The importance of Omega 3 acids is very much well covered by scientific research, and most of the world’s population is aware of the significance they have on our overall health and on some of the most important organs, such as the heart and brain.
But what happens if you’re not the most passionate about fatty fish – which proves as the biggest source of these acids – or you’re not familiar with this food source geographically or dietary? The omega-3 supplements are doubtlessly but cautiously coming to one’s mind.
If you have considered taking these supplements but are not sure which ones, and will there be any benefit to you, let us see what we know about them and does everyone needs them?
It all started with researchers observing that fish-eating communities had very low rates of cardiovascular diseases. During the years, the almighty effect was later linked to omega-3 consumption, and many kinds of research have further shown that in comparison to thousands of people who haven’t taken the proper dosage of omega-3 acids or have taken the placebo ones, the considerable 25 – 28% subtraction of dying from cardiovascular disease or event was found among other thousands of people who’ve done the treatment.
Although omega-3s do not prevent heart attacks or strokes, for example, they are proved to improve numerous heart disease risk factors whatsoever. They also affect levels of triglycerides, reduce blood pressure, prevent the formation of blood clots and plaque.
Therefore, if your triglyceride levels are high and you have a high risk for a cardiovascular disorder, the improvement of your overall cardiovascular state with omega-3 might be a way of preventing or postponing the worsen state.
Supplements – Yes or No?
If you’re not particularly keen on preparing meals with fatty fish at least twice a week or having them in restaurants (due to current lockdown, e.g.) – you should consider supplements.
If you’re not consuming enough fatty fish because you don’t like the taste in general and you feel like you miss the diversity in your diet – the supplements would be a great solution.
If you live in geographical areas that don’t normally have omega-3 acids in their nutrition as a result of sea proximity or with a low fish consumption – supplements may benefit you too.
If you don’t eat at least two servings of fish per week due to a vegetarian or vegan diet – omega-3 supplements are definitely something you should consider.
As a reversed conclusion – if you consume enough fatty acids often enough and if you have a low or average risk for cardiovascular diseases, it is highly likely that you don’t need an omega-3 supplement.
Surely enough, getting omega-3 fatty acids from food is always better than taking a supplement. It is more tasteful and enjoyable to get omega-3 fatty acids from the fish, while you also compensate for other not so much healthy food in your diet.
On the other hand, many supplements contain fish oil. Many people who don’t feed on fish for many reasons, and especially those on a vegan diet, may be interested in plant-based Omega 3 supplements too. Not only do these products contain nutrients in their most effective and bioavailable form, but they are also much more sustainable for the future, as animal-based ones are showing to be more and more not.
Sources and Forms
The whole importance of omega-3 fatty acids is shaded a little bit by the fact that our bodies cannot produce them on their own, and we have to get them by eating seafood or taking supplements.
In the supplements, we can find EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are both found in seafood as well. There is also another different type of omega-3, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is found in certain plant oils, but all the researches are mostly accented on EPA and DHA as crucial in all the beneficial effects on the human body.
Early Life and Pregnancy
The benefits of omega-3 are especially important in the early stage of brain development, and it is not rare for the pregnant woman to be prescripted increased intake of these fats.
Researches have also shown that children whose mothers had taken fish oil in pregnancy are less likely to develop asthma in early childhood.
And as omega-3 is important in brain functioning also, the intake has shown the ease of the symptoms of childhood ADHD, as the other aspects of the infants’ health potentially affected by omega-3s include growth after birth, long-term neurological and cognitive development, learning disorders, and allergies.
Other Benefits and Cautions
Other probable benefits that have been connected to omega-3 may be:
- Helping in reducing pain, stiffness, and joint tenderness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Boosting the effect of anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Omega-3s may help protect against dementia and age-related mental disorders as older people with a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, for example.
- They may improve your skin and quality of sleep.
- Some researches show benefits in fighting depression too.
Besides heart and brain benefits, these are still waiting to be scientifically confirmed. Until then, it would be wise to be aware of the recommended dosage as taking more than 3 grams daily or more than your doctor advised you may interfere with some medicines you’re already taking and raise the risk of bleeding, especially if taken with drugs that affect blood clotting.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t live up to the modern omega-3 hype where many food products advertise added omega-3 as many contain minimal amounts of it. Whatever supplemental formulation you plan to or already consume ( fish liver oil, krill oil, or plant-based ones), be sure to read the label to find the amounts of EPA and DHA you need and as the doctor’s prescripted.
Although most of our nutrients should come from what we eat and ingest – remember that supplements are there only to fill in the gaps caused by the unavailability, dietary reasons, and matter of taste.
Until more research is done on the effect of omega-3 acids on cognitive diseases, diabetes, depression, and autoimmune disorders – make sure to be sure of getting enough of them in whatever form to be safe, not sorry.