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Month: March 2019

Hyaluronic acid for skin

Hyaluronic Acid, what it is, how it assists in skin heath

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is also called hyaluronan.  It is a polysaccharide found in most of the bodies’ cells. the body makes HA by using an enzyme called hyaluronic acid synthase to combine two sugars, D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl glucosamine.  There are foods that either provide small amounts of HA, or the building blocks of it.  See the list at the end of the article.  Facial products are usually made from bacteria synthesized from poultry (rooster combs) and other sources (1).  HA is a main part of the skin, and 50 percent of HA is found here. It plumps, firms, and moisturizes skin.  It acts as a natural support for the dermis, and it delivers nutrients and keeps the skin moist by pulling water from your body. It’s a lubricating fluid found in connective tissue, skin, joints, eyes, and the fluid of the body (1).  HA is used in supplements for skin and joint health, including joint pain reduction, and in skincare items. This is as HA can help reverse cartilage and collagen loss.  It can lessen inflammation and assist in immune functioning, including wound healing.   It is in eye moistening drops, and in pharmaceutical eye serums and eye drops.  The last is to provide structure and moisture to damaged tissue while it heals.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) can slow down the loss of collagen while it reduces fluid or water loss in tissues. so, it can make, skin glow, improve joint health, and treat problems with, and lubricate, eyes.  This is all without the side effects of harmful, toxic, products. Hyaluronic acid, or hyaluronan, has the ability to improve skin’s texture and appearance. It also reduces the symptoms associated with aging, like joint pain.  HA does all of this as it is a clear, lubricating, secretion naturally produced in the body.  High concentrations of hyaluronic acid are found in the skin, inside the joints, in the eye’s sockets as well as other tissues. HA improves the skins flexibility, elasticity and moisture content, while assisting in the retention of collagen.

Hyaluronic acid is  found  in  bone broth, so simply by adding  it, or protein powder made from  it,  to your diet can automatically increase your consumption of HA. Regarding skincare products, since hyaluronic acid itself can’t penetrate cells for absorption, skincare products use sodium hyaluronate.   It is the salt of hyaluronic acid, and because it has a much lower molecular size, sodium hyaluronate can penetrate the skin when applied topically.

How HA improves ageing skin via hydration.  HA supplements, taken orally, have been shown in clinical trials of people (men and women) to improve the luster and suppleness of skin while supressing wrinkles, both by inhibiting new wrinkle formation and by reducing the appearance of already formed wrinkles (2). In one study, using people, after eight weeks of supplementation, subjects in the HA group, but not the placebo group, presented with significantly decreased maximum mean, or average, wrinkle depth (3).

The improvements to skin are maximized after eight weeks in the studies because it takes about 28 days for the skin to turn over a new layer. The   It also improved the moister contents while protecting the skin from sun damage (3).   HA, along with collagen and elastin fibers, is synthesized within the dermal skin’s fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are skin cell that generate connective tissue and allow the skin to recover from injury.   HA prompts the production of fibroblasts in the dermis, and so taking HA supplements promotes this synthesis in fibroblasts. These supplements can help to maintain skin health, while suppressing wrinkle formation.   This effect is partially due to HA promoting collagen synthesis in the skin (798).  HA has a high-water content, so it improves moisture retention in the epidermis (upper layer of skin). HA also helps to normalize skin cell functioning, keeping it healthy (2). And, if the tissues of the body are harmed, HA production increases.  In fact, HA regulates many aspects of tissue repair, including the activation of inflammatory cells to enhance an immune response.  HA also improves the response of fibroblasts and epithelial cells (which form the outer lay of the body and other areas of the body, including the gut) to injury (3).

HA hydrates skin. Many people report that their skin feels “dewier,” that their under-eye bags become lighter, and that the texture of their skin feels and looks smoother after applying serums containing hyaluronic acid. The main way that HA helps improve the appearance of sun related skin damage, called chrono-aged skin, is by reducing water loss.   HA’s ability to increase moisture content is one of the reasons that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) improves skin’s health and appearance.  HRT increases the skin’s natural amount of HA (3).

As we age molecules in our skin lose some of their ability to bind and retain water.  this leads to dryness, drooping lips and eyes, and sagginess as well as dandruff.  The loss of our ability to get molecules to bind to, or retain, moisture also reductions skin’s volume. The process of aging in skin is a response to extrinsic (outside of the body) and intrinsic (inside the body) factors. Extrinsically, environmental pollutants and UV light, as well as damage from blue light emitting devices, can impact skin.  Intrinsically, as we age, we slowly loose the ability to make HA, which naturally occurs in the body.  Research has show that there are numerous sites in the skin involved in the control of HA synthesis, deposition, cell and protein association, and degradation. For instance, it has been found that dryness of the stratum corneum is the result of prolonged exposure to the sun.  this results in the development of wrinkles. Wrinkles are much more likely to be visible in low humidity environments, where it is harder for the skin to maintain its elasticity and moisture retaining abilities. HA, which attracts moisture to the skin, can reduce these signs of aging. It decreases the loss of water from the epidermis (outer layer of skin), that related to dry and flaky skin and sun damage.

How HA Helps in fighting wrinkles, including improving their appearance.   Within two to six weeks of using a topical HA product, you should experience a noticeable improvement to the skin’s hydration. One clinical study of 40 women experiencing mild to moderate (clinical) signs of aging skin (changes to their skin’s surface and decreased volume) showed that within 30 days, HA can improve skin sagging, and decreased the appearance of wrinkles. Some subjects even reported increased volume to cheeks and lips (35). Here, for 30 days, the subject received either a product named Fillerina, that had six types of HA in it, or a placebo cream.  The results were measured at three hours, and then at seven days, fourteen days, and thirty days from application.  The subjects in the active group started seeing improvements within 14 to 30 days. The active group experienced reductions in sagging of the face and the contours of the cheeks, as well as improvements to lip volume.  At the same time, the active group also experienced decreased depth of wrinkles and decreased volume of wrinkles (35).  An eight-week study, using females approximately 45 year of age, assessed a topical low molecular nano-hyaluronic acid preparation. This was used to treat wrinkles, and improve skin elasticity and skin hydration. The subjects experienced statistically significant moisturizing effects, improved (finer) skin texture, as well as improvements to skin’s elasticity. The researchers stated that within eight weeks this product had decreased wrinkle depth by as much as 40 percent, while improving skin elasticity and firmness by up to 55 percent, and skin hydration by up to 96 percent (43).  You can also get prescription injectables made from HA (Allergan, Ultra Plus & Juvederm).  These can take months to show their maximum effects.

If hyaluronic acid and is mixed with hydrolyzed collagen supplements and essential vitamins (B6, C, D3, E) and minerals (Zinc, Copper, D-biotin), it has been found to significantly improve skin hydration, wrinkle depth, and elasticity (23).   Collagen has amino acids (cysteine and proline) that form building blocks of the outer layer of skin, called the stratum corneum (39).  Type I collagen can improve the appearance of aging skin (40) and reduces age related changes to skin (44). After four weeks of supplementation, Collagen has been shown to greatly improve skin elasticity, skin thickness and after 8 weeks of supplementation, help improve skin moister (45).  Collagen even reduces moister evaporation from skin (46).   

How HA sooths and repairs damaged, sunburned, and wounded skin.  Hyaluronic acid can help repair damaged tissue. It keeps damaged tissue moist, so it can treat many ailments, including cold sores, ulcers, wounds, burns, bites, and mouth sores. It also helps repair sun damaged skin. HA is naturally part of tissue, which is made partially from water and collagen. So, HA helps build the tissue of the mouth and lips.  In fact, HA, along with collagen, help give structure and shape to lips.  As HA binds to water, it hydrates skin tissues, including oral tissues. HA also controls inflammation, keeps skin junctions tight, brings nutrients to damaged tissues, and helps fluids carry away waste. This is why many remedies for lip and mouth problems, like cold sores, contain HA.  It prevents bleeding or cracking, while speeds up the healing process.

Hyaluronic Acid helps to produce and repair cells (42). Collagen uses Hyaluronic Acid to bind elastin and collagen.  This then protects cartilage and improves elasticity in tissue.  You can buy it in supplement form.

Information on HA for skin.   Regarding skincare, there are a variety of HA acid creams, lotions and serums available to purchase.  These can have differing concentrations of, and types of, HA molecules.  It is beneficial to have a variety of molecule sizes in one product to maximize the various ways the different sized molecules work within the body, including the skin.  Studies have shown that applying serums etc., on a daily basis work well if they contain a   0.1 percent HA. These products are reports as leading to significant improvements to the skin regarding elasticity, hydration, and   the appearance of wrinkles (38). In the U.S. injectable HA based derma fillers are approved for use in those over 21 years of age keep in mind that these are temporary, as the materials will be absorbed by the body. Short term negative reactions include sensitivity to sunlight, and mild inflammation.  These should resolve themselves within two to seven days.  Very rarely, serious side effects like changes to eyesight and vascular changes to the eyes like damage due to blocked blood vessels (29).

Side effects of HA injection.  If an individual gets a permanent type of filler, they are more likely to experience side effects. In such cases, for at least 24 hours, do not wear makeup; for several days, avoid direct exposure to sunlight or excessive heat; use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more; for several days, avoid intense activities or sports.  If there is a problem, the medical professional may use hyaluronidases to reverse it.  This is an enzyme that breaks down HA.  

Side effects are more common when someone receives permanent fillers. It’s important that patients follow their doctor’s instructions after treatments, including avoiding wearing makeup for 24 hours after the injection, avoiding direct exposure to the sun or excessive heat for several days, using SPF 30 sunscreen daily and avoiding sports/vigorous activities during the week of the application. This helps limit the risk for inflammation and other adverse reactions. When there are complications from HA filler injections, hyaluronidase is sometimes used to reverse the effects of the fillers. Hyaluronidases are enzymes that are able to break down HA.

If you use a commercial or prescription HA product keep in mind that it is probably mad with bacteria from bird protein or cartilage. If you are allergic to poultry products, including eggs and feathers, be cautious.

Hyaluronic acid: food sources of hyaluronic acid (HA) include: bone broth and organ meats. Starchy root vegetables contain some HA, and they boost production of it as they have many helpful nutrients (fiber, potassium, vitamins B6 & C), this is especially true of yams, but also potatoes, sweet potatoes, tubers like jicama & Jerusalem artichoke.  Isoflavone rich soy-based foods enhance the production of HA. Also eat fruits high in naringenin, which inhibits the breakdown of HA, these include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and bananas. Bananas also contain a bit of HA, magnesium and vitamin C.  Vitamin C and magnesium both help galvanize the production of HA.  Foods high in both are: citrus fruits like grapefruits & oranges, tomatoes avocados, cherries, grapes, and mangoes, bananas. Sweet peppers are high in vitamin C. Magnesium rich foods help include nuts, seeds, leafy greens like spinach, kale and swiss chard, and avocados. Almonds and cashews are high in magnesium. Dark chocolate has small amounts of magnesium, it has zinc which helps HA production and it contains flavanols (bioactive compounds or plant derived nutrients which promote healthy blood vessel function).  Beans also contain both zinc and magnesium. Red wine has phytoestrogens which help in HA production (3).

Take between 120 and 240 mg per day for about four weeks.  This has shown significant increases to skin moisture and a reduction in dry skin in adults (4). 

As we age this key molecule to skin moisture, and our ability to manufacture HA, decreases as we age.  Skin starts to lose moisture and plumpness, as well as the ability to repair itself. This is why older skin is more likely to scare if injured (5). This is why skin care products often contain HA. Because HA molecules in their natural form are too large to easily penetrate skin, skincare often has low molecular weight HA serums in it.  This improves the skin’s moisture and can provide noticeable improvement to wrinkle depth within weeks. HA helps reduce skin damage done by oxidative stress that is rooted in external (pollution, sun damage & blue light damage from devices) and internal (hormonal changes, diet, lack of sleep etc.) causes.

HA can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, but because it has molecules that are larger than other acids it is not easily absorbable by the skin.  Recently, skin care companies have started using a lower molecular weight HA that can penetrate skin. Studies of these products show that they do improve skin moisture and reduce wrinkle depth within several weeks of starting to use them.  HA can also help with damage done to skin by oxidative stress, caused externally by pollution and UV rays as well as by internal factors like hormonal changes, including loss of estrogen, which can lead to the degradation of collagen and so dryer, less elastic and more wrinkled skin.  

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek professional help from a qualified healthcare provider if it is needed.

References found at:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega three and six fatty acids and how they impact on health, including autoimmune diseases, bone health, eye site, heart disease, menstrual issues, skin, fatty liver, weight gain/obesity (including metabolic syndrome) inflammation (including cancer) and mental health (anxiety, depression) sleep hygene, and cognitive decline/dementia).

Omega 3 oils used to be abundant in our diets, available in most foods we consumed. But, in the last 150 or so years humans (in most parts of the world) have either changed their diets, or had it changed by modern largescale farming practices, to such an extent that now Omega s are hard to come by and Omega 6s are over represented (1).

In fact, when both Omega 3s and Omega 6s are present, our bodies are designed to favour metabolising threes. Evolutionary, we ate as much or more 3s as 6s, creating a balanced ration of 1 to 1, 1 to 2 or even 1 to 3 favoring the Omega 3s. Now we eat far more 6s, up to 20 times as much by some estimates. This is a problem for many reasons. Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory, 6s cause inflammation and other health problems. In short, Omega 3s enhance health and Omega 6s, in great quantities, can be detrimental (1).

Omega 6 fatty acids are found in many foods (1). They are metabolized from linoleic acid or LA into arachidonic acid or AA. They are found in most plant seeds accept the seeds of palm, cocoa and coconut. They are also found in grain fed animal products (including grain fed dairy cows and chickens for eggs and meat).

Omega 3 fatty acids are metabolized from alpha linolenic acid or ALA into eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and docosahexaenoic acid or DHA (1). Omega 3s are found in fewer thing. They are found (as ALA) in green leafy vegetables, in walnuts, and in fish oil/fatty fish (DHA and EPA). Omega 3 fatty acids are also in the seeds of the following plants: rape, chia, flax, and perilla.

Omega 3s are very important to health. DHA is found in sperm, the testis, the retina and the cerebral cortex (brain). Regarding brain health, DHA is a main element of the lipids that make up the brain (1).

Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA): is a hybrid or mix of type I and II. It is said to be the2nd most common type of diabetes (% of all diabetics in Europe have this type). It has a slower autoimmune process than type I and shares some features of type II (insulin resistance and weight problems). LADA sufferers have lower levels of: C peptide, HOMA-B and HOMA-IR. Those with LADA report taking less fish oil and eating less fish (16).

Eating omega 3s, especially from fish, might reduce the risk of developing latent autoimmune diabetes in adults. This is as fatty fish, and its’ oil, have n-3 PUFA or polyunsaturated long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These include EPA or eicosapentaenoic and DHA or docosahexaenoic acids. They effect the modulate the immune system, lower inflammation, and help regulate or control how genes are expressed. These types of fats can move into cells easily, change the cells’ functioning and help treat autoimmune disease. As Omega 3s and Omega 6s compete fore the same enzymes, if Omega 3s are metabolised, Omega 6s (cause inflammation) won’t be. This effect was not found for type II diabetes, fish oil supplements may increase the risk of type II diabetes (16).

Vitamin D supplementation is also associated with reduced risk of LADA and type II diabetes. Many immune cell types (B and T cells for instance) have vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D in an active form, a metabolite 1.25(OH)2D, has the ability to control immune cells inner workings and production/growth. In type II and LADA diabetes vitamin D may affect the way B cells work, here pancreatic B cells by activation of vitamin D in the B cells or by binding 1,25(OH)2D to vitamin D receptors (16).

as well as insulin action, by stimulating insulin receptors expression causing an improvement in glucose transportation. In type I diabetes vitamin D may help to treat the condition by modifying T cell diversity.
Eye health: Omega 3 acid DHA is prevalent within the retina’s outer membrane. DHA is necessary to keep the retina, and eye, healthy. They help protect the retina from over exposure to light, oxidative stress or damage due to free radicals, inflammation, ischemia or lack of proper blood flow to the eye, metabolic processes associated with increase risk of damage, and general age related problems (17).

Heart Disease: DHA reduces bad fats (triglycerides) in the blood, as well as lessening clotting (thrombosis), reducing cardiac arrhythmia and lowering death rates (up to 50%) due to heart attach (myocardial infarction). This last is by taking 200 mg per day of DHA (from fish oil/fish) has been shown to reduce heart attach (Horrocks & Yeo, 1999).

Skin: studies have shown that eating more Omega 3 fatty acids, especially from fish, lowers incidence and severity of acne. This is because Omega 3s lower inflammation, which is a risk for acne development. It does this in part by hindering the (inflammation causing) chemicals PGE2 and LTB4 (15, Gremley, 2015). These are associated with acne. Omega 3s also decrease levels of something called insulin like growth factor (IGF) and preventing hyperkeratinisation of sebaceous follicles (14, Spencer et al., 2009). Conversely, Omega 6 fatty acids, which are known to increase inflammation throughout the body, is considered to be a factor in the development of inflammatory acne. Keep in mind that the modern western diet has shaped the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids to at least 10:1 (14, Spencer, 2009). Take 2,000 mg (2 gm) of EPA omega 3s a day. Get at least 1,000 mg of EPA (superior anti-inflammatory Omega 3). You can eat oily fish like sardines, anchovies, tuna and salmon or maceral (wild). Also eat flax seed and oil, walnuts and oil, and canola oil.
Zinc: this helps the body metabolise omega 3s. it moves vitamin A from the liver into the skin. It is also anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in nature. Zinc can assist in breaking down a nerve chemical that causes stress related sebum production, called substance P. Take 40 mg a day (can do this over a variety of products).
Selenium: is lower in those with acne. It is a mineral and antioxidant. It works in concert with other antioxidants at the same time it helps to preserve other antioxidants like zinc. It helps lesson inflammation in acne by its role in the enzyme glutathione peroxidase (15, Gremley, 2015). Glutathione is lower in people with acne. Mix vitamin e with selenium. This helps with the enzyme glutathione. Eat nuts, grains, and seafood (halibut and salmon).
Other suggestions: reduce the consumption of the following acne associated foods (14 Spencer et al., 2009; 15, Gremley, 2015).
Dairy products, (insulin growth factor, steroids, and a-lactalbumin, all of which are in milk and increase likelihood of acne may survive processing). Milk raises IGF-1 or insulin growth factor production with in the body. This in turn is related to acne in adult women.
High glycemic index foods. Foods with a high glycemic index (sugar) increase the production of insulin, this in turn stimulates the production of cells that produce sebum (oily substance meant to protect skin) called sebocytes. This in turn increases the production of oil (sebum) in the skin. If there is a proper balance of sebum your skin is healthy, too little and it is dry, too much and you can get pimples or acne. High glycemic index foods also lower the production of a protein that binds to sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen). This is sex hormone binding globulin (also called SHBG or sex steroid binding globulin) and it moves the hormones into the blood stream in an inactive form. High glycemic foods also increase concentrations of male sex hormones called androgens (testosterone and DHT or dihydrotestosterone). These are important to acne as there are receptor sites for these hormones in oil glands and at the base of skin pores’ lining (in the cells making up the pore). So, androgen hormones increase the production of sebum or oil, which can clog pore and feed bacteria, which can lead to acne. These all increase the likelihood of acne development. Sex hormone binding globulin or SHBG levels are known to lessen acne severity.
Acidic foods and saturated fats, processed grains, meat fats, refined sugar (15, Gremley 2015). Especially Avoid saturated fats as they increase IGF-1 and insulin (14, Spencer et al., 2009).
Eat fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, fiber, seaweed and antioxidants. These have been associated with lowering testosterone and androgen levels (15, Gremley, 2015). Eat more fiber and low-fat foods as these decrease IGF-1 or insulin and androgens while increasing SHBG (14, Spencer et al., 2009).
Vitamins: lower amounts of vitamin A are associated with increased risk of acne and inflammation. Vitamin A works as an anti-inflammatory, calming red, sore and swollen breakouts. It is needed for healthy skin as it helps dead skin cells to be slothed off, stopping pores from clogging.
Vitamin A is also needed in the production of red blood cells, a healthy immune system, good vision and overall health.
Sources: fruits and vegetables that are yellow and orange as well as spinach, sweet potatoes and cod liver oil. Get 10, 000 iu’s per day (seek appropriate medical consultation before starting this).
Weight: Further, in better human studies a connection was made between body composition, weight management, lowered hunger, and greater feelings of satiety, or fullness, and eating more Omega 3 fatty acids. So, Omega 3 fatty acids could act as a natural way to regulate appetite. In fact, supplementing with Omega 3s has proven to lower body weight in lean, overweight, and obese individuals as well as lessening obesity in obese individuals (1, Simopoulos, 2016).
This last may be confusing, but there is a scale for obesity (3 CDC): the BMI or body mass index is a calculation of high, age, sex and weight. BMI is correlated with more accurate measures of body fat. So, it gives an idea of how an individual’s weight impacts their health. A BMI lower than 18.5 is underweight; 18.5 to 24.9 is normal weight; 25 to 29.5 is overweight; 30 or more is obese, with obese 1 being 30 to 34.9, obese 2 being 35 to 39.9 and obese 3 being 40 or higher. The last is considered sever or extreme. Keep in mind that BMI is not completely accurate as muscle weights more than fat.
Regarding the absorption of Omega 3s and 6s, if the body is overwhelmed with Omega 6s then it will be less able to metabolize omega 3s. This is as the human body uses the same two enzymes to break down both types of Omega oils. These are fatty acid de-saturases or FADS2 and FADS1. Trans fats are also problematic in this way, blocking Omega 3s. Age negatively impacts the body’s ability to produce FADS, making it harder to synthesize these important nutrients from food (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Making things more complex is the fact that, dependent on genetics, a person’s body responds one of two ways to Omega 6s and Omega 3s. up to 80% of people of African descent, and 45% of people of European descent have this problem. These groups are at risk as they are genetically prone to maximizing the synthesis of AA from La and EPA from ALA. While ideally this would enhance health by making it easier for the body to produce enough of the nutrients it needs, in a world awash in Omega 6s it negatively impacts health. Excessive Omega 6s are correlated with a heightened risk of cancer, coronary heart disease or CHD, leptin resistance and metabolic syndrome as well as diabetes, obesity, and other heath problems (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Omega 6s produce molecules (called eicosanoid metabolic products) which are important in cell signalling. They are important to many things including magnitude of pain, blood pressure, cell growth, reproduction (spontaneous miss carriage and labour), controlling blood flow in tissues and in immunity, (starting and stopping inflammation, fever, allergy responses etc.). These molecules are produced in the membranes of all or most cells in the body (1 Simopoulos, 2016). Too many 6s can lead to cardiovascular disease, immune problems and illness, heightened pain, and inflammatory problems. Keep in mind that inflammation causes arthritis, heart disease and depression, as well as being associated with diabetes and thyroid problems.
Omega 6s and 3s balance one another out. Omega 6 fatty acids are active even in small amounts, which may be good for health. In larger quantities they can become problematic causing inflammation, blood clotting in blood vessels, abdominal cramping, and the following cardio vascular related problems: blood viscosity or thickness, cell proliferation or growth (which may contribute to cancer), blood vessels suddenly constriction which reduces blood flow rate (called vasospasm), constriction of blood vessels which increased blood pressure (called vasoconstriction), and thickening of arterial walls (called atheroma’s), and blood clots (called thrombus) in some.
Inflammation/allergies: A balance between Omega three and Omega six fatty acids means less inflammation as a response to several biological reactions to potential allergens and inflammation antagonists. These are: gene expression (which genes are activated as a response to the environment), lipids that have hormone like effects (called prostaglandin), and allergic response activating lipids (called leukotriene metabolism) that increase asthma, rhinitis and other allergies, and other allergic and other inflammation responses to infections, called interleukin-1 production (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Arthritis (especially rheumatoid) related inflammation and pain is reduced by Omega 3s, while it is increased by Omega 6s (13, Horrocks & Yeo, 1999).
Cancer: Omega 3s are associated with reduced the growth, or proliferation, of cancer cells and tumours (13, Horrocks & Yeo, 1999). Conversely, growth/proliferation of cancer cells and tumours is increased by Omega 6s.
Diabetes: taking enough Omega 3s, especially DHA, is associated with a reduction in type II diabetes (13, Horrocks & Yeo, 1999).
Metabolic syndrome and liver disease: In an animal study subjects eating a diet high in fat and high in Omega 3s, but low in Omega 6s, is associated with increased energy, better metabolism of glucose, or blood sugar, and lipids, or fat in the blood. This diet also lowered inflammation, increased insulin signaling in the liver, lowered cholesterol and reduced the likelihood of developing liver disease. Interestingly, the diet eaten by the animal subjects in this study wasn’t lower in the number of calories eaten (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Weight management: Regarding human studies, in a study of normal weight women, the subjects’ intake and metabolism of Omega 3s and Omega 6s (tested with a blood test) showed that the Omega 3 fatty acid EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, was associated with a reduced likelihood of a long-term gain in weight, while Omega 6s (DGLA or dihomo y linolenic acid, LA, and GLA or Gamma linolenic acid) were associated with an increased likelihood of long-term weight gain.
An overabundance of Omega 6s, as well as a lack of Omega 3s, are contributors to obesity (1 Simopoulos, 2016). The last is especially important given the increase in overwaited and obese individuals. Omega 6 fatty acids can stop the process by which the body burns stored fat (white oedipal fat).
Metabolic syndrome: is a condition in which an individual experiences high blood pressure, high blood sugars, high triglycerides, and low levels of HDL or good cholesterol and has a waist measurement (circumference) of more than 40 inches or 102 cm for men and 35 inches or 88 cm for women. Metabolic syndrome can lead to many health problems (diabetes, stroke, hypertension, cardiovascular disease) and may contribute to dementia. One in five Canadian adults may suffer from this syndrome (10 MetSC) .
A diet high in sugar, coupled with a low level of Omega 3s, leads to insulin resistance and higher triglyceride (bad fat) levels that in turn cause memory problems (9 Agrawal et al., 2012)

(9 Agrawal et al., 2012)
Apatite and the endocannabinoid system: endocannabinoids are lipids made from Omega 6 fatty acid AA. Too much AA results in over production of endocannabinoid signals. Endocannabinoids activate endogenous cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the adipose (fat) tissues, the brain, the gastrointestinal tract, and the liver. If CB1 receptors are activated then the person or animal experiences an surge in appetite, resulting in more food than normal being consumed. The concentration or balance of endocannabinoids is regulated by the balance of Omega 6s to Omega 3s in the diet, as well as the activity of enzymes (biosynthetic and catabolic) that are integral to something called the endocannabinoid pathway working properly (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Adipose tissue: White fat can be positive to health as it is a way for the body to store energy and secrete hormones. But, too much white fat is associated with both obesity and metabolic disorders. It was recently found that brown fat cells are in white fat. These brown fat cells, when turned on, can use up or burn white fat by turning it into energy (thermogenesis) used for heating and cooling the body (2 Park, Kim, & Bae 2014).
In human studies having higher amounts of Omega 6s in blood taken from ambilocal cords was associated with increased fat or adipose tissue and higher than normal BMI or body mass index scores in the subjects, children, at three years of age (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Omega fatty acids are so important to health that in both animal and human studies they have proven to protect against obesity and might lesson continued weight gain in those who are already considered obese (1 Simopoulos, 2016). For instance, when obese animals were fed a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids they showed a decrease in a type of adipose fat called visceral fat. This type of fat is usually stored around the internal organs in the abdomen, including the intestines, liver, and pancreas. In the animals tested there was a reduction in fat in the following areas specifically: the white fat behind the testis, called epididymal fat; fat stored behind the abdomen cavity, called retroperitoneal fat; and fat in the peritoneum, which is the membrane lining of the abdomen and organs there of.
Regarding obesity, besides directly impacting fat burning, the Omega 3/6 ratio impacts hunger, food choices and weight in another way. Omega fatty acids can affect a system in the body called the endocannabinoid system. Omega 6 have a strong, potentially negative impact on this system. In an animal study increasing the dietary LA (an Omega 6) from 1% to 8% resulted in an increased production of endocannabinoids in the liver. This in turn lead to a greater risk of obesity regardless of a low-fat diet.
Supplementing with 6 grams of fish oil (for 3 weeks) resulted in a 22% increase in fat burning without exercise, called basal lipid oxidation. It is suggested that taking Omega 3 supplements can increase a person’s metabolic rate or metabolism long term (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Thyroid health: the thyroid gland to a great extent controls your metabolic rate or the speed at which your body burns calories. The thyroid also impacts energy levels and body temperature, immunity and sex drive.
The liver plays a pivotal role in thyroid health. The thyroid secretes two hormones, an inactive one called T4 or thyroxine and, in smaller amounts an active one T3, or triiodothyronine. T4 must be converted to T3 before it can be used. The liver does most (60%) of the conversion, with some help from muscles and kidneys (5 Ryan, M., 2014). Hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism are a worry when women transition into menopause. Omega 3 fatty acids may be a good natural treatment for thyroid problems. This is as in an animal study a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to increase production of thyroid hormones in the liver (4, Souza et al., 2010). The liver has a thyroid hormone receptor protein called TRB1, this was higher in the test subjects, who also had lower amounts of fat or lipids in the blood (4, Souza et al., 2010). The subjects who ate the Omega 3 diet also had more of an enzyme associate with increased thermogenesis or fat burning, as this enzyme is usually stimulated by T3 via TRB1 the researchers suggest that the thyroid hormone action is being enhanced by the Omega 3s. The enzyme is called hepatic mitochondrial glycerophospate dehydrogenase.
Furthermore, these animal subjects showed less weight gain, lower amounts of white Adipose fat accumulation around the abdomen, lower levels of cholesterol, and lower levels of triglycerides or bad fats.
Brain health: DHEA, a type of Omega 3 found in fish oil, is needed for normal brain functioning to be maintained such an extente that it impacts learning new things. It has a protective role regarding disease. For instance, in an Australian study of Multiple sclerosis, people at risk of being diagnosed with MS and who were put on a high Omega 3s (fish based, DHA specifically) were less likely to be diagnosed with MS related demyelination. This is when the fat coating the brain and spinal cord, called the myelin sheath, starts to disintegrate. The myelin helps neurones communicate by facilitating electrical impulses from one neuron to another 18, Hoare et al., 2016).
A lack of DHA can increase the likelihood of learning deficiencies. Low levels of Omega 3s in animal diets are associated with decreased amounts of DHA in brain phospholipids, and higher 2-AG (from AA). Supplementing the diets of animals deficient in Omega 3s for four weeks increased brain DHAs and a lowering of brain 2-AG and AA. As we age our brain begins to shrink (neuronal pruning). Omega 3s help may be prophylactic as a lack of them is associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s dementia (13, Horrocks & Yeo, 1999).
Keep in mind that while the brain will choose Omega 3s over other types of fats, the brain uses it up quickly, so these fats need to be replenished (13, Horrocks & Yeo, 1999).
Omega fatty acids and the endocannabinoid system:
Supplementation of animals with fish oil high in DHA for 4 weeks resulted in an increase in DHA levels in the brain, decrease (significant) in 2-AG in the brain and AA in the brain. This reversed the dysregulation of the cannabinoid system, improved sensitivity to insulin and a lowering of central body fat (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Regarding weight, the endocannabinoid system helps control appetite and metabolism or how fast a body burns energy. If this system becomes hyperactive weight gain and obesity may result. In animal models some endocannabinoids reinforced sweet tastes, and a desire for more sweet food. Some weight loss experiments have shown promise by targeting the endocannabinoid system.
Further, the consumption of too many Omega 6s and not enough Omega 3s can lead to a type of endocannabinoid signalling that results in other health problems besides weight gain. These are: inflammation, energy homeostasis and negative or distressing emotionality or mood (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Dysregulation of the cannabinoid system leads to increased body fat and insulin sensitivity. Animal studies have proven that this can be reversed with the addition of Omega 3s, and lowering of Omega 6s (1 Simopoulos, 2016).
Dementia: there is a link between low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids and age-related break down or slow down of signals between neurons in the glutamatergic system in the area of the brain called the hippocampus. Omega 3s are very important for the glutamatergic system to develop properly and to function optimally in adults (6 Grosso et al, 2014). Further, proinflammatory proteins (remember too much Omega 6 can cause this) is involved in cell signalling disrupt the central nervous system in a manner associated with depression. They change the way serotonin is used and lower the brains ability to grow or regenerate, called synaptic plasticity and can contribute to brain shrinkage or neurodegeneration (6, Grosso et al, 2014).
Anxiety and Depression: Omega 3s have been shown to treat inflammation, which is now known as a cause of depression. Omega 3s inflammation, improve the brain’s ability to use glucose, help neurons to function better and lower the production of stress hormone cortisol. All of these factors, if unchecked, are associated with depression. These factors may be why two human studies have shown that Omega 3s have antidepressant like effects (11, Lin & Su, 2007). Omega 3s may affect depression in a short period of time, as low as three weeks. A small study, involving 20 people, with 10 taking Omega 3 and 10 taking a sugar pill, showed that after 21 days of supplementation 67% of the active treatment group were no longer depressed according to the Beck Depression Inventory. This was in comparison to 20% of the placebo, or sugar pill, group (12, Ginty & Conklin, 2015).
people who take Omega 3 fatty acids, and lower their intake of Omega 6 fatty acids, report lower levels of anxiety.
Depression is related to a decrease in the brain’s ability to properly metabolise glucose or sugar, here low sugar consumption has been found in many areas of the brain associated with depression. People who are depressed tend to have an increased activity of the glutamatergic system and a reduction in activity in this system has an antidepressant like affect (6 Grosso et al, 2014).
The right ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids, from fish oil, coupled with a lowering of Omega 6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory and hinder Omega 3 metabolism, has been shown to work as a treatment for depression (primary). Here it is advised that 60% of the fish oil be EPA and 40% DHA, with a dose of 200 to 2,200 mg per day (6 Grosso et al, 2014). Proinflammatory proteins involved in cell signalling disrupt the central nervous system in a manner associated with depression. They change the way serotonin is used and lower the brains ability to grow or regenerate, called synaptic plasticity and can contribute to brain shrinkage or neurodegeneration (6, Grosso et al, 2014).
A lack of Omega 3 fatty acids is connected to an increase in production of the stress hormone cortisol (made from CRH or corticotropin release hormone) and produced in (a stress galvanizing over active) HPA axis or Hypothalamus, pituitary adrenal axis. Omega 3s lesson the production of cortisol by modulating or changing the amount of cortisol being moved through the blood-brain barrier. This helps to calm down (or normalize) the HPA axis (6, Grosso et al, 2014).
Fish oil and Omega 3 fatty acids specifically, may help prevent, and treat, depression in part because they help to facilitate the “metabolism, release, uptake, and receptor function” of serotonin and dopamine cells. They also help to control or regulate the way neurons transmit signals in areas of the brain that are often dysfunctional in depressed people. (Omega 3’s improve “G protein mediated signal transduction, membrane bound enzymes, and protein kinase C system” (6 Grosso et al, 2014, pg. 12). In an animal study, when the subjects were feed Omega 3s (which they had previously been deprived of) resulted in a 40% Growth in dopamine levels in the frontal cortex (a brain region negatively affected by depression) and an improvement in dopamine D2 receptor binding (6 Grosso et al, 2014). In human studies, it was found that lower levels of Omega 3’s could act as a predictor of suicidal behaviour (over 2 years) and a study of pregnant women’s blood found that high plasma, or blood, levels of Omega 3s overall, coupled with a ratio of low 6s/3s were associated with low rates of depression (6 Grosso et al, 2014). People who are vulnerable to depression may want to take no less than 650 mg per day of fish oil (6 Grosso et al, 2014).
Stress: The right balance of Omega 3s to 6s helps ameliorate the affects of prolonged stress on the nervous system. (6 Grosso et al, 2014). A lack of Omega 3 fatty acids is connected to an increase in production of the stress hormone cortisol (made from CRH or corticotropin release hormone) and produced in (a stress galvanizing over active) HPA axis or Hypothalamus, pituitary adrenal axis. Omega 3s lesson the production of cortisol by modulating or changing the amount of cortisol being moved through the blood-brain barrier. This helps to calm down (or normalize) the HPA axis (6, Grosso et al, 2014).
Premenstrual syndrome: in a small human study after 45 days of taking Omega 3’s the test group reported much lower rates of anxiety, depression severity, lack of ability to concentrate, and bloating than the control group. Also, the test group had fewer days of reported bloating and depression. After 3 months (90days) the average reported severity of the following decreased markedly: anxiety, bloating, depression, lack of concentration, and nervousness, and the duration of the following had lowered: anxiety, bloating, breast tenderness, depression, headache, lack of concentration, nervousness (7 Sohrabi, et al., 2013).
Foods and supplements:
Foods to eat to improve an Omega 6/3 balance (1 Simopoulos, 2016):
Wild fish, ideally fatty fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel (from lakes, oceans and rivers) eaten two or more times a week, eggs from free range chickens or feed with omega 3 rich foods like flaxseed, fishmeal and walnuts (and its oil). Also, the following oils: chia, flax, perilla, and rapeseed. Also, those high in monounsaturated oils: hazel, high monounsaturated sunflower, macadamia nut, olive.
Foods to remove from the diet: vegetable oils like corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and soybean.
Take the supplement lecithin with fish oil to increase the amount of active Omega 3s and decrease Omega 6s in the body (8 van Wijk, et al., 2016). It is advised that 60% of the fish oil be EPA and 40% DHA, with a dose of 200 to 2,200 mg per day (6 Grosso et al, 2014).

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