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Omega-3s & More: Biggest Factors Impacting Your Health

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: So many chronic diseases can be prevented and addressed by things completely in your power.
Air Date: 10/29/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Aimée Shunney, ND
Aimée Shunney, licensed Naturopathic Doctor (ND), was born and raised on the East Coast. She graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a BA in psychology and minors in theatre and women’s studies. After completing her post-graduate pre-med course work, she attended the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, where she received her Naturopathic Medical Degree in 2001. Dr. Shunney is licensed to practice medicine by the state of California.

Before relocating to California in 2005, Dr. Shunney was in private practice in Brooklyn, NY, and Greenwich, CT. In addition, she implemented and directed the Health Education and Wellness Program at Long Island College Hospital, also in Brooklyn, that served over 3000 people during her time there.

Since moving to California, Dr. Shunney has been very busy! In addition to caring for her six-year old son, she sees patients at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine in Santa Cruz, CA, and at Healthstyle in Campbell, CA. Her patients have voted her the Best Naturopathic Doctor in the Santa Cruz Readers’ Poll since 2010.

A dynamic educator, radio personality, and writer, Dr. Shunney is on a mission to empower people to take charge of their health with integrative medicine. Whether speaking to health professionals or laypeople, her engaging style, emphasis on patient-centered care, and passionate belief in the health benefits of joyful eating make her an audience favorite. She has lectured extensively to medical students and physicians, and she participates in teaching venues throughout the community. As a Medical Advisor to Nordic Naturals, Dr. Shunney also enjoys extolling the virtues of fish oil to professional, retail, and consumer audiences across the country.

Dr. Shunney’s podcast, Green Tea & Honey, co-hosted by Chef Jennifer Brewer, is a playful exploration of integrative medicine, delicious food and joyful eating. Archived shows are available for free by subscription on iTunes.

Dr. Shunney and Chef Jenny are also the creators of 21-Day Reset, a 21-day whole foods cleansing program. This innovative approach to detoxification combines an anti-inflammatory hypoallergenic diet, easy-to-prepare delicious recipes, and individualized support to optimize health and create sustainable healthy living choices. Learn more about 21-Day Reset Online and In-person Programs.
Omega-3s & More: Biggest Factors Impacting Your Health
Anytime there is a month of "observance" dedicated to a certain disease (such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month), it also raises the question of health across the board, for both men and women.

A big part of that comes down to lifestyle and diet. In fact, so many chronic diseases can be prevented and addressed by things completely in your power.

What are some lifestyle and dietary measures that are important for women's overall health?

An anti-inflammatory diet, plenty of exercise, getting enough sleep, stress management and the use of supplements can all be very effective in preventing illness and disease.

But, perhaps the most important factor is diet; what you put in your mouth is so influential.

Vitamin D is very important when it comes to breast cancer prevention and treatment. Omega-3s are also very important in the reduction of inflammatory markers, which science has proven are a significant factor in the development of certain cancers.

Specifically, long-chain omega-3s (EPA/DHA) have been shown to be essential for every stage of a woman's life experience, including pre-conception/fertility, labor outcomes, PMS symptoms, hot flashes, mood... they are basically a "womb-to-tomb" factor.

Having the proper balance between omega-3s and omega-6s is important, because they fight for the same receptor sites in your cells. In Western societies like the United States, we get more than an ample amount of omega-6s in diet, from dairy, meat, nuts and seeds, legumes, and particularly vegetable oils -- which have become much more prominent in our diets in the last century. In fact, soybean oil consumption has increased one thousand fold in the last 100 years.

So, you're getting all these omega-6s; but how can you get enough of the long-chain omega-3s? Certainly you can't eat fish all day long. This is why supplementation becomes essential for most everyone.

How much omega-3s should you be taking?

Dr. Aimée Shunney recommends at least 1200 mgs of EPA/DHA per day, but potentially more depending on your health and what's going on in your life. The tricky part is that fish oil supplement labels can be confusing, so you need to check serving sizes to ensure you're getting enough of EPA/DHA.

Can you overdose on fish oil?

It would be really challenging. The FDA has said there are no adverse effects reported in 3000 mgs of fish oil, and the European version of the FDA has made that same statement for 5000 mg.

Should children take omega-3s?

Absolutely. Omega-3s are important for brain and nervous system development. Pregnant women should also make sure they're getting enough as deficiency can impact the fetus's growth and development.

Dr. Shunney joins Andrea and Lisa to share more about the importance of nutrition and lifestyle factors in preventing disease, as well as why omega-3s are so vital for overall health and wellness.