Omega-3 Index Challenge….

Is your Omega-3 Index the best?

Are you interested to test the impact that your diet has on your fatty acid balance? Do you want to see if your index result is better than other clients that have taken the test thus far? The figure to beat is 7.7%

New Test to check your Omega 3 index

And science ramblings asking is farmed salmon good for us? And where are trans fats coming from in our diets?

Introducing the Omega Quant 24-Fatty acid Blood Spot Test

So today I finally sent off my OmegaQuant 24 fatty acid test kit to determine my fatty acid  profile; I have been using this test for clients for some time now and it’s about time I evaluated my own status.

I am excited to see how my natural diet is actually impacting fatty acid levels, the balance between these fats, and also to determine the ratios between anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory fatty acids; notably my omega 3: omega 6 balance which ideally should be between 1:1 and 1:4. I am also keen to know whether any pesky trans fatty acids are sneaking into my diet and if so will be working on total elimination!

Since I have started into a more serious endurance training regimen I have also greatly improved my fat intake and so I am curious to see the impact of this on not only which fats are in my system but the balance between them as this is important for my health in addition to my sports performance and recovery. I eat fats across the board from full fat organic butter, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, animal fats and a small intake of full fat cheese and yogurt. I will share my results when I get them!

Omega quant 1

Here is my test kit ready to send in the post. Note the little red spot; that is all the blood that you need and any wimp should manage it.

There is an abundance of information on the OmegaQuant website here: http://omegaquant.com/omega-3-index/. I have kits available in the clinic, they come with a pre-paid envelope to return them to the lab in the USA so there is no hassle of buying international stamps. The retail price is $99.95 and I am offering them at a discount rate of €85 (with a little leeway for currency variability).

Please do refer to the website as it is a gem of a site for information on essential fats and scientific research; there is also supportive guidance on where undesirable trans fatty acids may be sneaking into your diet.

Your test results come with a comprehensive explanation of your results alongside supportive charts to explain foods important to raise omega 3. Click here to see a sample report http://omegaquant.com/sample-report-omega-3-index/

Who do I recommend takes this test?

Everyone that eats a healthy diet and especially everyone that eats a trashy processed food diet!

However, if you are an athlete or someone suffering with chronic health conditions or allergies then I suggest that this test is a must.

Furthermore, if you are concerned about the impact of trans fats on your health then this test will give you feedback on the impact that your current food choices may be having on your health as elevated levels of trans fats are highly undesirable.

The test gives a superb breakdown of the major fatty acid groups: Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids, cis-Monounsaturated fatty acids, Saturated fatty acids, Trans fatty acids and the breakdown within these groups. Furthermore the test provides details about your AA:EPA and Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. So this is a very relevant and practical test which all tests should be (tests should provide feedback to enable action!).

Why?

Remember that the fats in your diet determine the structure of each and every cell membrane and the cell membrane is a crucial element in all aspects of function within your body: from hydration to brain neurochemistry, hormone function, oxygen dynamics, inflammation propensity and more. The health and structure of the cell membrane dictates everything!

Most of us have far too high an intake of omega 6 fats relative to omega 3…. this test can tell you your exact balance of 24 fatty acids. This is a practical test worth the investment.

You will also be able to assess the benefits of omega 3 supplements and the appropriateness of your dosing regimen.

If you are interested in doing this test; please email me on andreacullenhealthsolutions@gmail.com

Kit instructions and sample test report:

Love,

Andrea

Footnote; 8th August 2015

Today I received my test back and it makes for very interesting reading. My results are “good” but can improve. So for the sake of convenience and cost I will be adding a good quality cod liver oil (to ensure purity and potency) to my diet on top of my high (organic and wild) salmon and plant based oils intake to take my omega 3 from 7.7% into the desirable range of >8 %. Not too much farther to go so I am delighted to see that a natural diet can almost hit the mark for my requirements.

I think if wild or organically raised salmon were more freely available and more cost effective then I would be consuming more salmon than I currently am (is it me or is it becoming harder to locate quality organic salmon?) and thus my values would be even better. I don’t by choice consume non-organically raised salmon as I feel that

1. They do not provide as much omega 3 or the potent natural antioxidant astaxanthin; they are also higher in sat fat and lower in protein 

2. they may in fact be increasing intake of less healthful fats and

3. farmed salmon is potentially a source of other unwanted non-food chemicals related to the foods that farmed fish are fed and the quality of the waters they thrive in.

My trans fats are higher than I would like them to be and this is disappointing as in general my diet is home-cooked and natural. My intake may be related to occasional full fat dairy and more frequent animal meats consumption as these contain minimal amounts of trans fats that as of yet we are unsure as to whether these are actually negative for health (they may not be).

Note as I researched this farther I am glad to see that not all trans fats may be harmful; read on 🙂

I assume that the odd health bar, slather of cheap peanut butter (which may get purchased when I am hungry and there is no other option), slice of gluten-free bread or dessert may be sneaking some inferior quality oils into my diet. It just goes to show; the chronic impact of daily diet means that to be well is a daily choice to eat well.

A quick internet search about trans fats found me the following articles and this then led into a whole afternoon of salmon bites 🙂 I am confident that if I search longer I will find more to confirm my suspicions but I am throwing in the towel here:

* Can some trans fats be healthy, by Chris Kresser

Excerpt:

However, it may surprise you to learn that many of the foods recommended on a Paleo or whole foods diet contain trans fats as well. Dairy fat and meats from grass eating “ruminant” animals contain significant amounts of trans fatty acids, and grass-fed animals actually have higher levels of these trans fats than grain fed animals. (1) In fact, your grass-fed steak contains about 0.5g-1.4g of trans fat per ounce (28.3g) of total fat. (2)

Does this mean we should avoid all grass-fed animal products, cut out red meat, and only eat fat-free dairy if we want to reduce our risk of heart disease? Not at all! These naturally occurring trans fats in ruminant animal products are not at all harmful to our health, and may actually reduce the development of many different chronic diseases. Read on:

* Fish Faceoff: Wild salmon Vs Farmed salmon; debating the health benefits and risks read this article to learn more about the difference between farmed and organic salmon regarding nutrition, pollutants, contaminants, and antibiotics. Regarding the omega 3 content of farmed versus wild salmon this article is in opposition to the findings in the Norway Study in the following link.

* Organic salmon has more Omega-3  

“One of the criteria for organically farmed salmon is that their feed must be made from the cuttings of sustainable fish stocks and contain naturally-made carotenoids from such organisms as yeasts, algae and bacteria. The feed also has to come from local and sustainable resources.

The welfare of the fish must also be in focus and they cannot be overcrowded in net-pens. Farmers raising organic fish have to keep medication and vaccination of their product to a minimum…………

Organic salmon hasn’t been subjected to much research, partly because so little has been produced until recently. Initial studies have put it at least on a par with standard farmed salmon.

“We’ve tested the colour, composition of fatty acids and texture with instruments as well as with a professional tasting panel,” says researcher Magnus Åsli, of the food research institute Nofima.

“Our results showed that organic and regular farmed salmon taste about the same. The organic fish is generally a little more reddish and its consistency is at least as good as ordinary farmed salmon.”

The content of fatty acids was also somewhat different in organic salmon. “The organic fish had more Omega-3,” he adds.”

* Salmon; factory farm versus wild; this is another helpful article (a “must-read”) written by Mark Sissen of Mark’s Daily Apple. He discusses some valid points and I would have always steered people towards purchasing wild salmon when they can find it. However after a very informative chat with Paul Cusack in Rene Cusack’s fish shop in Limerick I started to think a little deeper about his personal views on catching and consuming wild salmon.

Fish stocks of wild salmon (in Europe) have gone beyond a point of ever replenishing (his opinion; however see here ). Paul feels that we must focus on improving the standards of organically farmed salmon to give our wild fish stocks even a chance to improve whilst also providing us with healthier (than farmed) salmon options. He also pointed out that any wild salmon available has probably been frozen for a significant amount of time. If you live in the USA or Canada you will be fortunate to have access to wild Alaskan or Sockeye salmon; lucky you!  This salmon is dense, low in saturated fat, and high in protein and omega 3 as well as an abundance of antioxidants.

“I personally won’t eat farmed salmon…. I see it as a source of too many toxins and “negatives” and not enough omega 3 and “positives”…. … So as best I can I buy organically farmed Irish salmon and when it is available in Dunnes stores the smoked Wild salmon that they often sell on offer as it truly is good quality.

Tesco offer frozen Alaskan salmon; on closer inspection this is processed in China and tastes like sh*t…. mine went in the bin as I didn’t at all trust what I was consuming”. (Andrea)

Personally this line frightened me when I read it!

….if you do choose to eat farmed salmon, the Environmental Working Group (applying EPA health standards) suggests eating no more than one serving of farmed salmon a month.

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/salmon-factory-farm-vs-wild/#ixzz3fJWn0V2D

* Salmon becomes what is eats: * Farmed salmon and human health

In 1999, the World Health Organization raised food safety concerns over fish farming, including salmon, warning that this growing practice posed risks to public health. Artificial colouring, toxic by-products, and cancer causing contaminants have all been found in factory farmed salmon.

Pure salmon Campaign

* Pure salmon campaign factsheets * Salmon: Nutritional info about salmon and cooking tips from a favourite food website resource of mine

* Lipid Composition and Contaminants in Farmed and Wild Salmon

Excerpt: Levels of omega-3 (n-3) and omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids and lipid-adjusted concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, toxaphene, and dieldrin were determined in 459 farmed Atlantic salmon, 135 wild Pacific salmon, and 144 supermarket farmed Atlantic salmon fillets purchased in 16 cities in North America and Europe. These were the same fish previously used for measurement of organohalogen contaminants.

Farmed salmon had greater levels of total lipid (average 16.6%) than wild salmon (average 6.4%). The n-3 to n-6 ratio was about 10 in wild salmon and 3-4 in farmed salmon. The supermarket samples were similar to the farmed salmon from the same region. Lipid-adjusted contaminant levels were significantly higher in farmed Atlantic salmon than those in wild Pacific salmon (F ) 7.27, P ) 0.0089 for toxaphene; F ) 15.39, P ) 0.0002 for dioxin; F g 21.31, P < 0.0001 for dieldrin and
PCBs, with df ) (1,64) for all). Levels of total lipid were in the range of 30-40% in the fish oil/fish meal that is fed to farmed salmon.

Salmon, especially farmed salmon, are a good source of healthy n-3 fatty acids, but they also contain high concentrations of organochlorine compounds such as PCBs, dioxins, and chlorinated pesticides. The presence of these contaminants may reduce the net health benefits derived from the consumption of farmed salmon, despite the presence of the high level of n-3 fatty acidsmin these fish

* Dioxin in salmon presents serious health concerns; please read the comments!!

* Trans fats by the American Heart Association

Excerpt: Which foods contain trans fats? Trans fats can be found in many foods – including fried foods like doughnuts, and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, and stick margarines and other spreads. You can determine the amount of trans fats in a particular packaged food by looking at the Nutrition Facts panel. However, products can be listed as “0 grams of trans fats” if they contain 0 grams to less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. You can also spot trans fats by reading ingredient lists and looking for the ingredients referred to as “partially hydrogenated oils.” Are there naturally occurring trans fats? Small amounts of trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, including beef, lamb and butterfat. There have not been sufficient studies to determine whether these naturally occurring trans fats have the same bad effects on cholesterol levels as trans fats that have been industrially manufactured.

I hope that this info helps in your test results interpretation and provides guidance regarding making better food choices.

Andrea

One thought on “Omega-3 Index Challenge….

  1. Pingback: Functional Diagnostic Tests | Andrea Cullen

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