Who Benefits from Fat and Oil Supplements? - dummies

Who Benefits from Fat and Oil Supplements?

By Christopher Hobbs, Elson Haas

All fats in foods have their place in your diet when you eat them in their whole natural state in flax seeds, fresh fish, and whole corn. If you have a perfect diet without foods cooked with fats, you may not need supplements.

If you suffer symptoms that may relate to a fat and oil imbalance in your body, particularly related to chronic inflammation, you may well benefit from a supplement. Here are some of the better supplementary sources of fats and oils.

  • Evening primrose oil: Evening primrose oil (EPO) is extracted from the tiny seeds of the evening primrose plant. EPO contains gammalinoleic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that your body uses to produce important hormone-like regulators in your body called prostaglandins. Practitioners may recommend 250 to 400 mg of GLA or 2,000 of 3,000 mg of evening primrose oil daily to treat the following problems:

    • A weakened immune system

    • Allergies

    • Arthritis

    • Atherosclerosis

    • Fibrocystic breast disease

    • Multiple sclerosis

    • Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis

    • Sore breasts or other symptoms of premenstual syndrome (PMS)

  • EPA and DHA: Extensive scientific research (the omega-3 fatty acids, also called n-3 fatty acids, which include EPA and DHA) shows that these good fats help produce substances called prostaglandins that regulate inflammation in your body. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce blood thickness and lowers blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lessening the risk heart disease. EPA and DHA are used to help treat the following symptoms:

    • Bronchial asthma

    • Cardiac arrhythmia

    • Diabetes

    • Gastric ulcers

    • High blood pressure

    • High cholesterol and triglyceride levels

    • Inflammatory bowel diseases (colitis and Crohn’s disease)

    • Migraine headaches

    • Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis

    • Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis

    DHA and EPA come in capsule form, in a fish oil product in capsules, or in a liquid form, which you can sprinkle on food or in beverages. Omega-3 fatty acids typically occur in oily, cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna, eel, mackerel, sardines, herring, and trout.

    Take 1,000 to 2,000 mg, twice daily, of EPA and DHA for therapeutic use for allergies, asthma, and arthritis. For normal maintenance, the suggested dose is 300 to 500 mg, and much of this can come from eating oily fish. Some researchers recommend taking a balance of DHA and EPA, along with vitamin E. (You can take 1,000 to 2,500 mg daily of Salmon Oil or Max EPA to maintain a balance between the two.)

  • Flaxseed oil: Flaxseed oil is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, but it should not be used in cooking, because it is highly perishable. Because DHA is found mainly in meat, especially fish, vegetarians get little or no DHA in their diets.

    Flaxseed oil can be used to help treat some of the same diseases and symptoms as DHA and EPA, especially skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis, and chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

    Some practitioners recommend flaxseed meal or high-lignin flaxseed oil as a useful adjunct to hormone replacement therapy because EFAs seem to control some of the adverse symptoms of menopause.

    Suggested amounts are two to four teaspoons, up to two tablespoons per day, or five to six capsules of flaxseed oil.