Omega 3 fatty acids prevent brain shrinkage and skin-hair loss-eye problems. Flax seeds have 10 times more omega 3 acids than fish, 2.5 times more omega 3 fatty acids than walnuts, 4 times more fiber than walnuts (fish has no fiber), and are 5-10 times cheaper than walnuts, besides being far easier to soak and digest. Also, flax has 6.3 times less omega 6 fatty acids than walnuts, and most people get overloaded with omega 3 from oils and restaurant foods. Omega 3 fatty acids are important for the eyes, brain and skin. For more on how omega 3 affects IQ see below. Flax seeds have 125 times more omega 3 acids in 100 g than kale and 200 times more omega 3 than most legumes and high omega 3 vegetables like spinach, so you only need to eat very little to get your daily ALA for conversion into DHA-EPA. Many fish oil supplements have rancid oils (oxidized and causing arterial plaque) full of contaminants, so it's much better to eat flax seeds.
See why i have been vegan for over 12 years and meatless for 20 ► https://plus.google.com/+AlexP/posts/UsxcV9Bycsb
To see omega 3 fatty acid content, go to the 100 g option under Fat on the bottom left:
flax ► http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3163/2
walnuts ► http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3138/2
fish ► http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4259/2Omega 3 fatty acids increase brain volume. People thought the brain shrinks with age always, but it's not true. DHA-EPA can reverse that shrinkage. DHA is 97% of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93 % of omega-3 fats in the retina. 8% of the brain is omega 3 fatty acids.
Due to low intake of ALA by everyone (ALA is the flax seed and walnut precursor of DHA), DHA supplements lead to better cognitive performance for kids ► http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738999
We all know breastfeeding leads to higher IQ than formula, breastmilk has DHA, while infant formula did not have it until recently. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10755457
is another study showing better performance with DHA. Few studies have been done with ALA. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12323085
explains that in healthy young men 8% of ALA (alpha linoleic acid) is converted to EPA and 0-4% is converted to DHA. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12323090
shows that in healthy young women 21% of dietary ALA is converted to EPA and 9% is converted to DHA. So, women have far less issues with DHA than men.
The algal plain DHA or vegan DHA-EPA supplements are way better than "mercury free" fish oil supplements for those few people (usually men) who cannot turn ALA into DHA. Today many fish oil supplements are mercury free, but there are PCBs and other heavy metals sometimes in fish oil - besides saturated fat and cholesterol. The animal saturated fat and cholesterol in fish (which was shown to affect heart and vascular health of babies in the womb) and fish oil supplements are working against recommending intake of fish during pregnancy or at any other time, since vegan DHA exists.
Some studies say fish oil is doing mroe harm than good because it has contaminants, oxidized oil (that leads to arterial plaque) and some saturated fat. There are vegan sources of DHA from algae ► http://www.examiner.com/article/best-vegan-sources-of-dha-and-epa
. Seaweeds like spirulina (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirulina_(dietary_supplement)
) and wakame have EPA+DHA, so one doesn't need fish oil to get dietary DHA-EPA if one is incapable of ALA conversion (a few men). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407995/
explains that low DHA (or ALA precursor as in flax seeds) for mothers during pregnancy leads to health issues (eye health for example) for their children throughout their life. The study also reminds us that Iodine is good for the brain and leads to much higher IQ.
Same thing was noticed in other studies ► http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046737/
, i.e. healthier kids are born to mothers that had higher omega 3 intake, and the damage done to the brain and eyes is permanent if the pregnant mother did not have enough omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA. Perhaps the genes play a role on when DHA is more needed. DHA is converted into EPA by the body when needed, and DHA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docosahexaenoic_acid
) is far more important than EPA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eicosapentaenoic_acid
) when talking of supplements - also because ALA to DHA conversion is low in men. That's why DHA only supplements are far more common than EPA only supplements. DHA is found throughout the body, but is most abundant in the brain, eyes and heart. DHA is 97% of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93 % of omega-3 fats in the retina. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693724/
study concludes that DHA omega 3 fatty acid helps with eye function. :) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874521/
study concludes that omega 3s help with dry eyes too.
Harvard article on omega 3 ► http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
There are also MDs who are against fish oil, claiming it causes cancer due to contaminants and benefits are minimal ► http://nutritionfacts.org/video/omega-3s-prostate-cancer-and-atrial-fibrillation/
and people should use VEGAN sources of DHA, EPA. Laboratory cultivated DHA and EPA are made from microalgae and have no toxins, so they cannot cause cancer - see google for "vegan sources of DHA" ► https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/what_vegans_may_be_missing-DHA.aspx
Amazon has some vegan DHA-EPA supplements ► http://www.amazon.com/Ovega-Non-fish-Omega-500mg/dp/B00HVIJDJ8
Vegans can get lots of ALA (precursor for DHA) from legumes, spinach, walnuts, flax seeds. Note that 100 g of flax seed has 125 times more omega 3 than kale and 200 times more omega 3 than 100 g of spinach and lentils for example. So, you only need to eat very few walnuts or flax seeds each day.
For easiest digestion, soaking helps with any seeds, grains, nuts, legumes. If you want to know a lot more about ALA, omega 3, DHA and EPA, see this long article at http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/essential-fatty-acids#metabolism-bioavailability