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By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Nov, 2017
Perhaps you know someone who works hard at embracing a healthful lifestyle. They eat right, exercise regularly – and yet, for some reason, they are hung up on their deficiencies. Maybe even you feel this way.

This is a good time of the year to consider that it is not only what we consume, do, or don’t do that keeps us happy and healthy. The way we think, what we believe, and what we put back into the world also has a profound effect on the quality of our lives.

As children, we’re taught that it is polite to say “please” and “thank you.” The truth is, authentic cultivation of those underlying emotions can positively affect our quality of life and health later.

According to Drs. Lori and Randy Sansone, gratitude can be defined as “appreciation for what is personally valuable and meaningful, and it represents a general state of thankfulness or appreciation.”1 The act of expressing our genuine thankfulness for what we receive, tangible and intangible, earned or not earned, has been linked to a wide range of health benefits.

Getting good sleep is vital to our bodies’ ability to stay healthy and feel great. Making a point to regularly express gratitude has been shown to lead to more sleep and better sleep.2 The simple act of spending a few minutes before bed writing down the things that you are grateful for can lead to improved sleep and even make it easier to wake up the next day!

We’ve all faced the challenge of staying positive during tough times. By mindfully focusing on expressing your gratitude, you can help keep feelings of stress and depression at bay.3 Keep building on the upward cycle by showing appreciation to your coworkers and new people you meet – this leads to stronger relationships, new friendships, and opens the door to an improved sense of social support!4

Leading gratitude researcher, Robert A. Emmons, has shown that practicing gratitude can help moderate cholesterol levels, lead to greater overall heart health and decelerate neurodegeneration. In addition to the physical bonuses, Emmons’ research participants experienced psychological detoxification – or a purging of negative emotions and mental noise.5

It is a busy time of year, but making the effort to cultivate a little more gratitude in our lives can help make it easier. There are many ways to do this, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
• Keep a diary of things you appreciate
• Slow down and intentionally notice goodness around you
• Share a genuine compliment, personal or situational
• Leave an everyday gratitude reminder note for yourself – on a mirror, your desk, or in your car
• Pay it forward – we can’t always repay the blessings we receive, but we can pass them along

1. Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2010;7(11):18-22.
2. J Psychosom Res. 2009 Jan;66(1):43-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2008.09.002. Epub 2008 Nov 22.
3. Wood, Alex M., Maltby, John, Gillett, Raphael, Linley, P. Alex and Joseph, Stephen. (2008) The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression: two longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 42 (Number 4). pp. 854-871. ISSN 0092-6566
4. Emotion. 2015 Feb;15(1):1-5. doi: 10.1037/emo0000017.Epub 2014 Aug 11.
5. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Nov, 2017
Finding the right main dish for your Thanksgiving feast is easy at Marlene's. From ethically raised and harvested meats to unique vegetarian options, you'll be please to find everything you need in one place! Remember to tour our produce section for fresh, organic sweet potatoes and yams, Brussels sprouts, green beans, and anything else to make your table complete.
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Oct, 2017
by Delaney Dvorak, Sound Outlook Copy Editor

As you roam through Marlene’s bulk food department and acclimate to the cool, yet refreshing refrigerated air, you may find yourself wondering, “Who in the world is seasoning these roasted pumpkin seeds to perfection?” or “Whose hand can I shake for providing this organic and locally-milled flour for my family’s allergen-free diet.”

Marlene’s bulk department head, Carolynne, and I set out for Eugene, Oregon, to tour a few of the family businesses we buy from and get to the bottom of these pressing questions. Upon arrival, we were immersed in the history of some of Oregon’s most driven farmers and devoted workers, as well as a tenaciously active community rooted in sustainability. This opportunity enlightened us to what makes Marlene’s so special too: simply, our personal relationships with passionate people.

This particular story of hardworking individuals begins in the early 1950s when Everett and Ellen Hunton established their family farm in the fertile and friendly Willamette Valley near Junction City, Oregon. Their primary crops included forage and turf grasses, clover, meadow foam, and other various vegetables and cover crop seeds. It wasn’t long until they gained an exemplary reputation as a large-scale cultivator for the surrounding farming community.
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Oct, 2017
by Nicole Wirth, LMP

In the modern world, breast cancer is quite common. Either you know someone, have a family member or are yourself currently fighting the good fight. The sad truth is that many allopathic doctors advise removing lymph nodes when cancer is detected for fear of the cancer spreading.

Lymphatic nodes have vessels leading to and from them. Once they are removed, the inactive vessels can hold on to toxic material and need to be cleared out to avoid further complications. Unfortunately, it is not always expressed how surgery will impact the lymphatic system until the system is already horribly compromised and the patient is diagnosed with lymphedema.

There is still good news! I’ve seen many clients with dire toxicity be restored to health through lymphatic cleansing. This healing is made possible by encouraging lymph fluid circulation around blood vessels or other tissues that have been surgically connected after being severed.

Why Should I Flush My Lymph?
It’s amazing how, despite different health concerns clients can have, there are tremendous benefits in clearing the same pathways that we all have in our bodies. Our lymph was designed to be a healthy backup to buffer all aspects of the body. However, if it’s clogged up, the whole body greatly suffers.

I liken this to when garbage collectors go on strike. Garbage (toxins) keeps coming in and piling up, becoming compacted and hard. When there is too much buildup, the garbage is unable to move out and no nutrients are able to move in and replenish the lymphatic fluid. Some consequences of this buildup tend to include: sagging skin, brown spots on the skin, chronic fatigue, and hardened lumps. Many experience foggy thoughts and find themselves overwhelmed by the unfinished projects they lack the energy to complete.

Most people’s lymphatic systems are already quite impacted, compromised, and dehydrated. People who have had any kind of surgery can especially benefit from lymphatic drainage. Before getting more surgeries to remove scars or tumors, patients should understand that the body is capable of breaking down scar tissue when lymph is properly moved around. The higher the volume of lymph moved, the faster scars get broken down; a healthy lymphatic system can move one to three liters a day! In addition to clearing and rerouting old debris, lymph drainage can accommodate the growth of new blood vessels.

How to Flush Your Lymph
When a comprehensive drainage and redirection of lymph is required, the lymphatic machine is a perfect choice. This method magnetically moves lymph to healthy nodes. I’ve successfully treated clients with scarring and sagging due to augmentation surgery, weight gain from C-sections, and chemical sensitivity issues, as well as resolved issues due to congested or removed nodes or tumors. This effectiveness of this therapy saves my clients’ time and money.

Lymphatic drainage can:
• Strengthen the immune system
• Boost white blood cell count
• Increase energy levels
• Break down belly fat
• Aid in post-surgery recovery
• Promote healthy, elastic, glowing skin
• Reduce inflammation
• Help prevent breast and prostate problems
• Relieve water retention

Nicole Wirth, LMP, helps her clients heal themselves, gain back lost energy, and live longer, more vital lives. She educates  her clients on the lymphatic system, emotions, and taking care of their bodies with reverence. In addition to her practice in the Pacific Northwest, Nicole offers a few online programs and works with clients all over the world. Contact her or learn more about her work at
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Oct, 2017
by Mark Gignac, ND, FABNO

Each year in the United States, over 190,000 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 60,000 women are diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) was founded in October of 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries - now part of AstraZeneca. The aim of NBCAM from its inception, has been to promote mammography as “the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.” Many reasonable people, however, believe that prevention, rather than diagnosis and treatment, is the best weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Unfortunately, the majority of revenue generated from “pink ribbon fundraising” goes to pharmaceutical companies involved in research on treatments for breast cancer.

Even though we are taught that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the primary focus of attention and fundraising continues to be directed toward drug development. This seems strange in light of research indicating that 90-95% of cancers are caused by factors associated with environment and lifestyle.1

Optimal sun exposure seems to be critical for good health on multiple levels. Since the late 1980s, we have known that women with vitamin D blood levels around 55 ng/ml are over 50% less likely to develop breast cancer than the majority of women with levels less than 40 ng/ ml. We now know that vitamin D blood levels are inversely correlated with breast cancer recurrence, and survival. If this is not surprising enough, recent studies indicate that low blood levels of vitamin D may enhance tumor growth and metastasis. Vitamin D is also critical for immune function and healthy bone calcification. Unfortunately, antiestrogen treatments compound this problem by causing significant loss of bone calcium that can lead to osteoporosis.

On the other side of the equation, nighttime darkness is also critically important for healing and repair. Circadian dysregulation and inadequate melatonin production are also highly correlated with breast cancer incidence, recurrence,  and survival. The Portnov study reported a significant association between light at night and breast cancer risk, showing that women living in areas with the greatest light at night had a 63% greater risk of breast cancer compared to women living in areas with the lowest light.2

Unfortunately, melatonin has been incorrectly stereotyped as a sleep-inducing supplement. Melatonin’s most interesting  properties involve immune and hormonal regulation. Additionally, melatonin is one of the most powerful endogenous antioxidants in the body, as it is both water and fat-soluble. Not surprisingly, it also has cancer suppressing properties.

Diet and food quality can also play a critical role in the prevention or initiation of breast cancer. We are exposed to numerous estrogen mimickers and carcinogenic compounds through our diet. Compounds such as BPA, plastics, antibiotics, hormones, glyphosate, etc., have been shown to be associated with increased breast cancer risk.

Additionally, compounds such as lectins, which are naturally present in some foods, can weaken immune function and compromise the gut microbiome and intestinal barrier. All of this havoc increases the risk of multiple health problems, including cancer. On the other hand, certain foods such as cruciferous vegetables have been shown to be associated with a significant reduction in breast cancer incidence. Sulforaphane is one of the most interesting compounds derived from cruciferous vegetables. It has been shown to suppress cancer stem cells.

Mark Gignac, ND, FABNO, has studied natural medicines for the past 35 years. He is a graduate of Bastyr University with a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a Masters in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. After graduating, he developed the course curriculum and taught the History of Medicine and Naturopathic Philosophy to Bastyr medical students. Dr. Gignac has also served as Director of Medicine at Seattle Treatment and Wellness Center for 17 years and continues to give lectures locally and nationally. For more information, visit

1. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes. Pharmaceutical Research, Vol. 25, No 9, September 2008.
2. Light at Night and Breast Cancer Incidence in Connecticut. Sci Total Environ. 2016 Dec 1; 572:1020-1024.

By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Oct, 2017
by Steve Fry, CHFS and Sherry Fry, NTP, CHFS

“Properly prepared, nutrient-rich, whole foods.” What do these six words mean to you? To us, these are critical words. For over three decades, my wife and I have attempted to live these six words and teach these six words. For in them lies profound wisdom and healing for the nations. A full respect and implementation of these six words can beat breast cancer, expose the GMO lie, and educate the world on food values like fair trade, organic, and sustainable agriculture.

At Common Sense Nutritional Therapy, we have six other words as well, and they are synonymous with the above six: “Health is fragile, handle with food.”

My parents were subject to a new phenomenon in their 20s when I was born in 1952. This new invention was sensational, exciting, and trusted as a source for the latest, greatest news on everything. It was called the television. There, my parents learned that formula was better than breast milk, margarine was better than butter, and a certain cigarette brand was doctor recommended. There, white refined sugar was put forth as a health food, and convenience foods were put forth as better tasting, easier to prepare, and healthier than Mom’s cooking.

Although these things are known to be false now, there is a whole new set of current day “truths” that I believe we will one day see to be just as ludicrous.

So, where can we find the truth? Where can we go for untainted information?

As practitioners who use whole foods and whole food concentrates to move people back to optimal health, we go to the old masters’ works left behind for us to use. The works of people like Dr. Francis Pottenger, Dr. Melvin Page, Dr. Royal Lee, Dr. Weston A. Price, and the like. Definitely look these people up! My wife and I have taught the class “Health is Fragile - Handle with Food” for over twenty years now. You might ask: “How can this address breast cancer, GMOs, and issues like organic, fair trade, and sustainable agriculture?” It’s a legitimate question.

We all vote with our dollars. Every time we buy, we vote. The food providers are watching how we vote. Furthermore, they are polling “we the people” as to why we vote the way we do. If you want to make real change, choose to buy foods that truly support your health. It promotes true sustainable health for you and those you teach. We believe that it is extremely important for you to teach others what you learn, as these types of true solutions are far too absent in current teaching environments. In our class, “Health Is Fragile - Handle With Food,” we teach a broad spectrum of Old World nutritional fundamentals and how to implement them in a modern day glut of “nutritional information,” which is questionable, at best, and downright fraudulent, at worst.

The bottom line is this: we need to return to a nutrient-rich, properly prepared whole food diet that implements age-old, tried and true information that has sustained disease-free groups of people for thousands and thousands of years. It can be done!

Steve Fry, CHFS and Sherry Fry, CHFS, NTP of Common Sense Nutritional Therapy at Rody Chiropractic Massage & Health, help their clients understand and reverse the unsuspected effects of the modern diet. Contact them through rody-massage. com/nutrition,, or by calling 360.477.1930.
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Oct, 2017
by Joseph Mercola, MD

In Part One of “Effortless Healing,” we discussed how processed foods and poor lifestyle choices can gravely affect our health. With diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other life threatening illnesses on the rise in America, there is no better time than now to start ditching those unhealthy habits.

How to Reverse Insulin Resistance
The good news is you can turn insulin resistance around fairly quickly and easily by following these simple steps:

• Eliminate added sugars and sweeteners from your diet. Most processed foods (anything in a jar, can, bottle, bag, or box) contain added sugars, typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Don’t be tricked by artificially sweetened “diet” foods and beverages. Despite their lack of calories, research has clearly shown that artificial sweeteners promote insulin resistance just like sugar.

• Eliminate grains, especially wheat, barley, oats, and rye, as these not only raise your insulin and contribute to insulin resistance, they also contain gluten, which triggers inflammation and can damage your intestines. Better grain alternatives include almond meal, buckwheat groats, coconut flour, and sweet potatoes; they won’t spike your blood sugar like grains do.

• Replace eliminated carbs with healthy fats like avocado, butter made from raw, grass-fed, organic milk, cheese, raw dairy, organic pastured egg yolks, raw nuts, grass-fed meats, and coconut oil.

Sitting Takes a Profound Toll on Your Health
More than 10,000 studies show that prolonged sitting is devastating to your health. It actively and independently promotes chronic diseases, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes, even if you exercise frequently. Unfortunately, you cannot offset 8 to 10 hours of stillness with 30 to 60 minutes of exercise, even if you exercise every single day.

Molecularly, the human body was designed to be active all day long. When you stop moving and sit still for extended periods of time, it’s like telling your body to shut down and prepare for death. As soon as you stand up, a number of molecular cascades occur that promote and support healthy biological functioning.

Within 90 seconds of standing up, the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol — which are mediated by insulin — are activated. All of these molecular effects are activated simply by carrying your bodyweight upon your legs. These cellular mechanisms are also responsible for pushing fuels into your cells and, if done regularly, will radically decrease your risk of diabetes and obesity.

The remedy is simple: Avoid sitting and get moving more often. Ideally, aim to sit less than three hours a day. Also consider walking more, in addition to your exercise regimen. Rest is supposed to break up activity — not the other way around. Walking appears to be really foundational for optimal health, and if you’re currently inactive, this is the place to start, even before you get going on a workout routine.

Effortless Healing Is Possible
Health is easier to maintain than you might think. Just make small, gradual shifts in what you eat and how you live your life. One thing’s for sure: the body is remarkably efficient when it comes to healing and regenerating itself when fed and cared for properly. Besides food, which can rightfully be viewed as medicine, you also need physical activity — both non-exercise movement and more regimented, higher-intensity exercise.

Other healthy lifestyle components include getting sensible sun exposure, and becoming more grounded. These are health-promoting lifestyle habits that cost little to nothing. The same can surely not be said for prescription drugs and conventional medical treatments, so it seems foolish to forgo them.

Joseph Mercola, MD, is creator of the number-one rated natural health website in the world,

By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Oct, 2017
by Robert Scott Bell, D.A. Hom

Millions of Americans are waking to the dangers of antibiotics and steroidal treatments and turning to natural alternatives like silver hydrosol, probiotics, and medicinal plants.

Humans carry both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in our guts, and intestinal balance is imperative for good health. When the bad guys multiply too fast due to poor diet, antibiotics, chlorinated water, food poisoning or drugs, a condition called dysbiosis develops, which can lead to Crohn’s disease, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Addressing dysbiosis in its beginning stages or even preemptively is a huge advantage to maintaining overall health and avoiding complications such as malabsorption, dangerous metabolic shifts, and obesity.

When the bad bugs take over in cases of gut dysbiosis, inflammation, or Candida overgrowth, the finger-like villi responsible for nutrient absorption are damaged and nutrient absorption becomes highly impaired. Pathogenic (bad) bacteria and fungi begin to retard the healing process and inflammation and indigestion intensify.

Hidden health costs of pharmaceuticals
Doctors typically prescribe prednisone and/or strong antibiotics in such cases, but for every symptom these powerful drugs suppress, additional collateral damage is the price paid by your intestinal lining. Prolonged use of antibiotic drugs can lead to colonies of multidrug resistant organisms forming, and wreaking havoc on your intestines. The reality is that “side effects” are actually direct effects of a drug. They are simply labeled in such a way as to minimize patient resistance to taking them.

Bring on the healing
New research on silver hydrosol confirms its ability to benefit gastrointestinal health. Although silver can eradicate beneficial bacteria, it does not allow colonies of multi-drug-resistant organisms to form (unlike antibiotic drugs). In fact, silver is essential for more than its extraordinary anti-microbial activity. Its anti-inflammatory and tissue regenerative properties are equally, if not more, important for recovery from chronic intestinal diseases. For anyone suffering from gut dysbiosis, a thorough cleansing with silver should be considered.*

Silver is found naturally in human breast milk in measurable trace amounts and two receptor sites for silver have been identified on the myelin tissue surrounding the nerve cell. An argument could be made that it is indeed a necessary trace element. Used clinically, silver provides all the antimicrobial power of drugs without the side effects.*

In conjunction with silver, a quality pre- and probiotic helps eliminate pathogenic microflora, assisting the body on its journey back to perfect balance by soothing with its inflammation modulation activity, cleansing and regenerating healthy new tissue at the site of infection and injury.

The synergy of three
I always treat chronic gut dysbiosis issues with a three-part protocol that includes a silver hydrosol, a high-quality aloe vera juice (taken away from meals), and an intensive probiotic regimen. All are essential for a thorough cleansing. The silver-aloe-vera probiotic combination has powerful synergy, especially in carrying the active silver further along the GI tract where it is needed.

I have found that silver greatly facilitates epithelial tissue and villi recovery without inflammatory side effects or creating microbial resistance, making it a great frontline health defender. After intestinal recovery, a sublingual maintenance dose (one to three teaspoons per day) can help protect the body against falling back into bacterial disarray.

Got yeast?
Candida albicans is the most common type of yeast found in the human body. When left unchecked, Candida can become a very destructive fungus. Research confirms that the active ingredient trifecta of aloe vera juice, silver hydrosol, and probiotics support immunity, digestion, and elimination by targeting viruses and bacteria. Aloe also helps combat Candida overgrowth by balancing pH (which decreases yeast overgrowth in the large and small intestine) and by supporting intestinal regularity. I’ve found that silver, followed by a quality pre- and probiotic, easily helps to eliminate all pathogenic microflora, assisting the body on its journey back to perfect balance.

*Silver is preferable to antibiotics for many but not all conditions. Antibiotics have a lifesaving role in numerous medical conditions, but unfortunately they have been overused to the point of creating dangerous resistance within the microbial world. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist before stopping or starting any drug therapy.

Robert Scott Bell is a homeopathic practitioner and an expert in silver therapeutics. After using natural healing methods to overcome 24 years of chronic illness, he dedicated his life to revealing the healing power within us all. His podcast The Robert Scott Bell Show airs every weekday from 4 – 6 pm. Learn more at
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Oct, 2017
by Jerry Angelini, MS, LRC, LMT, Host Defense Education Director

It’s October already! The kids are back to school, sports, and extracurriculars. On top of the regular demands of work and home, parents are moving into high gear doubling as homework helpers, personal shuttle drivers, and more. Older children may be heading off to college as their parents support them through the uncertainty and feelings of anxiety that come along with this big step. Autumn is a time of major transition in so many different ways.

It’s also the last chance many will have at being outdoors before inclement weather settles in. But outdoor activities in autumn come with ragweed and leaf litter, which can mean more sneezing, itchy eyes, and general malaise. Stress and strain from all these changes can take their toll on our health as well.

So how do we not just manage all of these transitions, but flourish? You guessed it…mushrooms! Yes, mushrooms can help us rise to the challenges faced by our immune systems and support our brain power, mood, and energy.

As more people become familiar with how mushrooms help the immune system, it is important to recognize that the whole mushroom needs to be properly extracted or processed so that all of the important compounds can help our bodies. There are many polysaccharides in mushroom mycelium and fruit bodies that strengthen the activity of specific immune cells. Strong immune cells help us stay healthy throughout our lives, but especially during stressful ‘transitional’ times.

As the most dynamically alive part of the mushroom organism, the mushroom mycelium works to support a balanced immune response. This is especially helpful when we are exposed to environmental triggers like the change of seasons, pollen and dust or molds. Mycelia are skillful “conductors” for the “symphony” of immune system cells that help keep us healthy.

For a focus on immune support, blends of mushrooms are well regarded. Multiple mushroom formulas offer combinations that can synergistically support your immune system. At the kitchen table, you already know to choose a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole foods to ensure balanced nutrient uptake. In the same way, choosing a properly processed multi-mushroom blend means you benefit from a diversity of nutrients.

Looking for more targeted support? More people are turning to mushrooms like lion’s mane and reishi to support memory and mood, and help manage stress while gently energizing the system. They can help us respond to the day to day challenges of our lives, but also those times of transition like back to school and change of seasons. These can be critical supports as we demand greater and greater brain power and adaptation especially during start of the school year for both students and parents.

Big days ahead this fall? You may be wondering how to stay energized all day long, without the negative impacts of sugar or coffee’s “caffeine crash.” Cordyceps to the rescue! Cordyceps mushroom helps support healthy oxygenation and blood circulation and is a natural, jitters-free way to keep you alert, awake and moving throughout your busy day.

As with any herb or supplement, look for organically grown mushrooms from trusted sources. To achieve maximum benefit, you need to choose mushroom ingredients grown with care and expertise, then properly processed. With mushrooms in your regimen, get ready to face all the challenges of the season and flourish!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Jerry Angelini is the Education Director for Host Defense. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Boston University, building a strong foundation in research and listening. Jerry gives scholastic and informational lectures including anatomy and physiology, herbal interactions, and psycho-educational topics. For more information, visit .
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Oct, 2017
by Valerie Villalobos

Health begins and ends in the cell. Our bodies have an estimated 60–100 trillion cells and, together, they are responsible for every physical and mental function from our heart rate to our imagination. Whatever our bodies do or do not do well depends upon the health of our cells.

Each and every one of the cells in our bodies is surrounded by a soft, pliable cell membrane, which protects the cell’s contents, integrates nutrients into the cell, and enables cells to communicate with each other. Those membranes require fat to keep them flexible and functioning properly. Omega-3 essential fats EPA and DHA support the cell membrane’s fluidity, flexibility and speed.

The term “omega-3” refers to a family of fatty acids. EPA and DHA are two critical omega-3s that have been shown to support heart and eye health, brain function, a healthy pregnancy, child development, joint and skin health, sports performance, and healthy metabolism.

Our bodies do not make EPA and DHA efficiently, therefore, we must consume these fats through our diet. The best direct source of EPA and DHA is cold-water, oily fish. Every day, in response to our environment, our bodies use these precious fats, and once used they must be replaced.

In reality, not all fish oil is created equal. When seeking high-quality fish oil, you should look for certain features that are particularly important: freshness, purity, potency, and form.

Making sure your fish oil supplement is fresh is important for taste and product efficacy. The primary reason people resist taking fish oil is fear of unpleasant taste and aftertaste. Higher freshness levels result in better tasting fish oil that doesn’t cause fish burps. Taste and smell are good indicators of freshness. An unpleasant fishy smell, taste or burps indicate that a product is rancid (oxidized). Rancidity reduces the efficacy of fish oil. This applies to liquid and capsule forms of supplementation. Test your fish oil capsules for freshness by biting into them!

Clean fish oil is also critical. Fish oil must be purified to eliminate trace amounts of heavy metals, pesticides and PCBs. A third-party product analysis can validate both purity and freshness. Pure fish oil also consists of one that contains non-GMO ingredients. Eurofins Scientific GeneScan Division, a worldwide consortium of testing laboratories, is an industry leader with over 20 years in GMO testing. It’s a Non-GMO Project accredited lab and is a trusted scientific option for non-GMO verification.

Potency is another key factor. How much omega-3 one needs depends on the individual’s unique nutritional requirements. To understand how much EPA and DHA is provided in the product, you must read the amounts of EPA and DHA on the back of the label, not the total omega-3 count on the front. EPA and DHA are the bioactive omega-3 fats that are responsible for benefits associated with the omega-3 fat family.

Finally, it’s important to choose supplements in triglyceride form, particularly when selecting a concentrate. Many concentrates are in an ethyl ester form, a form rarely found in nature. Research suggests that triglycerides are more stable, which protects these fats from oxidation. Lastly, scientific evidence suggests triglycerides have an absorptive advantage over ethyl esters.

Valerie Villalobos is the former educator for Nordic Naturals.
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