ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that currently has no cure. But what if there was a breakthrough in treatment? What if there was a way to protect against the progression of ALS using a natural and easily accessible supplement?
ALS affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness, paralysis, and eventually death. It is a progressive disease that currently has no known cause or cure. However, recent research has shown promising results in the use of omega-3 fatty acids for protecting against the progression of ALS.
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been known for their numerous health benefits, but their potential in treating ALS is a recent discovery. In this article, we will explore the breakthrough research and how omega-3 fatty acids could be the key to providing protection against ALS.
Can omega-3 fats offer protection for ALS patients?
Is there a connection between Lou Gehrig’s death and low levels of Omega-3s?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is named after the late New York Yankees baseball player who passed away from the condition. Various factors, including repeated head trauma, may have contributed to Gehrig’s deteriorating health, which is commonly associated with ALS.
In addition, research suggests that a deficiency in omega-3 fats could have played a role, as studies indicate that these beneficial fats provide protection for individuals with ALS. The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard, observed that higher levels of omega-3s were associated with increased survival rates and slower functional decline in ALS patients.
However, this study does not mention the importance of reducing seed oil omega-6 in the form of linoleic acid. In my interview with Nils Hoem, we discuss how when the body has an excess of omega-6, the enzymes that convert omega-3 fat, ALA, are primarily used for omega-6 fat, LA, which leads to the production of arachidonic acid instead of EPA and DHA fats.
Consuming foods rich in Omega-3s might have potential benefits for ALS
Omega-3 fats have been studied for their neuroprotective effects and a study published in Neurology supports their potential positive impact on ALS. The study included 449 individuals with ALS, who were evaluated and monitored for symptom severity and disease progression over a span of 18 months. Blood levels of omega-3 fats were also measured, and participants were divided into four groups based on their levels.
Higher levels of omega-3 fats, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is derived from plants, were associated with a decrease in decline and a lower risk of death. In the study, 33% of those who died had the lowest levels of ALA, compared to 19% in the highest ALA category.
After considering factors such as family history and age, individuals with the highest levels of ALA had a 50% reduced risk of death compared to those with the lowest levels. Another omega-3 fat called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), found in fatty fish and krill oil, was also linked to a lower risk of death in the study.
Kjetil Bjornevik, the lead study author and assistant professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, provided an explanation.
Previous research by our group has indicated that a diet rich in ALA and higher levels of this fatty acid in the blood may reduce the likelihood of developing ALS. Our study further reveals that individuals with ALS who have elevated levels of ALA in their blood experience a slower progression of the disease and a decreased risk of mortality during the study timeframe.
Based on our previous research, these findings indicate that this fatty acid may have potential neuroprotective effects that could be beneficial for individuals with ALS.
Having the correct balance of Omega-3s is crucial
This study emphasized the importance of ALA and even mentioned that linoleic acid (LA), a type of omega-6 found in industrially processed seed oils, had a protective effect. As explained by Hoem, a research scientist with Aker BioMarine, the largest krill oil company in the world, in the video above, conventional medicine recognizes two essential polyunsaturated fats (PUFA).
LA and ALA are two types of fats. LA has 18 carbons, and so does ALA. Your body cannot produce these fats, so you must obtain them from your diet. LA is present in almost all foods, and you only need a small amount, so it’s unlikely to become deficient in LA. However, many people consume excessive amounts of LA, as it is abundant in most ultraprocessed foods.
Some types of omega-3s, like EPA and DHA, can be produced in your body if you have enough delta-6-desaturase, an enzyme that is responsible for their synthesis from ALA.
The issue arises from the competitive inhibition of the enzyme when there is a significant increase of omega-6 in the system. This can lead to the conversion of omega-6 into arachidonic acid instead of the conversion of ALA into EPA, which is a common occurrence in many individuals.
Processed foods contain high amounts of omega-6 fats, which can disrupt the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats in your body and hinder the synthesis of beneficial EPA and DHA.
Increasing Omega-3 is recommended for most individuals
Consuming large amounts of LA in your diet can hinder the conversion of ALA into EPA and DHA, which are essential omega-3 fats. Therefore, reducing your intake of LA is crucial to facilitate the conversion of plant-based omega-3s, found in flax, hemp, and chia seeds, into animal-based omega-3s.
The competition for delta-6 becomes irrelevant if LA intake is reduced to only 1% to 2% of daily calories. However, most individuals consume 20% to 25% of their calories in the form of LA, resulting in the accumulation of this fat in their cells, which can take up to seven years to eliminate.
To balance out your omega-3s naturally, you can restrict your intake of LA. Another option is to increase your intake of animal-based omega-3s, which can push out the omega-6 from your membranes. Ideally, you should do both. Hoem suggests this.
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is significantly imbalanced, making it necessary to supplement with omega-3s in order to increase their presence in the membranes. This results in a direct exchange of EPA and DHA for omega-6s in the membrane.
Increasing the molar amount of EPA and DHA in the membrane results in the expulsion of an equal amount of omega-6. It is crucial to understand that the composition of the membrane is influenced by the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s in your diet. While the omega-6s are abundant and difficult to control, the issue can be addressed by increasing the consumption of long chain omega-3s.
Gehrig said goodbye to baseball in 1939 due to the progression of his ALS symptoms. The history indicates that our imbalanced intake of ALAs started in the early 1900s when individuals were advised against consuming natural animal fats like butter and lard.
There was a significant increase, more than double, in the intake of LA, primarily from vegetable oils. It is believed that while there may be various factors contributing to ALS, low omega-3 fats could have been one of those factors in Gehrig’s case.
There is a potential link between sports-related head injuries, omega-3, and ALS
Another notable connection is the numerous head injuries that Gehrig endured. These head injuries, in turn, have a link to omega-3. Repetitive head injuries have the potential to result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that may be linked to the development of motor neuron disease.
CTE is often a result of repeated head impacts, including concussions and lesser sub-concussive impacts. This pattern of head trauma is commonly seen in individuals affected by CTE, including Gehrig, as reported by PBS.
Lou Gehrig was given the nickname “Iron Horse” due to his remarkable strength, speed, and consistent presence in the line-up, even when injured.
He experienced multiple incidents where he was hit by an inaccurate pitch or ground balls, resulting in concussions, loss of consciousness, and other forms of head trauma. He had no protection other than wearing a woolen baseball cap.
Gehrig also faced other instances of colliding with fast-moving objects that were unrelated to the batter’s box or first base. One such incident occurred in 1924 during a post-game altercation with the Detroit Tigers. Gehrig attempted to swing at Ty Cobb, but missed and fell, hitting his head on the concrete pavement. This caused him to briefly lose consciousness.
Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles have suggested that dietary DHA, an omega-3 fat, may have potential benefits for brain trauma. They found that DHA may help the brain resist oxidative stress and preserve membrane homeostasis and function after injury, which could potentially preserve cognitive capacity in individuals with traumatic brain injuries.
The established benefits of Omega-3s for the brain are well-known
According to a study in the journal Neurology, older women with higher levels of omega-3 fats had better brain preservation as they aged than those with lower levels, potentially leading to better brain function for an extra year or two.
Furthermore, studies have shown that older adults experiencing memory complaints saw improvements in their memory after consuming DHA, either alone or in conjunction with EPA. It has been observed that low levels of DHA are associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, and there is evidence suggesting that degenerative brain diseases may be potentially reversible with adequate DHA.
This is because DHA is a necessary building block for the brain and is found in high levels in neurons, the cells of the central nervous system. When there is a lack of omega-3 intake, nerve cells become rigid and more susceptible to inflammation as omega-6 fats replace the missing omega-3 fats.
When nerve cells become rigid and inflamed, it affects neurotransmission and cellular functions. More information can be found in the book “Superfuel,” co-authored by James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D. DHA also activates the Nrf2 pathway, a transcription factor that plays a crucial role in cellular oxidation, reduction, and detoxification.
Furthermore, DHA has been shown to enhance the expression of heme oxygenase 1,23, a protein that is produced in response to oxidative stress, and also increases the activity of antioxidant enzymes, both of which play a significant role in maintaining brain health.
Best Sources of Omega-3s
Fish oil is commonly associated with omega-3 supplementation, but it may not be the most optimal choice due to the delivery of DHA and EPA in ethyl ester form in most commercial supplements.
Ethyl esters are a synthetic substrate that is created through the micro distillation process of crude fish oil. Many corporations choose to produce ethyl ester fish oil due to its lower production costs compared to the triglyceride form. Additionally, ethyl esters are more convenient to work with during processing as they have a higher boiling point, which is crucial for heating and purifying the oils to remove environmental pollutants.
Ethyl esters are considered to be the least bioavailable form of omega-3, with a low absorption rate. In contrast, free acids of fish oil have a high absorption rate of at least 95%. In one study, EPA in its natural triglyceride form showed a 69% absorption rate, while ethyl ester forms only absorbed about 20% as well as the free acids.
Unstable molecules are more likely to undergo oxidative damage and become rancid, which could potentially be harmful. It is recommended to consume omega-3 fats from whole-food sources such as fatty, cold-water fish.
This list includes wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and herring. If you prefer a supplement, krill oil is a recommended alternative to fish oil. To ensure proper intake of beneficial omega-3 fats, whether from cold-water fish or krill oil, it is advised to measure your omega-3 index, which assesses the levels of EPA and DHA in your red blood cell membranes.
To optimize health and brain benefits, it is important to increase EPA and DHA intake while minimizing LA intake to achieve a balanced omega-3 intake.
You can use Cronometer.com to measure your foods and determine your LA intake. The recommended goal is under 5 grams, but lower is better. Mine is around 2.5 grams or about 0.8% of total daily calories. The aim is to be below 2% of daily calories.
Conclusion: Breakthrough Omega-3 Protection For ALS
Breakthrough Omega-3 Protection For ALS with Lifestyle Choices:
As an Activated Living coach, I cannot stress enough the importance of making informed lifestyle choices to optimize both our health and brain benefits. One crucial aspect of this is increasing our intake of EPA and DHA, while simultaneously minimizing our intake of LA (linoleic acid) to achieve a balanced omega-3 intake. And when it comes to the best source of Omega-3 fats, look no further than LifeVantage Omega+.
LifeVantage Omega+ is a breakthrough product that offers unparalleled Omega-3 protection for individuals with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and other neurodegenerative conditions. Its unique formulation is specifically designed to support health and provide essential nutrients.
Incorporating LifeVantage Omega+ into your daily routine is not just about taking a supplement; it is about making a conscious choice to prioritize your health and well-being. By optimizing your omega-3 intake and minimizing the intake of LA, you are giving yourself the best chance for an optimal lifestyle.
Remember, lifestyle choices play a significant role in our overall health. By choosing LifeVantage Omega+ as your source of Omega-3 fats, you are taking a proactive step towards optimizing your brain health and overall well-being. Don’t wait any longer; make the choice to prioritize your health and start reaping the benefits of LifeVantage Omega+ today.
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