I did it!

I completed the 90 day challenge…

Guess how many days it took me?

?????

I knew you all were super smart πŸ™‚

The 90 day challenge I’m referring to here is the Coromega 90 Day Fish Oil Challenge where I had my omega 3 fatty acid levels tested…took fish oil for 90 days…then had my omega 3 levels re-tested.

Here’s how it all went down…

Last August I was asked if I wanted to participate in the challenge. Having taken fish oil in the past to help with symptoms of my Sjogren’s Syndrome, along with knowing how important it is from a health and nutrition standpoint {much more on this later in my post} to get more omega 3 fatty acids in one’s diet, I decided to participate in the challenge.

{Full disclosure: I received 2 free Holman Omega # Test Kits and a 90 day supply of fish oil from Coromega. My opinions on these products are entirely my own and were in no way influenced by Coromega.}

For those of you unfamiliar with Coromega here’s a little info…

  • Made from fish oil {from small, deep, cold water fish} that has been molecularly distilled for purity, Coromega Squeeze is a patented emulsified form of omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA.
  • The proprietary formula offers superior bioavailability, providing 300 percent better omega-3 absorption than fish oil capsules. {See study here.}
  • Manufactured in a GMP compliant facility, tested by third party labs and certified by NSF and consumerlab.com
  • Products for adults, kids, and moms-to-be in single serve pouches AND coming soon in The Big Squeeze.

So, what does all this mean, and why are omega-3’s so important?

First, let’s take a look at my before and after Omega 3 lab results…

EA’s Coromega 90 Day Challenge

 

My results pre -supplementation

My results post- supplementation

Typical USA

Optimal

Total Omega 3 Score (%)

6.0

9.1

4.8

>9

EPA (%)

0.7

1.9

0.6

>3

DHA (%)

2.8

4.6

2.6

>4

% Omega 3 in HUFA

25

41

24

>50

Total Omega 6 Score (%)

40.9

32.3

39.0

<38

Omega 6/Omega 3 Ratio

6.8:1

3.5:1

8.11:1

<5.1:1

Before I go over my results, just a quick little essential fatty acid primer here…

  • Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, are essentially essential fatty acids.  While technically, ALA {see more below} can be converted in the body to EPA and DHA, then conversion rate is very low.  It’s estimated that 5-10 % of ALA is converted to EPA and only 2-5 % to DHA.  Food sources of EPA and DHA are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, cod, sardines, mackerel, lake trout, and tuna. DHA is also supplied by algal sources.
  • ALA is another essential omega 3 fatty acid and is abundant in foods such as flax seeds, chia seed, and walnuts.  These are super healthy foods, and ALA is definitely important in the diet, however from a research perspective, EPA and DHA are the two omega 3 fatty acids thought to be responsible for most of the health benefits I’ll be sharing with you later.
  • Omega 6 fatty acids {found in vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, and grape seed} are also considered to be essential to the diet, however, especially with a typical Western diet, we get way more of these than we need which can lead to inflammation in the body.
  • The key to good health, is to get a good balance of these essential fatty acids in the diet, and for most of us this mean s getting more omega 3’s from fish, algal sources, and/or supplements, AND by consuming fewer foods that are high in omega 6’s.

So, getting back to my results, I was disappointed, although not completely surprised, to see my initial results, although better than average, were all below optimal levels.

Disappointed because I eat a pretty healthy diet and try and not eat too much fat in the form of omega 6 fatty acids {as evident by my omega 6 levels which were ALMOST optimal at the start!}, but not surprised because I hadn’t been taking my fish oil supplements for a long while, and I really don’t eat that much fish on a regular basis.

I know…

Bad dietitian!

{In my defense, my kids have not  really developed their tastes for fish, YET, and since I don’t want to be a short order cook at home, i.e. my kids eat pretty much the same meals as us or they don’t eat, fish is not often on the menu for dinner.}

Anyways, back to my results and the interpretation…

After 90 days taking Coromega, I was excited to see my total omega 3’s, DHA, total omega 6’s, and omega 6 to omega 3 ratio all at optimal levels.

And, the great thing about this was that it was achieved by taking only 1 packet of Coromega {350 mg EPA and 230 mg DHA} per day.

There are many high quality sources of fish oil on the market these days, but what I especially like about Coromega is the ability to raise omega 3 levels to desirable ranges, with a relatively low dose, due to the increased absorption over fish oil capsules. {Note: Although convenient, I didn’t care so much for all the packaging involved with the single serve Coromega packets, so I’m very excited to see that the more eco- friendly Big Squeeze will be available soon!}

On the other hand, my % omega 3 in HUFA {aka The Lands Test, which is used to predict coronary heart disease mortality based upon the percentage of omega-3’s in total highly unsaturated fatty acids} was improved, but still below optimal, as was my EPA level.

So, what does this all mean to me, and to you?

Well, as I alluded to earlier, there are a whole host of health benefits conferred by omega 3’s, particularly EPA and DHA.

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find another nutrient with so much research behind it

Here are just a few…

  • Promotes cardiovascular health via decreasing triglycerides,blood pressure, and possibly cholesterol.  Also acts as a blood thinner.
  • May act as an adjuvant treatment for depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Can help with symptoms of stiffness seen in Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions.
  • May lower the risk of developing age related macular degeneration.
  • Possible improvement in behavior and thinking skills children with ADHD
  • May aid in weight loss and blood sugar management in overweight people and people with high blood pressure.

I could go on, but instead I will share some links with you at the end of this post on the benefits of omega 3’s to review at your leisure…

As for myself, my goal is to get my EPA and %Omega 3 in HUFA levels up to optimal levels up to optimal by continuing taking Coromega daily ALONG with increasing my intake of fatty fish to a minimum of 1 x per week.

I figure I’ll offer up a few more fishy meals to my kids, but, also plan on getting my omega 3’s in for a lunch when I am eating by myself.

Here are just a few of my ideas…

  • Eating more sardines {on gluten-free crackers with goat cheese-yum!} for a snack.
  • This salmon and veggie stir fry looks fabulous.
  • Love grilled salmon marinated in gluten-free tamari, lime juice, honey and minced garlic.  Make ahead then serve on a salad for lunch.  Super yum!
  • These Salmon Corny Cakes {with gluten-free bread crumbs} from the Meal Makeover Moms might just entice my kiddos to eat some salmon!
  • Make more of these yummy quinoa cakes with smoked fish!

There’s so much great information out there on omega 3’s and health that I can not possibly cover here in one post, so if your interested in learning more about this topic, I urge you to check out the following links:

  • Dietitian Evelyn Tribole has a lot of great information on her website regarding omega 3’s and health and the role of omega 6’s on inflammation.
  • Gretchen Vannice, MS, RD specializes in omega-3 fat research.  You can learn more about omega 3’s via her blog and links here.
  • Web MD has some great information regarding the research, use, dosing, and safety of fish oil supplements.
  • I posted about omega 3’s and mood disorders last September.  See my post here.
  • For which species of fish are the best choices to eat in terms of safety and sustainability check out the Monterrey Bay Seafood Watch website.

And if your curious about finding out what your own omega-3 and omega-6 levels are, click here to learn more about how you can take the 90 Day Challenge!