Fish is central to what we do at SPECIFIC™. However we use a range of ingredients all carefully selected to provide the appropriate nutrition.
There are many reasons why fish is healthy but the single most important of these are the high levels of naturally occurring Omega-3 fatty acids. Here we aim to explain what they are and how they help.
Why does Omega-6 and Omega-3 need to be balanced?
Bodies need a balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 in order to help control the bodies inflammatory response.
Eicosanoids are signalling molecules that control a number of bodily systems mainly in the area of inflammation and immunity.
Eicosanoids derive from either Omega-3 or Omega-6 fatty acids with the eicosanoids from Omega-6 causing inflammation.
Because the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids both use the same enzymes and transport systems a strong presence of Omega-3 EPA derived eicosanoids will help block the production of Omega-6 inflammatory eicosanoids.
The discovery of the benefits of Omega-3
In the early 1900s dietary fat was seen as nothing more than a simple source of calories. In 1929 George and Mildred Burr discovered that they played a much more critical role in health with a deficiency of these fats often leading to death. They identified linoleic acid as an essential fatty acid and coined the phrase “essential fatty acids.”
In the 1980s a number of studies identified that Greenland Innuits had lower levels of heart disease than their Danish neighbours and identified the reason for this as being the high levels of Omega-3 they gained in their diets of fish, seal and whale blubber. (Kromann and Green 1980) (Bjerregaard and Dyeberg 1988).
In 1982 the Swedish team of Bergstrom and Samuelsson and the Briton John Vane won the Nobel Prize for their work in identifying that it was the part played by eicosanoids from Omega-3 that delivered the many health benefits.
The dietary benefits of Omega-3
Brain and eye development: DHA Omega-3 fatty acids are the primary structural component of the brain and retina and plays a key role in building brain cell membranes; reducing brain inflammation, and the promotion of new brain cell formation. DHA Omega-3 accounts for more than one-third of the fatty acids in the retina and is believed to be essential for development of the retina.
Coat and skin condition: By inhibiting the production of inflammatory eicosanoids – Omega-3 from fish oils can help improve skin condition. Also Fish oils promote the production of sebum, an oily waxy substance that lubricates, giving supple skin and coating the hair with a protective oily layer to give it a shine.
Joint Mobility: Key to joint pain is degradation of the Cartilage. In a normal healthy body the ends of bones, where they meet at the joints, are coated with Cartilage, a smooth rubber like tissue. This cartilage protects the ends of the bones and provides shock absorption allowing for easy movement of the joints.
Cartilage is constantly broken down and replaced and, in a healthy body, the rate of rebuild matches that of breakdown.
However if the rate of rebuild is slowed, by factors such as old age, disease or genetics, or the rate of breakdown too high, as a result of factors such as vigorous exercise or excess weight, then the cartilage layer between the 2 bones is degraded allowing the ends of the bones to move over each other resulting in pain, irritation and inflammation.
By inhibiting the production of inflammatory eicosanoids Omega-3 from fish oils can help with the inflammation