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Omega-3s, From the Sea to Your Smoothie

By on April 8, 2016
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Is your smoothie missing something? Chances are your morning meal could use a healthy addition of omega-3s. Cod liver oil contains four key nutrients for health. 

Cod liver oil has been taken as an elixir for general wellness since the mid-1800s. But the cod liver oil that our grandparents gulped is not what is sold today. Today’s stringent processing and purifying techniques equate to a finished product that tastes delicious and is highly nutritious.  

So what makes cod liver oil so health supportive? Most notably, it’s a concentrated food containing several essential nutrients to human health. These include DHA, EPA, vitamin A and vitamin D. An added value is that because cod liver oil is a fat, the fat soluble nutrients, namely vitamin A and D, are better utilized and absorbed by the body than when taken without a fat. This synergistic combination of nutrients is exactly what mother nature intended.  

DHA and EPA are the two most recognized and studied constituents of omega-3s. Omega-3s are considered essential because your body needs to obtain them through diet or supplementation. Omega-3s are building blocks for cell membranes in the body, and key components of the brain, eyes, and heart. Omega-3 fatty acids support: cardiovascular health, brain and nerve health, vision health, immune system health, joint health  and skin health.
Both DHA and EPA are present in nearly equal amounts in liquid cod liver oil. Our bodies rely on each of them; however, they offer unique benefits. 

DHA is found primarily in the retina of the eye and in the brain. It supports brain, nervous system, and vision health. The International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) recommends that pregnant and lactating women get at least 200 mg of DHA per day. This supports the child’s developing brain and nervous system.

EPA supports healthy cardiovascular and immune systems, a balanced inflammatory response, and joint health, and is shown to be effective in lowering elevated triglycerides. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 2 to 4 grams of EPA and DHA for elevated triglycerides. Recent studies also link EPA to emotional health, including depression and other mood related disorders. 

Vitamin A is necessary for proper vision, healthy skin, strong bones, and a resilient immune system. When the body is deficient in vitamin A, the eyes begin to lose their ability to adapt to light changes resulting in what we refer to as ‘night blindness.’ Another fundamental role of vitamin A is the formation, maintenance, and growth of skin, which forms the body’s first line of defense. 

Vitamin D is an important nutrient that many people are deficient in. More and more health professionals are suggesting their patients get tested for vitamin D deficiency. Sunscreen, limited sun exposure, dark skin pigment, and age can all impact one’s ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun. People must often rely on supplementation to ensure adequate intake. 

Vitamin D is involved in many bodily processes. It is essential in bone health with it’s role in assisting in calcium metabolism. Higher concentrations of vitamin D in the blood are associated with strong bones and good health. Vitamin D is involved in supporting a healthy immune system. It activates antimicrobial peptides which work at fighting off a wide range of infections. 

A serving a day of cod liver oil is an easy and effective way to add a healthy dose of DHA, EPA, vitamin A, and vitamin D to your diet and nutrient regime. 

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