204:476–82.
5Cawood AL, Ding R, Napper FL, Young RH, Williams JA, Ward MJ, Gudmundsen O, Vige R, Payne SP, Ye S, et al. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from highly concentrated n-3 fatty acid ethyl esters is incorporated into advanced atherosclerotic plaques and higher plaque EPA is associated with decreased plaque inflammation and increased stability. Atherosclerosis. 2010;212:252–9.