Omega Blood Count - The optimal measure of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
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Omega Woman

Omega-3 has been found to be helpful in a number of areas particular to women. From reducing the pain of dysmenorrhoea(1) (in combination with other fatty acids) to increasing uterine blood flow and facilitating pregnancy(2). Supplementation with omega-3 during pregnancy lowers the risk of premature birth and can increase the length of pregnancy and birth weight by promoting foetal growth by improving placental blood flow. Intake of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and breast feeding may facilitate the child’s brain development. There is also some evidence that supplementation with omega-3 might help to prevent pre-eclampsia, postpartum depression, menopausal problems, postmenopausal osteoporosis, and breast cancer.

A study into hot flushes in menopausal women found a significant reduction in the group taking omega-3 compared to those taking the placebo (6). Research looking at omega-3 and omega-6 content of adipose tissue in patients with breast cancer found lower levels of omega-3 in cases than controls. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 was also found to be significantly higher in breast cancer cases. (7) This was confirmed by the Sinapore Chinese Women trial; a prospective trial of 35,000 women in Sinapore. In this study, those with the lowest intake of omega 3 had an increased risk of breast cancer.(8) Furthermore, because elevated triglyceride levels are associated with cardiovascular disease, especially in women; and because omega-3 FA have powerful effects on triglycerides, women in particular gain from an increased intake of these fatty acids. This is especially important in women receiving hormone therapy, which can increase triglyceride levels (9)




References:

(1) Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:216-9 Metabolism of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in women with dysmenorrhoea. Wu CC, Huang MY, Kapoor R, Chen CH, Huang YS
(2) Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2004 Oct;59(10):722-30; quiz 745-6.Women and omega-3 Fatty acids. Saldeen P, Saldeen T
(3) Epidemiology. 1995 May; 6(3):232-7.Omega-3 fatty acids in maternal erythrocytes and risk of pre-eclampsia. Williams, Zingheim RW, King IB, Zebelman AM
(6) Lucas M, Asselin G, Mérette C, et al. Effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on hot flashes and quality of life among middle-aged women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Menopause. 2000
(7) Bagga D, Anders KH, Wang HJ, et al. Long-chain n-3-to-n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratios in breast adipose tissue from women with and without breast cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2002;42(2):180-5)
(8) Gago-Dominguez M, Yuan JM, Sun CL, Opposing effects of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids on mammary carcinogenesis: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. Br J Cancer. 2003;89(9):1686-92
(9) Am J Ther. 2009 Jul-Aug;16(4):326-32. Effect of a combined therapeutic approach of intensive lipid management, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, and increased serum 25 (OH) vitamin D on coronary calcium scores in asymptomatic adults. Davis W, Rockway S, Kwasny M.

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