The importance of mega 3 and omega 3 eggsJuly 18, 2012, 8:11 pm
By Allagamuthu Nandakumar. B.V.Sc.
Scientists made one of the first associations between omega-3s and the human health while studying the Inuit (Eskimo) people of Greenland in the 1970’s.As a group the Inuit suffered far less from certain diseases (Coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, and psoriasis) than their European counterparts. Yet their diet was very high in fat from eating whale, seal, and salmon. Eventually the scientists realized that these foods were all rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which provides real disease countering benefits. Although omega 3 was understood to be essential fatty acid since 1930, only after, the Eskimo study, it became important in 1970’s.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Commonly seen in sea foods such as salmon, sardines, mekaral, tuna, algae, seal oil, fish oil, flux seeds, butternuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, eggs and somewhat in certain parts of body organs of animal meat. They are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which are known as essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids, are fatty acids that cannot be synthesized by the human body, but vital for meta bolism.Omaga-3, omega-6 and omega-9 are different types of fatty acids, out of which omega-9 can be synthesized by the body. The other two omega-3 andomega-6 has to be obtained from foods we eat. Essential fatty acids were given the name when researchers found that they were essential to normal growth in young children and animals. There are two types of three, omega-3 fatty acids.1 Alpha-linolic acid (ALA) found in vegetable oils.2 Eicoapentaenoic acid (EPA)and Decohexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil.
The health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids as-primarily EPA and DHA are best known. The American Heart Association recommends 1,100 milligrams of omega-3 per day for woman and 1,600 milligrams for men Some clinical studies published in 2005 and 2007 indicate that omega-3 fatty acids are extremely essential in protecting the cardiovascular disease in human. The cardiovascular benefits from omega-3 fatty acids consumption have been attributed to their anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting effects. A lower incident of irregular heart beats was another protective effect attributed to omega-3 fatty acids.lt is understood that omega-3 fatty acids also helped in lowering blood triglycerides and cholesterol.
Number of epidemiological studies has also shown that the omega 3 fatty acids are important in Rheumatoid Arthritis (Jou of Clinical. Epidvol48 1995 issue 11). It is understood that use of fish oil improvers’ number of tender joints and duration of morning stiffness in the joints. Though consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and cancer had been studied by many scientists, the American Medical Association in their review of literature covering Cohorts from many countries revels that there is no link between omaga-3 fatty acid and cancer. This is similar findings reveled by British Medical Journal of Feb 2002 that failed to find clear effects on omaga-3 fatty acid and cancer. The evidence for benefits of omega 3 fatty acid and fish oil is stronger in secondary than primary preventing settings.(Jou. Amer. coll.nutri 2009). Omega 3 fatty acids offer a promising complimentary approach to standard treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorders (ADAH) which is mostly studied and diagnosed disorders in children. It is also evident that omega 3 is useful in treatment during psychiatric disorders.
Omaga-3 Fatty Acids and Infant Vision Development
A number of clinical studies have shown omega -3 fatty acids are essential for normal infant vision development. DHA and other omega-3 are found in maternal breast milk and also added to many supplemented infant formulas. According to several studies conducted by Harvard School of Public Health and published in Journal of pediatrics, infants who were fed with supplementary formulas containing DHA showed significantly better visual activity at 2 to 4 months of age, compared to pre-term infants who were fed formulas that did not contain omega -3 fatty acids.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Canadian researchers found that infant girls whose mother received DHA supplements from their fourth month of pregnancy until delivery were less likely to have below average visual acuity at 2 months of age than infant girls whose mother did not receive the omega -3 supplements.
Omega-3 eggs were first developed in 1990 by a Canadian food scientist who was looking for a way to reverse declining consumption of eggs, for the fear of cholesterol in the 90’s. Producing an egg enriched with omega-3 turned out to be easy. All what had to be done was to add flux seed and fish oil based products to be included in the poultry food which ended up in omega-3 eggs. Scientific data’s reveal that omega-3 fatty acids are seen from 160 milligrams to 360 milligrams in various type of omega 3 eggs produced around the world. In eggs the levels of DHA can be increased by feeding algae and fishmeal of various origins. Omega-3 eggs are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E.
One important set of nutrition that should not be overlooked is the long chained essential fatty acids. Egg yolk contains the long chained omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is necessary for the brain and retinal function in the eye. These fatty acids are necessary for the young children and pregnant and lactating women, the people with degenerative disease involving oxidative stress especially of the nervous system such as Alzheimer’s. While fatty fish and cod liver oil supply DHA in large amounts, egg yolk has an advantage over these foods because they also contain arachidonic acid (AA) and because they do not contain EPA, which interferes with arachidonic acid metabolism.
According to Nutrition Data.com., one egg contains 75mg of arachidonic acid (AA), 20 mg of DHA but no EPA. DHA and AA are the two fatty acids essential for human and mammals, while EPA interferes with the use of AA and probably does not belong to the mammalian body at all. AA is essential in healing, development and defense. Some of them are inflammatory mediators that can contribute to disease when present in excess. Eggs are a main source of AA in modern diet.
It is time for Sri Lankan poultry industry to work on Omega-3 Eggs which would benefit the public to obtain this from the local market. Eggs are safe and good to eat. Egg yolks do not cause heart Disease. The fact is that an egg is so comprehensive that a few a days would offer better insurance than a multivitamin. Most importantly, the yolk contains most of the nutrition’s in an egg. An egg contains 6 grams of protein which is nourished with all amino acids essential for growth and development.
Working omega-3s into milk is considerably more difficult, but food scientists have figured out how to suspend DHA and EPA in milk by encapsulating the fats in a gel. This technology will also keep the milk tasting like fish. But there is yet to produce Omega-3 milk, due to many complications.
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Last Updated May 24 2013 | 07:02 pm