Study finds EPA/DHA appear to combat the bad effects of obesity
Omega-3s kick butt.
Some 40 years ago, a Danish researcher named Dr. Jorn Dyerberg wondered why the Inuit of Greenland, whose diet was largely animal fat, had almost no heart disease. He found that the Inuit had a much higher concentration of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA in their blood than the rest of us.
Since then, research into these life-saving fatty acids has exploded, confirming that omega-3s provide widespread benefits to everything from brain function to cleaner veins. The most recent study1 again focused on an indigenous population, this time the Yup’ik Eskmos of Alaska. The researchers studied 330 Yup’iks, average age 45, who were overweight or obese.
The Yup’ik have an obesity rate similar to the rest of the US population, but less than half of the rate of diabetes. Diabetes is so related to obesity that most people in the field have taken to naming the condition “diabesity.”
But the Eskimos eat 20 times more omega-3-rich fish than the rest of us, and the researchers seem pretty convinced (they are always a cautious bunch when publishing their findings) that this explains why even though these Eskimos are obese, most have “normal” levels of triglycerides and C-reactive proteins in their blood, inflammatory agents that are strongly associated with heart disease and diabetes.
And … the ones with lower levels of EPA/DHA had much higher levels of triglycerides and C-reactive proteins.
So, yup, the omega-3s appeared to protect the Indians from some of the harmful effects of obesity.
Fat or thin, if you haven’t gotten the message yet, get with it and get some omega-3 supplements into your daily routine. Best sources: krill oil ,fish oil and algal oil.
You may also be able to increase your intake of cold-water fish (they have the most DHA/EPA), but do try to buy wild-caught fish. The farmed fish are of dubious safety.
1. Z. Makhoul, et al. “Associations of obesity with triglycerides and C-reactive protein are attenuated in adults with high red blood cell eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids;” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.39)