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Are Essential Fatty Acids and Omega-3 Fatty Acids Safe? Should You Take A Supplement?

Have you read the latest studies on the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids and Essential Fatty Acids? Maybe someone told you to start taking them, maybe even your doctor, but did they tell you anything about them?

by Ed Scow, NSCA-CPT (aka The Fit Dad) - Fitness and Nutrition Expert to the true superheroes - busy Moms and Dads! and Author of Fat Loss To Go

I’m sure you know by now the importance of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) in your diet.

They have a whole host of benefits ranging from help in weight loss, brain function, skin, hair and nail health as well as the development of babies (both unborn and newborns via breast milk or some formulas).

I’m sure you also know that you can get EFAs from different sources – fatty fish like salmon, ground flax seed or flax oil, free range eggs and beef are just a few sources.

But do you know some of the myths and safety concerns associated with essential fatty acids, more commonly referred to as Omega-3 fatty acids?

One thing that I’m quick to point out to my clients who ask which brand they should take is that they should do their research – both via the web as well as really scouring the label for the truth.Are Omega-3 fatty acids safe?

When I go through drug stores or big box stores like Target, I like to head for their supplement aisle to see what they have. Most of these stores have the same brands and it seems as though half the aisles are taken up by EFA’s, Omega-3 only, ALA, “fish oil”, etc. and many of them have deceptive claims on the front of the bottle.

Some have labels where it says “Fish Oil” in giant letters, which leads you to believe that it’s chock full of the good stuff…the essential fatty acids you’re looking for.

Below the giant letters it may say “3000 mg”, which is equal to 3 g, which is what’s recommended in some circles.

Fine and dandy, you say and pick up the bottle because the price is right and you feel good about yourself.

What you didn’t notice, however, was that while each serving does in fact contain 3g of “fish oil” the actual amount of EFA is much, much lower – more around 750 mg.

What’s the rest? Fat.

So there’s one pointer – make sure you never trust the front of the bottle and always turn it over and read the breakdown.

What you may also have never thought of is the soruce of the fish being used for the Omega-3 fatty acids.

I’m a big believer that we should consume fatty fish on a regular basis (salmon, etc.) but there’s a HUGE difference between wild salmon and farm rasied salmon. One of the big differences being the little fishies’ diet. The farm raised fishies get fed like farm raised cattle which includes a lot of stuff they aren’t going to eat in the wild.

What’s the big deal you ask?good source of essential fatty acid

Their fat content is different, which means you won’t get as much of the good stuff because it just isn’t there.

There are also safety concerns in eating too much of the fish.

I recommend a mixture of sources to make sure you have a balanced means of getting your EFAs.

I supplement with Prograde’s EFA Icon, which comes from a little shrimp-like creature called Krill.

I also throw a couple servings of ground flax seed in my smoothies every morning and try to get a serving or two of quality cold-water fish (salmon, halibut) on a weekly basis.

I also make sure I eat enough green veggies, which also have some EFAs. Broccoli, spinach and cauliflower (while not green) are all great sources.

And of course there’s the nuts – walnuts and almonds, which are both awesome sources…just make sure they’re plain and not perverted with toppings.

Like I said, I don’t recommend you relying on any one source for your Essential Fatty Acids, and I definitely recommend paying attention to the source.

If you’re going to get it from fish – make sure you pay attention to how the fish was raised and where it came from.

If you’re going to get it from flax – make sure you grind it up, purchase it alreday ground (which is what we do, but don't forget to refrigerate it) or get it from oil (and refrigerate it).Prograde EFA Icon

If you’re going to supplement (which I recommend) – make sure it’s from a reputable company and what’s in the bottle is the best and comes from a good source.

I use and recommend Prograde EFA Icon. Good company. Good source and good for you.

To learn more about Prograde EFA Icon, click here --> Prograde EFA Icon

I hope you learned a bit more about the importance and safety concerns with essential fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids. There’s a lot to tell and I only scratched the surface here. I’m actually going to write an in-depth article on fatty acids so be on the lookout for that.

Talk to you soon and have an awesome day!

Here’s the link again for EFA Icon: Prograde EFA Icon

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The preceding article was written by Ed Scow, aka "The Fit Dad". To learn more about Ed's story, click here.

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