Eighteen or so years ago, maybe 3 years after my son, Alex, was diagnosed with autism, I was sitting at a conference listening to a lecture on omega 3 fatty acids. The talk really stuck with me for many reasons, especially when the speaker said, “One of the great tragedies that has ever happened in America is that mothers stopped giving their children a teaspoon of cod liver oil every morning.”
Alex was probably about 5 and my younger son, Liam, was about 2. I bought fish oil immediately upon returning from the conference and started my boys on “fish medicine” as we used to call it. They (and I) have taken it every day since.
Reading about new research[i] out of England made me even gladder that I’ve kept up the daily “fish medicine” tradition. The dietary intake levels of omega 3s of 876 women were analyzed, along with their serum omega 3 levels, and the researchers found that higher levels of both was strongly associated with greater diversity of healthy species of bacteria in their guts.
It turns out that a high level of omega 3s in the blood correlates with a high level of a compound called N-carbamylglutamate (NCG) which has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the gut. Omega 3 seems to induce gut bacteria to produce NCG, thereby lowering levels of gut inflammation. “We also found that specific bacteria that have been linked to lower inflammation and lower risk of obesity are increased in people who have a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids.”
Past research has shown that omega 3s improve insulin resistance in diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, blood clots, some cancers and cognitive decline. Seems to me that a daily dose is another one of those things you can do now that can’t hurt and could help.