What is the big deal about Omega 3’s?

What is the big deal about Omega 3’s?

Why do you need Omega 3 fatty acids in your food and why are they different to any fats we have in our food?

Omega 3 fatty acids make up a very small proportion of the fats that we eat (250 – 500mg), but they function very differently to other fats that we eat. 

They are not really used as energy, but affect the actions of eicosanoids, a signalling molecule in your tissues that effect important functions such as inflammation and blood clotting.

The diagram below, details this eicosanoid pathway:

The direction this pathway takes is dependent on the balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids that we eat in our diet. 

As we can not convert Omega 6 fats into Omega 3 fats and vice versa, it is completely dependant on what we eat.  Both elements are important for our normal function, but when the balance is screwed in one direction (almost exclusively towards Omega 6’s), this increases the amount of blood clotting and inflammatory signalling molecules we have in the body. 

As our proportion of Omega 3’s increases, these have the following effect:

  • Reduce the amount of inflammatory signalling molecules
  • Reduce blood clotting
  • Reduce blood pressure, due to the reduced inflammatory signalling molecules
  • Reduce heart arrhythmias

Although the results are quite variable, in general the recommended doses to be effective are:

  • 1g of Fish oil ( which contain about 300mg of direct omega 3 fatty acids) for heart health
  • 3g of Fish oil ( which contain about 900mg of direct omega 3 fatty acids) to have an anti-inflammatory effect

Want to know more?

If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au

Fasting power: Can going without food really make you healthier?

Fasting power: Can going without food really make you healthier?

At MD Health, we strive to be well-read and up to date with the current literature surrounding several health issues.

This article, (from New Scientist magazine, 20th October 2018) outlines the supposed benefits of intermittent fasting and some of the short-term effects on the body following fasting.

The article outlines the following points:

  • Although there are numerous hypothesised positive effects of fasting diets (including ketogenic, paleolithic diets), scientific trials have yet to confirm many of these effects.
  • In short term studies (duration 3 months) health markers such as body mass index, visceral fat and blood pressure were all significantly reduced (particularly in overweight to obese subjects), however it is unclear whether this can be explained by the simple fact that the subjects lost weight in general.
  • During fasting, the body is supposed to go through a process called “ketosis”, where fat stores are metabolised for energy. However, a body composition analysis of the author after short term fasting found that most weight-loss was from muscle stores, rather than fat.

Key takeaways:

  1. Strength training is still important when on any form of diet, to maintain muscle mass!

This article “Fasting power: Can going without food really make you healthier? By Caroline Williams” outlines very well, some of the long-term negative effects of fasting that actually “slows” weight loss and reduce long term health. 

The author trials the fasting diet for 5 days and although losses 1kg in the process, only 168g of this was fat and a staggering 584g of this was lean muscle mass, the metabolically active, joint and bone protecting tissue of the body.

This has 2 obvious main issues for long term health:

  • It will be harder to lose weight in the long term – Our resting metabolic rate, the amount of energy we expend at rest is dependant on our organs, the energy required to breakdown food and our lean muscle mass. This only part we can really control and do something about is our lean muscle mass.  When you loss 0.5kg of muscle mass, you will burn less energy doing the same activities you did the week before, such as running, going to the gym and even sleeping.  Your exercise will just not be as effective in expending energy and will take a lot of work to regain the muscle mass you have lost.
  • It reduces your ability to control glucose metabolism – Lean muscle is again the only tissue we have that we control that help regulate our blood glucose for diabetes control. As your muscle mass improves, not only is there more muscle mass to pull glucose from the bloodstream, lowering blood glucose, but the number of sensors on the surface of muscle (GLUT4 receptors) increases, so the muscles become more efficient at doing so, helping combat insulin resistance.

So, if you are serious about managing your weight, a much more effective way of doing so is regular eating, improving your muscle mass and appropriate meal portions for long term results.

Want to know more?

If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au

Fasting power: Can going without food really make you healthier? By Caroline Williams

Fasting diets are getting ever more popular, amid promises of weight loss and better health, but does the science stand up? We put the latest one to the test

3 tips to lose weight quickly!

Although a long term approach is always the best way to lose weight and keep it off,  below are my top 3 tips to give your journey of weight loss a kick start.

Reduce your portion size –  This may seem simple, but even a healthy meal can really add up in kilojoules which means you’re eating too much.  Aim for a meal of about 1500-2000 kilojoules and it’s okay to leave food on the plate it you don’t need it.

Muesli bars are not healthy snacks – muesli bars have healthy elements, such as fruits and nuts, but are also heavily packed with kilojoules. These can really add up, so preparing snacks in advance, such as having cut up fruits or carrots sticks reduce your kilojoules count and stop the cravings.

Stop being afraid of carbs – having some carbs in each meal stops the cravings and gives your brain fuel.  This does not mean massive carb meals, but a small amount in each meal evens out your blood glucose and reduces the load on your pancreas, controlling your insulin levels.

If you have any questions, please email: michael.dermansky@mdhealth.com.au

How many kilojoules do I consume to lose weight?

Although each person is different and your ideal kilojoule intake depends on your height, weight and muscle mass, I can give you a rough guide of how many kilojoules you should be consuming to lose weight.

The key to losing weight is to eat less kilojoules than you are using with activity and your natural metabolic rate, so your body uses its fat stores.  But you need to eat more than youre minimal metabolic rate otherwise you start to breakdown muscles for energy, making it hard for you to maintain weight loss in the long term.

Basic guide:

1) Each meal – about 1500 kilojoules per meal
2) Snacks – 500 kilojoules per snack, 2 a day

Total – 5500 kilojoules per day

For more information or if you have any questions, email michael.dermansky@mdhealth.com.au

How much should I weigh?

Weight is not the only measure of healthiness, but a healthy weight range does affect your risk to issues such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, wear and tear on your major joints such as your hips and your knees.  Although it is harder to measure, being in a healthy weight range does affect the way you feel about yourself and mental well-being, which is just as important as your physical well being.

A good overall measure of a healthy weight is a BMI of 22 (Body Mass Index).  This does not take into account your lean muscle mass, which means people with a higher muscle mass are normally meant to be heavier, but is a good indication for most people.

So the healthy weight for people of different heights are:

1) 150cm – 50kg
2) 160cm – 56.5kg
3) 170cm – 64kg
4) 180cm – 72kg
5) 190cm – 80kg
For more information or any questions about this article, simply email michael.dermansky@mdhealth.com.au

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