A Study conducted in April, 2006 which appeared in the Journal of Surgical Neurology laid out some positive suggestions that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils might be beneficial in treating neck and back pain. This study made me super excited because the fish oil supplements for obvious reasons provide a “safer alternative” to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids used for chronic pain sufferers which bring with them a whole host of complications down the road associated with long term use, (i.e. chronic constipation, physical addiction, reduced liver function.)
Their study consisted of 250 peeps with nonsurgical neck or back pain, all of which were taking NSAIDs. For the 1st two weeks, patients received a daily dose of EPA and DHA of 2.4 grams. Thereafter, participants were to cut the amount in half and reduce their NSAID usage over the next one to two weeks. One month into the study, surveys were sent to study participants. This is what the survey showed:
- half of the patients had stopped taking any NSAIDs for their pain (59%)
- 60% noted an overall improvement in their pain
- 60% reported less joint pain
- 80% were satisfied with their improvement
- 88% would keep taking fish oil supplements
One of the main authors of this study, Joseph Maroon, MD states, “our study adds to the numerous previously published studies showing the health benefits of omega-3 EFAs , which include blood clot prevention, pain reduction, immune system boosting and healthy blood vessel dilation”.
So….. in conclusion….. if you are struggling with back /neck issues, maybe even circulation issues, why not give fish oils a valid try? Please note that this study was a one month study, so expecting to take it for a day or two and if you don’t notice remarkable improvements, taking the stance that it doesn’t work for you, isn’t giving it a fair chance. Remember that the distinct difference between using an Orthomolecular approach which is what you are doing when you incorporate supplements into your daily health maintenance routine, it’s not an over night bandage. They are designed to begin to feed your body what it has been nutritionally deficient in, and for many peeps, those deficiencies have been off kilter for a good chunk of time.
Here are some of my professional recommendations for some fish oil supplements that I trust and USE in my practice:
Krill Oil with K2: (you can click on the highlighted link and it will take you right to the source)
Supports cardiovascular system and brain function.
Provides joint and skin support.
Is a natural source of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant carotenoid.
Provides omega-3 essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA).
May support already-normal-range cholesterol levels.
How It Works:
Antarctic Krill provides a highly bioavailable source of EPA and DHA, essential omega-3 fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are vital to the health of the cell membrane and also contribute to cardiovascular, brain and structural system function. They provide joint and skin support and may help support cholesterol levels already within the normal range. Krill is also a natural source of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant carotenoid. Krill oil also contains phospholipids, which bind to the omega-3 fatty acids, improving their absorption in the body. These phospholipids provide strength and elasticity to the cell membrane, helping to keep toxins out and let nutrients and oxygen in. Vitamin K2 provides added support for the cardiovascular system and bone health.
20 mcg vitamin K (25% of Daily Value), plus krill oil, fish oil, EPA, DHA and astaxanthin.
Take 1 capsule with a meal one or two times daily.
Super Omega-3 EPA: ( you can click on the highlighted link and it will take you right to the source)
Promotes brain health
Encourages healthy circulatory function
380 EPA / 190mg DHA per capsule
Supports the cardiovascular system
Bolsters cell membranes
Lemon oil for improved taste
How It Works:
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of four basic fats that the body derives from foods. While many of the other fats are harmful, omega-3s benefit the body and are especially good for the heart. Super Omega-3 EPA is a source of two fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Supportive but not conclusive research shows that the consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The body uses omega-3 fatty acids as one of the primary components of cell membranes. Omega-3s are also beneficial to the structural system and to the skin. Super Omega-3 EPA softgels contain approximately 1,000 mg fish oil, with a ratio of 33:16 EPA to DHA (380 mg EPA, 190 mg DHA) per softgel. It also contains lemon to significantly reduce the aftertaste from fish oil and to reduce gas. (Contains fish such as anchovy, sardine and mackerel.)
Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.
Take 1 softgel with a meal two or three times daily.
For my Vegetarians who won’t take fish oil products…..
Flax seed oil Liquid: ( click on the highlighted link and it will take you right to the source)
Aids in the construction of healthy cell membranes.
Keeps saturated fats mobile in the bloodstream.
Maintains already-normal stickiness of blood platelets.
Plays a vital role in the production of prostaglandins.
Helps maintain cholesterol levels already in the normal range.
Stimulates immune activity.
How It Works:
Several scientific studies show that consumption of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) can benefit the heart. Flax Seed Oil provides EFAs, including linoleic acid.
Fatty acids are termed “essential” because the body cannot manufacture them. Flax seed oil contains twice as much omega-3 essential fatty acids as fish oil products, without the fishy aftertaste.
The body produces prostaglandins—precursors to hormones and other compounds. Some of these initiate beneficial reactions while others produce negative effects. An improper balance of EFAs in the diet can lead to increased production of the “bad” prostaglandins. Flax Seed Oil Liquid provides the ideal ratio of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 EFAs required to maintain the necessary balance between good and bad prostaglandins.
EFAs from flax also support the structural integrity of cellular membranes, offering associated benefits to the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Flax seed oil from cold-pressed flax seeds, rosemary leaves, mixed tocopherols, ascorbyl palmitate and citric acid.
Take 1 teaspoon three times daily.
This also is available in soft gel form as well: ( click the highlighted link and it will take you right to the source.
We need these essential fatty acids for multiple reasons, and protecting the neurological function is but one health benefit, keeping our blood free flowing so the platelets don’t get sticky is another, supporting our immune system another.
I will be posting more articles directly related to why we have become a society that screams FATS are bad, and the direct correlation of a variety of health issues that are becoming common as a result. So if you want to be sure you don’t miss these other posts. Please be sure to follow my blog, and/or become a follower of http://www.facebook.com/harvestedhealth.
Thank you for taking the time to read, follow and share…..
Jodi Barnett N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy)
QFA Clinician, Orthomolecular Nutritionist,
Harvested Health LLC.
To see what services I offer go to http://www.mkt.com/harvested-health-llc
Maroon, J. et al, “3Fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti0inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain”. Surgical Neruology. April 2006: Vol 65, Issue 4: 326-331.