Is Homemade Pet Food Omega-3 adequate?

Studies that focused on the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on pets found that there are many healthy benefits in including these nutrients in our pet’s diet. These health effects were studied using various omega-3 sources such as vegetable oils like flaxseed, canola and soybean oil and fish oils. Some of the benefits include good visual development in the puppy stage, cardiovascular and dermatological benefits and reducing of cholesterol levels.

It has been observed that deficiency in omega-3 can cause growth retardation, dermatitis, reproductive impairment and poor wound healing in dogs.   Here we will have a brief look at whether home made pet food, is omega 3 adequate.

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How to Select Best Fish Oil Supplement

Fish oil is an excellent supplement for omega-3 for it contains both EPA and DHA – the essential nutrients. Fish oil supplements are usually made from salmon, sardines, anchovy, mackerel, albacore, Hoki and krill. A daily intake of fish oil supplements reduces the risk of contracting heart diseases, reduces blood cholesterol levels, improves eyesight, slows clogging of arteries, lowers blood pressure, etc. Those who do not eat fish regularly can take a fish oil supplement. Hence, the process of selecting fish oil supplements is important.

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Omega 3 for Pet Cats

Omega-3 and omega-6 are two essential fatty acids that are needed in the right balance to provide optimal health for dogs and cats. Both these fatty acids provide many health benefits. However, an excess of omega-3 can cause several serious inflammatory conditions in dogs and cats as they do in humans. Hence the right balance (ideally 5:1) of omega-6 to omega-3 is recommended for a healthy dog or cat.  Here we will see about the many benefits of omega-3 for cats.

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Omega 3 Benefits to Heart

Do you know that deficiency in omega-3 is the sixth highest cause of fatalities in the US? This study by Harvard University compared death due to high BP, smoking and other causes and found that a diet rich in omega-3 can prevent around 96,000 deaths per year. This is why the Japanese and Greenland Eskimos suffered fewer heart problems like clogged arteries.

Japanese men living in Japan suffered fewer heart problems like clogged arteries than Japanese men living in the US. This is purely due to one group eating a Japanese diet rich in omega-3 and the other eating an Americanized diet deficient in omega-3. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in a western diet is 20:1. The optimal levels should be actually 1:1.  All omega-6 fats are pro-arrhythmic and deliver bad cholesterol to the arteries. The Lyon Diet Heart Trial found reduced death rates in people who ate a diet low in omega-6.

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Best Sources of Omega 3

Omega-3 fatty acids contain polyunsaturated fats that prevent a wide range of diseases. The three omega-3 fatty acids that are nutritionally important are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Most people do not get enough of omega-3 in their diet. A recent recommendation by the National Institute of Health in the US suggests that 2% of daily calorie intake must come from omega-3 foods. To get all the health benefits of this nutrient, we must consume the best sources of omega-3 on a daily basis.

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Omega 3 Benefits for Children

Omega-3 is an essential nutrient that has many critical benefits for chronic diseases that are related to the inflammatory process. Omega 3 benefits for children are vital for they have a hand right from the fetal stage. DHA is important for the very architecture of the fetal brain. Hence, consumption of omega-3 rich foods and supplements – especially DHA and EPA – has short and long term consequences on the life of a child. The best source for EPA and DHA comes from seafood – especially krill oil and purified fish oil supplements.

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Omega 3 Benefits in Inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human beings and all three sources of omega-3 – ALA, EPA and DHA must be received from diet (as human body cannot synthesize them) .

Omega 3 has provides many health benefits to our body, one of the key benefits is concerning inflammation.  Omega-3 benefits in inflammation in the blood vessels, joints and other parts.  Omega-3 contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) with the most potent anti-inflammatory or immunomodulatory properties. Even in omega-3, it is fish oil that contains EPA and DHA that is stronger in fighting inflammation than ALA from plant sources. 

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What is Omega 3?

Omega refers to how fat families are named and this depends on a carbon counting system. Foods contain fat molecules that are 12 to 22 carbon atoms long. Each carbon is linked to the other just like a bracelet. The beginning of the chain is the alpha side and the end is the omega side. To save time and complications, scientists started to count from the chain’s end – i.e. the omega side – and numbered the fat molecules based on a double-bond arrangement. Therefore, omega-3 is third from the last on the omega side.

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Omega 3 vs Omega 6

There are differing theories, some which suggest that omega-3 fats are better for overall health than omega-6. When consumed in excess, omega-6 is said to contribute to inflammation.  However, recent theories suggest that both fatty acids are good for health in their own way.

Here we will see more about the benefits of both fatty acids, the issues surrounding them and the foods that contain these essential nutrients.

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Omega 3 Eggs

DHA and EPA are excellent forms of omega-3 fatty acids. While seafood contains the most concentration, we can also get these fatty acids from eggs, liver, brain and lean red meat. The amount of omega-3 from eggs depends on the size of the eggs.  Omega-3 enriched eggs are available in many leading stores. Before selecting these eggs, you must know the type of omega-3 fats you want. DHA-docosahexaenoic acid has the maximum health benefits of all 3 omega-3 fatty acids. It provides benefits for the brain, heart, eyes etc. ALA-alpha-linolenic acid is found in many foods but it offers limited benefits.

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