Thanks to their many benefits, omega-3 fatty acids have become a popular topic in the field of nutritional health. These “healthy fats” are found in many food sources, and there are many popular omega-3 supplements on the market.
From reducing heart disease risk to helping with anxiety, it’s easy to see why many people want to increase their omega-3 intake. But are these benefits legitimate? And are there any downsides to omega-3 or its supplements? We’ll take a look at the science to help you solve it.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acidsIt is a type of polyunsaturated fat, and it is an essential part of the human diet. Unlike other fats that the body can manufacture (called nonessential fatty acids), omega-3s cannot be manufactured from scratch. They are vital to various body processes, such as making hormones for blood clotting, arterial constriction and relaxation, and genetic functions. In other words, we need omega-3, and we can only get it from food or Supplements.
There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Add omega 3 to your diet
Different types of foods provide different omega-3 fatty acids. The first two types (EPA and DHA) are found in abundance in fish, which is why they are commonly called “marine omega-3”. Type III (ALA) is common in a variety of food sources, including some oils, nuts, leafy green vegetables, and some meats.
The best sources From Omega 3 include:
- salted fish
- wild salmon
- bluefin tuna
- striped bass
- flaxseed oil
- Meat of grass-fed animals
- chia seeds
- canola oil
Fish, by far, is the best source of omega-3s. If you’re a vegetarian or don’t eat seafood, you may need to work especially hard to get enough of these important fats in your diet. In this case, omega-3 supplementation may be beneficial, especially for EPA and DHA. Although your body naturally converts a small amount of ALA into DHA and EPA, it may be a good idea to make sure that you consume fish or supplements that contain these.
Scientifically Backed Benefits of Omega 3
Scientists note a variety of benefits that may be associated with omega-3 fatty acids. Some have more evidence than others, so we’ll look at the most notable benefits with some promising scientific backing.
Reduce the risk of heart disease
A wide range of studies have shown a link between heart health and omega-3 fatty acids. These fats seem to have a positive effect on different sides For cardiovascular health. In particular, omega-3s were too interconnected With a more stable heart rhythm, lower blood pressure and heart rate, improved vascular function, and lower levels of inflammation.
Replace saturated fatssuch as red meat, butter, and full-fat dairy products, with unsaturated fats such as omega-3s, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Fight anxiety and depression
Although more research is needed regarding the exact relationship between mental health and omega-3 intake, there appears to be strong evidence that these fats can help with Reduce depression and anxiety to many people. The Environmental Protection Agency has shown, in particular promising results As a treatment for mild to moderate depression.
Promote eye health
Omega-3s – EPA and DHA in particular – play a major role in building cellular makeup from our eyes. Not only do they help during the early stages of our development, but research suggests that consistent and adequate intake of these fats can help prevent vision problemsSuch as macular degeneration later in life.
Promote brain development for prenatal and infant
Scientists are actively studying the general relationship between omega-3s and brain health, especially in the womb and during our early life. Some studies have shown that children of mothers take Omega 3 supplementation during pregnancy and lactation They may have better mental processing abilities than those who do not. In addition, studies have shown that mothers who take DHA supplements can Improving breast milk nutrition For infants, which leads to improved cognitive function and vision later in life.
slow cognitive decline
Because of the relationship between omega-3s and general brain health, it’s perhaps not surprising that some research It supports that these fats may slow cognitive decline as we age. This may be particularly promising to help slow the effects of mental illness and Alzheimer’s disease, although more research is needed in this area.
Scientists are still studying these and many other benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, including their effect on ADHD, metabolic syndrome, and some autoimmune diseases.
Disadvantages of omega-3 supplements
Generally, Doctors recommend Get most or all of your omega-3 fatty acids from food sources. Grilled or grilled (not fried) fish is the best thing to add to your diet, along with some of the other foods mentioned above.
Omega 3 SupplementsFish oil, such as fish oil or cod liver oil, offers many of the same benefits as getting these fats through food sources. These supplements are generally considered safe when taken in moderation. However, there are some potential drawbacks to consider.
risk of bleeding
There is some evidence that omega-3 supplementation may enhance the effect of anticoagulant medications, herbs, and nutritional supplements. When taken together, they may increase your risk of bleeding or decrease your ability to stop the bleeding.
Other possible drug interactions
More research is needed on how fish oil supplements interact with other medications and supplements. In particular, there may be adverse interactions between omega-3 supplements and medications taken for blood pressure, birth control, and weight loss.
General side effects
Some users of omega-3 supplements have noted general discomfort associated with it. This may include heartburn, nausea and diarrhea.
Other side effects of omega-3 supplements that some have noted include a fishy taste and bad breath, along with a rash in some cases. Those with a seafood allergy should consult their physicians before taking fish oil supplements.
Should you take omega-3 supplements?
Omega-3s are essential for cell growth and general health, and it is crucial to include them in your normal dietary intake. Ideally, this is best done through sources such as fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
However, if you cannot include these foods in your diet, omega-3 supplements are a relatively safe alternative. It’s easy to find supplements that are packed with a balanced serving of all three major omega-3s, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Keep in mind, however, that they should be eaten in moderation and in consultation with your doctor. Some omega-3 supplements may interact with other medications or supplements you’re taking, and you may experience other side effects.
Although more research is needed to fully discover all of the benefits of omega-3s, one thing is clear: They are an important part of any balanced diet.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.