Ratite Birds include ostriches, emus, cassowaries, moas, rheas, kiwis and elephant birds.
Natural Components Found in Ratite Oil
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential fatty acid that comes from plants. It is considered an essential nutrient, which means that your body requires it. ALA is used as a source of energy by the body. It also serves as the parent substance to omega-3 fatty acids, compounds that regulate blood pressure, blood clotting, heart rate, blood vessel dilation, the immune response, and breakdown of fats. Essential fatty acids are also used to make brain and nervous tissue. Only certain plant products provide ALA. Primarily, they are canola (rapeseed), flaxseed (linseed), and soybean oil. Some fish (for example, mackerel and salmon) contain omega-3 fatty acids. Corn, safflower, cottonseed, sesame, and sunflower oils are rich in fats called omega-6 fatty acids. These two families of fats have very important, but different, roles in the body. It is important to have a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Excessive intake of either type of fat can cause health problems.
American diets are typically high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. Americans' high consumption of omega-6 oils (corn, safflower, sunflower oils), low intake of fish, and focus on decreasing overall fat in the diet are the primary reasons for inadequate or imbalanced levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Taking in more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids may encourage your body to produce substances that cause inflammation and negatively affect your body's response to disease. These imbalances may make you more susceptible to heart disease, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and psoriasis, and infections, and can lower your immunity. You may gain significant health benefits by increasing the level of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. This is especially true if you take in large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have several proven benefits. They are especially good for your heart, they can provide relief from rheumatoid arthritis, they may be helpful in treating multiple sclerosis, and they may help prevent cancer. Recently, omega-3 fatty acids were shown to help treat migraines and depression. ALA may be useful in treating skin cancer, and may be useful in treating persons with anorexia nervosa.
ALA and other omega-3 oils are used to help treat the following:
- Heart disease: ALA may reduce the risk of heart disease by improving the arteries that carry blood throughout the body and to the brain, and by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Allergic and inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
- Autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and cancer
The following foods are good sources of ALA: flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, soybean oil, margarine, if made from canola or soybean oil, pumpkin, and walnuts, cooking oils (canola oil, soybean oil, margarines made from these oils), and medicinal oils (flaxseed oil, gelatin capsules of flaxseed oil). Several manufacturing methods can destroy the nutrient value of products that contain ALA. Preferred methods are "modified atmospheric packing methods." Generally, high-quality oil will be certified as organic by a reputable company, bottled in light-resistant containers, refrigerated, and marked with an expiration date. A group of nutrition experts, under the auspices of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL), has issued recommendations for adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids as outlined below:
- Breastfed infants receive sufficient amounts of ALA if the mother has an adequate intake of this fatty acid.
- Infants formula should contain 1.5% ALA.
- Adults: ISSFAL recommends the intake of 2.22 g/day of ALA.
ALA supplements are fats, and are high in calories. Avoid products containing hydrogenated fats. You should consult with your healthcare provider before taking ALA if you are currently taking lovastatin.
Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid that comes primarily from plant-based oils. Linoleic acid, which is found in cooking oils and processed foods, is converted into GLA in the body. GLA supplements are available in the form of evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, and borage oil, which also provide linoleic acid. For example, evening primrose oil is 72 percent linoleic acid. The average North American diet provides more than 10 times the necessary amount of linoleic acid. People who have diabetes are less able than healthy individuals to convert linoleic acid to GLA. Other conditions that appear to reduce the body's ability to convert linoleic acid to GLA include aging, alcoholism, atopic dermatitis, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Aging also appears to reduce conversion of linoleic acid to GLA. If you are an older person or have one of these conditions, you may want to talk to your provider about supplementing your diet with GLA.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may benefit from GLA supplementation. It may enable you to take less non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can cause stomach and intestinal problems. However, more research is needed to establish the proper dosage for long-term use. Research has shown that GLA may help prevent cardiovascular disease by dilating blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and preventing atherosclerosis. Cancer is another condition where GLA may be useful. Studies in people with colon cancer, breast cancer, and melanoma show that GLA inhibits the growth of tumors and the spread of cancer. For hemodialysis patients with uremic skin symptoms, studies show that skin conditions improved when the subjects used evening primrose oil supplements. Studies suggest that GLA is also helpful in increasing bone density and calcium absorption in people who have osteoporosis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. GLA may reduce inflammation.
- Diabetes. GLA supplementation assists nerve function and helps prevent nerve damage caused by diabetes.
- Cancer. GLA may help suppress tumor growth and spread of cancer, particularly in breast cancer and melanoma.
- Heart disease. GLA may help prevent heart disease by inhibiting plaque formation, dilating blood vessels, and lowering blood pressure.
- Eyes. GLA is beneficial in Sjgren's syndrome and may be useful in other dry eye conditions.
- GLA supplements may help the symptoms of many conditions that occur with aging. It can also reduce the symptoms of alcoholism, atopic dermatitis, and osteoporosis.
- Menstrual problems (painful menstruation or no menstruation). Essential fatty acids such as those found in flaxseed, evening primrose, and borage oils reduce inflammation and support hormone production. Dosage is 1,000 to 1,500 mg one or two times per day.
GLA is found in the plant-seed oils of evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils. GLA is also found in human milk and, in small amounts, in a wide variety of common foods, particularly organ meats. GLA supplements are available in several forms, including evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, borage oil, and borage oil capsules. Several manufacturing methods can destroy the nutrient value of GLA products. Some preferred methods use proprietary names for their process, generically known as "modified atmospheric packing methods." Generally, a high-quality oil will be certified as organic by a reputable third party, packaged in light-resistant containers, refrigerated, and marked with a freshness date.
A recommended dosage for rheumatoid arthritis is 1,400 mg per day. As the cost of oils can be high, and lower doses are usually effective, an acceptable clinical dosage of evening primrose, black currant, or borage oil would be 1,500 mg once or twice daily. Studies have shown that up to 2,800 mg of GLA per day is well tolerated. A healthy person eating a normal diet should consume fewer saturated fats and more polyunsaturated fats. Avoid products that contain hydrogenated fats. Discuss your total fat intake with your health care provider if you are thinking about taking GLA supplements. GLA from dietary sources appears to be nontoxic.
GLA may increase the effectiveness of ceftazidime, an antibiotic, against a variety of bacterial infections. If you are currently taking this medication, consult your healthcare provider to determine whether this combination is appropriate for you. GLA may also increase the effects of anti-cancer treatments, such as doxorubicin, cisplatin, carboplatin, idarubicin, mitoxantrone, tamoxifen, vincristine, and vinblastine. Your healthcare provider can tell you whether taking GLA may benefit you if you are currently undergoing chemotherapy with any of these medications.
Hyaluronic acid (also called Hyaluronan) is a component of connective tissue whose function is to cushion and lubricate. Hyaluronan occurs throughout the body in abundant amounts in many of the places people with hereditary connective tissue disorders have problems such as joints, heart valves and eyes. Hyaluronic acid abnormalities are a common thread in connective tissue disorders. Interestingly, they are also common biochemical anomalies in most of the individual features of connective tissue disorders such as mitral valve prolapse, TMJ, osteoarthritis, and keratoconus. Hyaluronic acid has been nicknamed by the press as the "key to the fountain of youth" because it has been noted that at least some people who ingest a lot of it in their diets tend to live to ripe old ages. ABC News had a show on a village in Japan and hyaluronic acid entitled, "The Village of Long Life: Could Hyaluronic Acid Be an Anti-Aging Remedy?".