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5 Science-Backed Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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Thanks to their many benefits, omega-3 fatty acids have become a popular topic in nutritional health. These “healthy fats” are found in many food sources, and there are many popular omega-3 supplements on the market.

From lowering your risk of heart disease to easing anxiety, it’s easy to see why so many people want to increase their omega-3 intake. But are these benefits justified? Are there any downsides to omega-3s or their supplements? We look to the science to help you sort it out.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, are essential to the human diet. Unlike other fats that the body can synthesize (called non-essential fatty acids), omega-3s cannot be made from scratch. They are essential for a variety of bodily processes such as blood clotting, arterial contraction and relaxation, and the production of hormones for genetic function. you can’t.

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • α-linolenic acid (ALA)

Add Omega 3 to Your Diet

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Different types of foods provide different omega-3 fatty acids. The first two types of him (EPA and DHA) are commonly referred to as “marine omega-3s” because they are abundant in fish. A third type (ALA) is commonly found in a variety of food sources, including certain oils, nuts, leafy greens, and some meats.

The best sources of omega-3 are:

  • herring
  • wild salmon
  • bluefin tuna
  • mackerel
  • sardine
  • anchovies
  • lake trout
  • Shimabas
  • walnut
  • linseed oil
  • herbivore meat
  • chia seeds
  • canola oil

Fish is the best source of omega-3s. If you are vegan or otherwise don’t eat seafood, you should make a special effort to get enough of these important fats from your diet. In that case, an omega-3 supplement may help, especially for EPA and DHA. Your body naturally converts small amounts of ALA to DHA and EPA, but it’s a good idea to make sure you’re consuming fish and supplements that contain these.

Omega-3 Benefits Backed by Science

Capsules and meals rich in omega-3

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Scientists are looking at a variety of benefits that may be associated with omega-3 fatty acids. We’ll look at the most prominent benefits along with some.

lower the risk of heart disease

Various studies have shown a relationship between heart health and omega-3 fatty acids. These fats appear to have a positive impact on many aspects of cardiovascular health. , and correlated with reduced levels of inflammation.

Replacing saturated fats such as red meat, butter, and full-fat dairy products with unsaturated fats such as omega-3s may reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

fight anxiety and depression

More research is needed on the exact correlation between mental health and omega-3 intake, but there seems to be strong evidence that these fats help reduce depression and anxiety in many people.Especially EPA shows promising results as a treatment for mild to moderate depression.

improve eye health

Omega-3s, especially EPA and DHA, play an important role in building the cellular composition of the eye. As well as helping with the early stages of development, research shows that a steady and adequate intake of these fats can prevent later vision problems such as macular degeneration.

Promotes prenatal and infant brain development

Scientists are actively researching the general link between omega-3s and brain health, especially in utero and during childhood. Some studies have shown that children of mothers who take omega-3 supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding may have better mental processing capacity than children who do not. Studies have shown that mothers who take DHA supplements improve their infant’s breastfeeding, leading to later improvements in cognitive function and vision.

slow cognitive decline

Given the link between omega-3s and general brain health, it’s perhaps surprising that some studies support that these fats may slow age-related cognitive decline. No. This may be particularly promising in helping delay the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but more research is needed in this area.

Scientists are studying these and many other benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, including their effects on ADHD, metabolic syndrome, and certain autoimmune diseases.

Disadvantages of Omega-3 Supplements

In general, doctors recommend getting most or all of your omega-3 fatty acids from food sources. is.

However, omega-3 supplements such as fish oil and cod liver oil offer many of the same benefits of consuming these fats from dietary sources. These supplements are generally safe when taken in moderation. However, there are some potential drawbacks to consider.

Bleeding risk

There are some indications that omega-3 supplements may increase the effectiveness of anticoagulants, herbs and supplements. .

Other potential drug interactions

Further research is needed on how fish oil supplements interact with other medications and dietary supplements. , there may be harmful interactions.

common side effects

Some users of omega-3 supplements have noted common discomforts associated with them. This may include heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea.

Other side effects of omega-3 supplements noted by some include a fishy aftertaste and bad breath, sometimes along with a rash. should consult a doctor.

Should You Take Omega 3 Supplements?

Omega 3 capsules with canned sardines

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Omega-3s are essential for cell growth and overall health, and it’s important to include them in your regular dietary intake. Ideally, it’s best to do this 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. Relatively inexpensive. However, keep in mind that these should be consumed in moderation and consulted with your doctor. side effects may occur.

More research is needed to fully discover all the benefits of omega-3s, but one thing is clear. Omega 3 is an important part of a balanced diet.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. If you have any questions about your medical condition or health purposes, be sure to consult a physician or other qualified Talk to your healthcare provider.