For many years, women have gone out of their way to consume a certain omega 6 essential fatty acid found in borage oil (24% GLA), evening primrose oil (EPO, 9% GLA) and others. The essential fatty acid is gamma linoleic acid (GLA).
The benefits of this nutrient are numerous and long-established. They include helping with premenstrual syndrome, hormone synthesis, healthy blood pressure, weight loss and joint function as well as improving the condition of your hair, skin and nails. How much to consume and in what ratio to the omega 3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, on the other hand, is somewhat controversial.
Now in a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers have helped to clarify this matter and prove another major benefit.
In this study, 31 healthy women were assigned to one of four groups:
- Group One received only 4 grams daily of EPA/ DHA,
- Group Two received 4 grams of EPA/DHA along with 1 gram of GLA (ratio 4:1)
- Group Three was given 4 grams of EPA/DHA with 2 grams of GLA (ratio 4:2)
- Group Four was given equal amounts of EPA/ DHA along with GLA (4 grams each, ratio 4:4).
The study was conducted for a total of four weeks. It was found that those women who took essential fatty acids in the ratio of 4:2 and 4:4 (groups 3 & 4) had a tendency of reduction of LDL cholesterol of approximately 12% over the 4 week study.
When researchers used statistical analysis, it was estimated that the ideal combination of the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids lowered the risk of myocardial infarction over a ten year period by up to 43%. This is absolutely amazing when you consider the low cost and safety of these products.
We hear a lot about men’s risk of heart disease, but more women die each year from heart disease (over ½ million) than men. The risk of women suffering from and dying due to heart disease is far greater than dying from all forms of cancer combined and many times greater than death from breast cancer.
Over the last several years there have also been multiple studies published in the medical literature indicating that fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids – EPA & DHA) can reduce the risk of heart disease including sudden death. In a study published last summer in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition researchers have found that the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil may improve cardiovascular function by keeping your arteries flexible.
Other studies have proven the benefits of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s) for improving mood and promoting healthy vision.
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