Why Everyone Should Take Omega-3 Fatty Acids!!
Many research articles support the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids—primarily for their ability to act as the body’s natural protection.
For those patients recovering from a heart attack, for example, omega-3 fatty acids aid in the healing process by helping with cardiac remodeling and enabling the heart to contract better.
Omega-3 fatty acids also manage the fibrosis in the region and impact the reduction of biomarkers for inflammation. According to the Journal of the American Medicine Association, omega-3 fatty acids also reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to promote healthy body composition—improving lean mass and decreasing fat mass in healthy adults.
In studies, fish oil concentrates not only caused weight reduction in mice but also appeared to stop the animals from gaining weight when given free access to food.
Additionally, omega-3 concentrates reduced the number of fat cells, especially in the abdominal region.
Research shows that concentrated fish oil increased the oxidation of fat by activating genes that break down fat in the mitochondria and peroxisomes. These breakthroughs have allowed for the development of new therapies for obesity and other metabolism diseases.
Those suffering from chronic pain have also sought relief in fish oil supplements.
Studies suggest that daily consumption of omega-3's may help support healthy inflammatory pathways, thereby alleviating symptoms associated with inflammation.
Another study showed that fish oil also reduced the need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in 59 percent of patients with neck and low-back pain.
In addition to all the benefits already mentioned, further known advantages of taking fish oil include:
- decreasing the risk of depression and anxiety
- improving eye health
- promoting brain health during pregnancy
- supporting focus and memory
- stabilizing healthy blood sugar levels
- supporting a healthy immune response
- improving bone and joint health
- improving sleep
- and supporting skin health.
Types and Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
- and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).
Below, Biotics Research explains exactly how they work:
ALA is an 18-carbon long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (SCPUFA), sourced primarily from plants. ALA provides a source of energy when metabolized, and since the body can’t make ALA, it’s considered an essential nutrient. In humans, ALA undergoes an elongation step into the second form of omega-3, EPA.
However, it is a poor source of EPA due to a low conversion efficiency of only about 5 to 10 percent.
EPA, meanwhile, is a 20-carbon long chain (LCPUFA) known for its biologic activity in humans. Supporting a variety of functions including brain health and heart health, EPA can also elongate into the third form of omega-3, known as DHA.
DHA is a 22-carbon long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid known as a physiologically-essential LCPUFA. While possible, conversion efficiency of ALA through to DHA is extremely low, typically occurring with an efficiency of just 0.2 to 2 percent.
CAN WE GET ENOUGH OMEGA-3's FROM THE FOOD WE EAT?
Fish is the primary food source of the omega-3's EPA and DHA, but Americans simply don't eat enough fish on a regular basis.
Even those who eat fish several times a week are not getting enough EPA & DHA....reason being that much of the fish consumed today is farm raised & lacks significant amounts of EPA and DHA.
Also, many people are increasingly avoiding fish due to growing concerns about environmental toxins in fish (such as mercury, dioxins, PCBs, etc.)
Fish that is safer, packed with omega-3's and has lower amounts of mercury are "SMASH fish," that is, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring.
High-mercury fish, such as tuna, swordfish, orange roughy, and shark, are typically larger in size and tend to live longer . These are two factors that increase their exposure to mercury. While good sources of omega-3s, these fish should be eaten in low moderation (or not at all) due to their mercury levels.
In addition, there are several factors that can lead to a reduced absorption of EFAs—age, poor diet, alcohol consumption, low levels of certain vitamins and minerals, some prescription drugs, compromised immune status, and a diet high in saturated and/or trans–fatty acids (meat, dairy, fast food, fried food, baked goods, and processed foods).
Moreover, people with health challenges or those who are currently deficient often require a minimum of 2–4 grams a day of EPA and DHA, which is difficult to obtain from fish alone.
WHAT ARE THE EARLY SIGNS OF OMEGA-3 DEFICIENCY?
- Poor memory
- Poor circulation
- Mood swings or depression
- Immune weakness
- Dry skin, eczema, or hair loss
- Heart problems
- Reproductive problems (men and women)
The Federal Government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 recommends that adults eat 8 or more ounces of a variety of seafood (fish or shellfish) per week for the total package of nutrients seafood provides, and that some seafood choices with higher amounts of EPA and DHA be included.
Smaller amounts of seafood are recommended for young children.
Take charge of your health...talk with your health care provider. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions and get all the omegas in that you need :-)
Source: Biotics research
Source: Nordic naturals
Image Credit: Eziutka