Many studies suggest oral administration of a supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acid before surgery may improve preoperative and postoperative inflammatory and immune responses in patients. It is for this reason, why practically all cardiac surgery patients in Europe leave the hospital with a prescription for omega-3 fish oil. It seems that one of the many omega-3 health benefits is the anti-inflammatory effects of fatty acid from fish. Patients who fill their prescriptions, enjoy reduced levels of postoperative inflammatory responses.
This is not so In the Unites States, where omega-3 fish oil is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a nutritional supplement. And because of this ruling, doctors would hardly consider fish oil a powerful enough drug worth recommending to their patients. They would generally prescribe expensive and sometimes dangerous drugs that got the blessings of the FDA. This occurs despite established presurgical and postsurgical improvements seen in patients who ingest fatty fish nutrition.
But this western attitude toward fish oil may be changing, due to the positive benefits revealed by many studies. These research studies show that omega-3 fatty acid reduce inflammation, hereby decreasing risk factors associated heart disease, arthritis and cancer. It is precisely these benefits that influenced the American College of Cardiology to go public in support of omega-3 for cardiac surgery patients.
Sources of Omega-3
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids found in foods. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The body converts ALA, found in plant foods, to EPA and DHA. These two types of omega-3 fatty acids are more readily used by the body. The richest sources of omega-3 are cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and sardines. The best plant sources are flax-seeds, walnuts, tofu and soybeans, canola oil, and dark leaf vegetables.
A Japanese study suggests surgical improvement not only from postoperative ingestion of fatty fish nutrition, but also from preoperative oral administration of supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
A German study at ST Josef Hospital in Bachum produced similar results. Clinical trials revealed intravenous administration of omega-3 fatty acid increased levels of omega-3 in tissue, producing an anti-inflammatory effect, and other benefits.
Another clinical trial in Germany, this time in Dresden, at University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, which compared the benefits of omega-3 (fish oils, olive oils) and omega-6 (meat oils, soy and vegetable oils). Test results showed the omega-3 group was much healthier than the omega-6 comparison group. Omega-6 may cause infection of liver and kidney.
The study conducted by Department of surgery at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland concluded that omega-3 fatty acid infusion significantly reduced the infarct size.
Following cardiac surgery, there is significant loss of bone mineral density especially in men. Omega-3 fatty acid seems to influence bone formation by improving calcium metabolism. This is revealed in a study conducted by Dr. Larry E. Miller, of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and colleagues. They evaluated changes in bone mineral and body composition in 26 men, between the ages of 50 and 79 years, who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).
Gallbladder Surgery or Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Just because a doctor may find gallstones during a routine examination via ultrasound, CT Scan or other diagnostic test, does not mean that you must remove your gallbladder. Medical technology has made this surgery so convenient, its has become almost routine. Gallbladder surgery tops the list as the highest number of surgeries done in the United States.
So don’t let your doctor talk you into unnecessary surgery, unless you have severe symptoms that warrant surgery. The gallbladder provides a function, some health care providers may deem unnecessary, but none the less a system function, which when no longer in place, causes a malfunction.
The sole purpose of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is produced in the liver, and aids in the digestion of fats in the small intestines.
Studies have shown that surgery is not the immediate answer to gallbladder symptoms. Eating certain foods can trigger a gallbladder attack. By avoiding the intake of foods that are rich in fats, processed foods that contain saturated fats, can reduce gallbladder symptoms. A diet rich in omega-3 not only prevents the formation of gallstones, but controls inflammation and fixes any existing problems of the gallbladder. So you can definitely live with gallstones by controlling the symptoms.
More Omega-3 Benefits
By increasing the amount of omega-3 in your diet, and decreasing omega-6, you may allow a certain group of cholesterol lowering drugs, including Lipitor, Zocor and Mevacor to work more effectively.
Animal studies show omega-3 is also effective in lowering the risk of peptic ulcers cause by inflammatory drugs, including Motrin, Advil and Naprosyn. Research is progressing on human reaction in this area.
Omega-3 can be a booster for people suffering from depression. Fatty acid works much like prescription medication to improve mood. It even goes a step further in treating bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Omega-3 can even slow down the aging process, by improving those conditions that make you look and feel old. Fish oil has proven to help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, cognitive impairment or dementia and memory loss.
Omega-3 and Sexual Health
Omega-3 also enhances sexual drives, in the male as well as female, by way of the heart. There is a true saying, “whatever is good for the heart, is also good for the genitals.” There is enough evidence out there that shows the positive effects of omega-3 fish oil to cardiovascular functions. The Tyson gland, located in the corona of the penis, provides lubrication during sexual intercourse. The fatty acid of the Tyson gland that provides this lubrication is the same fatty acid found in fish oil.
The gland needs an adequate daily supply of fatty acid to continue normal functions. Since the body cannot manufacture its own omega-3, it has to come from food or fish oil supplements. Two capsules of 500mg a day is the right dosing for a normal healthy male to keep the Tyson gland adequately supplied with fatty acid.
But just don’t take any kind of fish oil. The omega-3 supplement you consume should be of pharmaceutical grade, purified, and free of toxins. Our streams, lakes, rivers and oceans are contaminated because of dumping. High levels of mercury in fish oil can be dangerous to your health, and may even cause brain damage.
If you chose to take non-pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement, remember that there is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety. If you experience any side effects consult a physician immediately.
A word of caution. Omega-3 can interfere with the blood clotting mechanism if you are taking blood thinning medications, including aspirin and ibuprofen. Consult with your physician before taking omega-3 fatty acid if you consume any of these medications regularly.
©Copyright (2011) MS Health Reporter All Rights Reserved.