Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Athletes in high need of EPA and DHA

Athletes in high need of EPA and DHA

Simopoulos A. Omega-3 fatty acids and athletics. Current Sports Medicine Reports 2007; 6(4). doi. 10.1007/s11932-007-0037-4.

BACKGROUND: Human beings evolved consuming a diet that contained about equal amounts of ω-6 (omega 6) and ω-3 (omega 3) essential fatty acids. Today, in Western diets, the ratio of ω-6 to ω-3 fatty acids ranges from approximately 10:1 to 20:1 instead of the traditional range of 1:1 to 2:1.

OBSERVATION: Studies indicate that a high intake of ω-6 fatty acids shifts the physiologic state to one that is prothrombotic and proaggregatory, characterized by increases in blood viscosity, vasospasm, and vasoconstriction, and decreases in bleeding time. ω-3 fatty acids, however, have anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antiarrhythmic, hypolipidemic, and vasodilatory properties.

RESULTS: Excessive free-radical formation and trauma during high-intensity exercise leads to an inflammatory state that is made worse by the increased amount of ω-6 fatty acids in Western diets, although this can be counteracted by eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

CONCLUSION: For the majority of athletes, especially those at the leisure level, general guidelines should include EPA and DHA of about 1 to 2 g/d at a ratio of EPA:DHA of 2:1.
Source: Current Sports Medicine Reports

Dr. Zach's Comments:

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids in the form of EPA and DHA are an essential part of everyone's diet. That's why they're called Essential Fatty Acids. They are ESSENTIAL. Your body absolutely needs them and will absolutely malfunction if you don't get them.

  • AND you have to get them from your diet. Your body cannot create Omega 3 fatty acids form something similar (omega 6's for example). But, if you don't get these essential fats in your diet, your body will use an inferior substance like the omega 6's where the omega 3's should go. If that happens (and in America it does in most of us), serious illness and disease are sure to follow.

  • You see, these omega 3 fatty acids are foundation for every cell in your body. They make up over 90% of each and every cell membrane in each of the 3 trillion cells in your body. Is that important? Absolutely! Your cell membrane is responsible for more day to day, minute by minute cellular function than any other part of your cell.... even the DNA itself.

  • What happens when omega 6's replace omega 3's in your cell membrane? Visualize your cell as a basketball and the cell membrane as the outer casing of the basketball. A basketball is very effective for what it was designed for (dribbling) when it's manufactured with the right materials: air, a rubber inner membrane and a leather outer membrane. But now imaging manufacturing a basketball with an outer layer of hard plastic. Would it inflate like it should? Could you dribble it? No. The basketball has lost it's use because it's structure doesn't support it's function. If your diet is too high in omega 6's and too low in omega 3's your cells will suffer the same fate as our basketball example.

  • So, where do you get omega 3's in the form of EPA and DHA? From wild caught ocean fish (best source), wild game, grass fed beef, and free range foul like chicken and turkey. Sometimes these options are not available or convenient, so my advice to you is to get yourself a good fish oil supplement. One that's pharmaceutical grade and contains at least 1000mg per serving of EPA/DHA combined. Check your local health food store or, if you're a patient at McCabe Chiropractic, get them right in the office.

Degenerative Disc Disease Prevention

Osteoarthritis is commonly considered a “wear-and-tear” process and is associated with degenerative changes in the disc, which results in an altered relationship (derangement) between adjacent vertebrae. This derangement causes an increased strain, as well as a loss of motion of the gliding joints of the spine. These gliding joints (facets) are found in pairs, along the entire spine, and their function is to allow for movement and flexibility of the spine. When these facet joints are subjected to repeated trauma from excessive strenuous athletic activities, heredity, weak abdominal muscles, and the inevitable aging process, low back and/or leg pain is commonly experienced.
Degenerative changes in the disc or an altered function in the facet joints, for whatever reason, contribute significantly to the “wear and tear” process, placing a strain upon this important area of the spine. The osteoarthritic spine becomes less flexible, and therefore becomes more vulnerable to injury. A simple unexpected or forced movement, physically heavy work, improper posture, frequent bending or lifting, all can produce strain and injury to these facet joints.
As the intervertebral disc narrows, it loses height, mobility, and oftentimes forms bony spurs, which may irritate the spinal nerve roots as the disc space narrows.
Specific chiropractic adjustments of the spine improve spinal mobility and unlock the facet joints helping to relieve the accompanying muscular, ligamentous, and tendon contractions, as well as the mechanical or reflex irritation of the nerve root.

Dr. Zach's Comments:

  • There is only one way to proactively attempt to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis (aka degenerative disc disease), and that is through a Chiropractic Wellness/ Maintenance Care program. As the article stated, it is the wear and tear of improperly functioning joints that leads to osteoarthritis. It is not genetic, chance, or bad luck. You are ultimately responsible for your health and the health of your family, so be proactive and seek out activities and health care that will help you keep you body healthy.

  • Don't wait until you have a symptom such as pain to seek out chiropractic care. By then permanent damage has often already happened. Pain is simply a signal used by your nervous system to tell you that tissue damage is happening. If you wait until your experiencing pain to seek out care, you've already exposed yourself to tissue damage in and around your spine. And remember, the purpose of your spine is to protect your nervous system. Do you really want the organ responsible for protecting your nervous system to be injured and weak.

  • By re-aligning misalignments and injuries to your spine, Chiropractors help make your spine stronger and work to prevent injuries in the future. If you are prevention/ Wellness oriented like many of us are today, you owe it to yourself to begin chiropractic care today!!