Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nearly three-quarters of pregnant women are deficient in essential omega-3s

Study finds nearly three-quarters of pregnant women do not get enough omega-3. Despite being critical for infant development, just 27 percent of pregnant women get enough omega-3 to meet current European Union (EU) recommendations, say researchers.

So, remembering that preconception supplementation will ensure your pregnancy omega-3 status is not in the doldrums like more than 70 percent of the population, which supplemental omega product for you?

Remember that ghastly cod-liver oil that your mother made you swallow? Of course only those of a particular vintage will ... and there’s no need to ’fess up, the value of marine-oil based products is actually about 150 years old! But now that everybody’s in on the benefits, how sustainable are those marine resources?

Fish oil, an ingredient with a 150-year plus history as a nutraceutical, continues to be the mainstay of the world’s supply of omega-3s.  But, with all of the questions hovering over the health of the oceans, how much longer can suppliers and manufacturers rely on this huge, though not inexhaustible source?

I’d actually suggest that populations have always valued what came from the sea. The Incas made treks from the mountains to the coast to harvest fish, which they dried. Dr. Weston-Price wrote about traditional societies who went to great length to obtain fish roe for the young men and women of child-bearing age. Today fish-oil based products for immune, anti-inflammatory, circulatory and other conditions makes the omega market top of the pops in the natural medicine area. The science is undisputed, the doctors have embraced it, the public is fully aware, so now the issue is the best sources of omegas and practising wise husbandry of them.

Currently, major sources of omega-3s are the massive anchovy schools that feed on unicellular organisms in the cold upwelling of the Humboldt Current off the Peruvian Coast. Supposedly sustainably managed by the government, the anchovy numbers are also defined by the El Nino and La Nina events and on a longer cycle, by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. These events are well-known for making management a less than exact science, with experts deeming this source close to reaching its limits.

There are other “boutique” sources of fish-sourced omegas, and as extraction techniques improve, as currently discarded viscera are utilised and as our understanding of the “other” omegas improve (e.g. omega-9, omega-11 from Alaskan salmon), supplies look reasonably secure. Also from the sea, Antarctic krill, managed uncharacteristically well by an International body, nowhere near its maximum limit ... just yet. Finally, the quickly evolving, but still largely untapped source of premium-priced omegas - algae! With benefits undisputed for all ages and life stages, especially during pregnancy and foetal development, it’s a question of do your homework and pick your omega product! Take it regularly!

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