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Nutrients improve reproductive health: Omega-3s may delay ovarian aging

Nutrients improve reproductive health: Omega-3s may delay ovarian aging

Each woman is born with a certain number of eggs in the ovaries, which declines by about 75 percent by puberty. Keeping the remaining eggs from maturing too soon is key to a healthy reproductive life.

Doctors wanted to see if omega-3s could help regulate follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a compound that plays a role in maturing eggs. When FSH levels are too high for a woman's life stage, it can mean low ovarian egg reserves.

In this study, 15 obese and 12 healthy weight women, aged 28 to 34, took 4,000 mg of EPA/DHA per day. After one month, FSH levels had declined in the healthy-weight women with normal ovarian reserves. In obese women, omega-3s did not have an effect on FSH levels, but signs of inflammation had decreased. Doctors said omega-3s may delay ovarian aging and may be useful in women with low ovarian egg reserves.

Reference: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism; 2016, Vol. 101, No. 1, 324-33

Additional Comments by Don Goldberg

The amount of EPA/DHA administered in this study was 4,000 mg per day. How many supplement capsules do you have to take to reach that level? Here is how you figure it out. Look at the label and find the “Supplement Facts” panel. Find the line with “Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” Note that amount and check the serving size. Is it per one capsule, for example, or per 3 capsules? If you don’t see a listing for “omega-3 fatty acids,” then look for the EPA and the DHA levels, and add them together to get the omega-3 level.

I have a bottle of Natural Factors Ultra Strength Rx Omega-3 Factors (with Vitamin D) in front of me, and it contains 900 mg of omega-3 oils per one softgel. So the amount needed to reach 4,000 mg EPA/DHA per day would be 4-5 softgels per day.

I also have a bottle of Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Phospholipids. Under “Total Omega-3s” it says 595 mg. However, when you look at the “Serving Size,” it says “2 Soft Gels.”  So that means it actually contains approximately 300 mg omega-3s per softgel. You would need 13 softgels to get approximately 4,000 mg of EPA/DHA.

Why such a difference? The answer is that this particular Nordic Naturals product is the phospholipid complex of omega-3 oils. For each 300 mg of omega-3 oil, you have another 225 mg of phospholipids! One could argue, or course, that because the omega-3 is bound to the phospholipid complex, it is better absorbed, and therefor a smaller amount of this is equivalent to a larger amount of regular, non-complexed omega-3.

It’s your decision.

Note: A version of this article appeared in the Summer 2016 Willner Window Newsletter/Product Catalog.

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