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Omega 3 and 6

Flax seed contains the essential fat Omega 3. Its most beneficial form contains two fatty acids, EPA and DHA and can also be found in fish oil. These two fatty acids are essential to fight or prevent both physical and mental disease. The tremendous health benefits of fish oil would best be derived from eating fatty cold-water fish, but almost all fish are contaminated with unsafe levels of mercury and other contaminants and experts advise against eating fish unless it has been lab-tested.

Both the Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids belong to a group of polyunsaturated fats called 'essential' because they are necessary to life and to health. But, we cannot make them in the body - they must be obtained from our diet. They cannot be inter-converted and both must be present in the diet in a proper balance for good health.

Their differences lie in their chemical structure and their roles in the body.

As polyunsaturated fatty acids, both the Omega 6 and the Omega 3 families have more than one double bond in the carbon chain. All fatty acids in the Omega 6 family contain their first double bond between the 6th and7th carbon atoms (counted from the methyl (CH3) terminal carbon atom) and the Omega 3 family of fatty acids have their first double bond between the 3rd and 4th carbon atom.

Both families of fatty acids are vital components of membranes and are used by the body in the production of eicosanoids, a vast range of highly bioactive substances (prostaglandins, leukotrienes, lipoxins). But the activity of these metabolites varies. For example, the eicosanoids derived from Omega 6 are in general more active (or reactive) than those produced from Omega 3 and Omega 6 is aggregatory whereas Omega 6 is pro-aggregatory.

Basically, the Omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory benefits and help prevent heart disease, whereas Omega 6s lower blood cholesterol and support the skin.

Recent research shows that supplementing with Omega 3 can aid in the following illnesses: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus, osteoporosis, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, skin disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, macular degeneration, menstrual pain, colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. And Flax seed with its high content of Omega 3 seems to be the best Omega 3 supplement.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are involved in normal physiology, including:
- regulating pressure in the eye, joints, and blood vessels, and mediating immune response
- regulating bodily secretions and their viscosity
- dilating or constricting blood vessels
- regulating collateral circulation
- directing endocrine hormones to their target cells
- regulating smooth muscles and autonomic reflexes
- being primary constituents of cell membranes
- regulating the rate of cell division
- maintaining the fluidity and rigidity of cellular membranes
- regulating the inflow and outflow of substances to and from cells
- transporting oxygen from red blood cells to the tissues
- maintaining proper kidney function and fluid balance
- keeping saturated fats mobile in the blood stream
- preventing blood cells from clumping together (blood clots that can be a cause of heart attack and stroke)
- mediating the release of inflammatory substances from cells that may trigger allergic conditions
- regulating nerve transmission and communication.

If the diet is deficient in either Omega 6 or Omega 3 long-term degenerative illnesses will result.

Omega 3 from Flax seed is widely acknowledged as one of the best Omega 3 supplements.

More scientific facts about Omega 3 on Wikipedia.

Flax seed has the highest concentration of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) of any known plant. Flexiflax capsules consist of 600mg powder from Flax sprouts, high in concentrations of Omega 3 EFA's as well as lignans, sterols/sterolins, digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals.