Omega 3 and Menopause
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that plays a major role in improving your menopausal transition and also your general health. (Essential means you must consume this ingredient in your diet, as your body can not manufacture it.)
There are 3 forms of Omega 3
- ALA - alpha linolenic acid
- EPA - eicosapentaenoic acid
- DHA - docosahexaenoic acid
ALA is sourced from plants eg flaxseeds, seabuckthorn, soybeans, canola, chia seeds, walnuts. It may have a cardioprotective effect and a cancer preventative effect (breast and colorectal) but its main benefit is its ability to be converted to EPA or DHA in the right conditions. This is limited by many standard things at this stage of life like:
- Excess Omega 6
- A deficiency of co-factors like Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Zinc, and Magnesium
- The presence of trans-fatty acids (deep-fried and man-made fats)
- Excess insulin
- Lack of estrogen
EPA and DHA are found in animal products (fish, krill, grass feed beef) and in some species of algae.
Benefits of EPA and DHA:
- EPA may reduce the frequency of hot flushes (but may not change the intensity)
- they may reduce menstrual pain by reducing the inflammatory prostaglandins that cause cramping like pain
- may help reduce vaginal dryness
- its need for the development of a healthy phospholipid membrane, every cell in your body need this to allow nutrition into the cell and expel toxins out
- energy production
- production of signaling molecules within the body
- insulation of your nerves
- it maintains the elasticity of the arteries, reduces blood pressure, prevents blood clots, stabilises heart rhythm, helps maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system
- reduces inflammation in your joints and may help increase joint mobility
- reduces inflammation in your brain, can help to improve moods and cognition. It may also reduce symptoms of ADHD
- may play a role in weight management
- may have a cancer-protective effect against breast and colorectal cancer
- may help improve respiration especially in inflammatory conditions like asthma and cystic fibrosis
- may help prevent or delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration, as DHA is a structural component in the retina and EPA reduces retinal inflammation
- may reduce and relieve dry eye syndrome
Omega 3 and Omega 6 work in opposition to each other in the body. While Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory, Omega 6 is pro-inflammatory. Omega 3 reduces blood clots and Omega 6 encourages blood clot formations.
Omega 6 is needed for wound healing, but in today's society, we have far too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3 and this is one of the reasons we have so many chronic inflammatory health conditions.
Did you know you can test your Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio? It's called a Holman test or an Omega index or Omega 3 to 6 ratio test.
WARNING with Omega 3 supplementation
- If you are supplementing with oils, always take them with food.
- Speak to your doctor first if you are taking blood-thinning medication such as warfarin.