Posts Tagged ‘omega-3’

Omega-3 fatty acids upregulate adult neurogenesis

It seems that in my practice I spend a lot of time recommending my patients take omega-3 fatty acid fish oil.  I believe there is so much evidence that supports this.  Today’s research article is titled, Omega-3 fatty acids upregulate adult neurogenesis.  This was published in Neuroscience Letters, March 26, 2007; 415(2): 154-158.  Authored by Barbara S. Beltz, Michael F. Tlusty, Jeannie L. Benton and David C. Sandeman.

From Abstract:

Omega-3 fatty acids play crucial roles in the development and function of the central nervous system.  The presence of omega-6 fatty acids mayinterfere with omega-3 fatty acid metabolism.  The omega-e fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are of particular importance in the nervous system.  Omega-3 fatty acids alter membrane fluidity, which is important for neurotransmitter binding, including serotonin.  Omega-3 fatty acids modulate cytokine levels, which in turn regulate immune function. 


Many patients tell me that they eat a lot of fish and therefore they don’t need to take the fish oil supplements.  This article also suggests that farm raised fish are nutritionally poor due to low quality diets fed to these fish.

I would like to clarify the difference between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  Omega-3 and omega-6 are both types of essential fatty acids.  Essential meaning that we cannot make them on our own and have to get them from our diet.  The sources of omega-3 fatty acids are mainly from deep sea (cold water) fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackeral, black cod and bluefish. 

The precursor (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) from flaxseeds must be converted by the body to EPA and DHA. 

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in seeds and nuts, most notably the oils extracted from these seeds and nuts.  These refined vegetable oils are very abundant in our diet…snack foods, cookies, crackers, sweets as well as fast food.  It is believed that hormones derived from omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation, blood clotting and cell proliferation.  This dietary imbalance may explain the rise of such diseases as asthma, coronary heart disease, many forms of cancer, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases.

How does this relate to my chiropractic practice and the treatment of patients?  A large portion of my patients have degenerative disorders which include degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis.  As previously mentioned, I am a practitioner of the Cox Decompression Technique which is a wonderful technique for treating many spinal conditions, including these degenerative disorders.  I recommend patients cut down on omega-6 levels by reducing consumption of processed and fast foods and polyunsaturated vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, safflower, and cottenseed).  At home use extra virgin olive oil, eat the cold water fishes (previously mentioned), not farm raised fish and TAKE FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS!  

Gregg F. Moses, D.C.

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Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Treatment in Autism

Well here we are just a few days until Thanksgiving.  I’m looking forward to some rest and spending time with family.  We expect 13 at our home for dinner.  My wife has already done her shopping and has started to prepare the food.  The research article I will be submitting today is one of my favorite topics.  FISH OIL!  Yuck!  Well maybe.  Most people don’t find the idea of taking fish oil supplements as appealing, but I think it’s worth it.  I have personally been taking fish oil supplements for about 10 years.  There are many peer reviewed research articles about the cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits of fish oil.  This article is titled, Omega 3 Fatty Acid Treatment in Autism.  It was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology; Volume 19, Number 4, August 2009, pp.449-451.  The authors are Gal Meiri, M.D., Yoav Bichovsky, M.D., and R.H. Belmaker, M.D.


Objective:  The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of omega-3 fatty acids for children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

Methods:  This was an open-label pilot study.  Ten children aged 4-7 years old with ASD according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, were given 1 gram daily of omega-3 fatty acids for 12 months.  (380 mg EPA, 180 mg DHA)  The main outcome measure used was the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist.

Results:  Of the 9 subjects who completed the study, 8 showed improvement of about 33% on the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist.  None worsened and no side effects were reported.

Conclusions:  Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be safe and might be helpful for children suffering from ASD.

I thought that it was interesting that the amount of omega-3 was EPA+DHA of 560 mg per day as this is not a high dosage.  This is actually a light dosage.  Omega-3 fatty acids are essential constituents of cell membranes including those in brain nerve cells and are critical in neurodevelopment.  Higher fish consumption during pregnancy is associated with better infant cognition with the greatest effect for infants whose mothers consumed the most fish.  Low maternal seafood consumption is associated with infants who have lower verbal IQs and suboptimal outcomes for fine motor, communication and social development.

I personally love to eat seafood, but I believe that farm raised fish and shrimp is not the same as natural deep sea fish as it relates to omega-3 concentration and benefits.  There is also contamination factor to consider when eating a lot of seafood.  Therefore I recommend omega-3 supplementation.  These supplements go through a strict purification process.  I usually recommend either Nordic Naturals brand or Pure Encapsulations brand.  Both have a chewable (fruit flavor added) for children.  Although I don’t have the reference today, I have read that omega-3 from fish oil is superior to other sources such as flax seed.

So I hope this was helpful.  Please check out my website: chiropractor west palm beach and feel free to e-mail me with questions.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Gregg F Moses, DC

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