Omega 3 fatty acids belong to the most important nutrients for the organism and they have a highly positive effects on health. The clinical studies that have been carried out have proven that they help to prevent the development of cardiac pathologies, regulate blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, and relieve the pain in the joints, migraine, and depression.
- 1. What is Omega-3?
- 2. What are the essential omega-3 fatty acids?
- 3. What are the essential Omega-3 fatty acids and where can we find them?
- 4. Eicosanoids and Essential Fatty Acids. What are the Eicosanoids?
- 5. Properties of omega 3 fatty acids on the organism
- 6. Why do omega-3 fatty acids have such a strong impact on the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids DHA and EPA?
- 7. In which way do omega-3 fatty acids benefit the organism?
- 8. It is advisable to use omega 3 fatty acids for the following health problems or situations:
- 9. Omega 3 protects the heart and reduces the cholesterol
- 10. Effects of Omega 3 on cardiovascular health:
- 11. Omega-3 fatty acids and their importance for sportspeople
- 12. Omega 3 reduces the inflammation and relieves arthritis
- 13. Omega 3 reduces and relieves the pain
- 14. Omega 3 and pregnancy
- 15. Omega 3 protects the eyes and reduces the probabilities of suffering macular degeneration
- 16. Omega 3 has beneficial effects for the entire organism
- 17. Omega 3 can reduce insomnia
- 18. Sources of Omega 3 fatty acids
- 19. Pathologies due to an omega 3 fatty acids deficiency
- 20. Why do only some doctors recommend omega 3 fatty acids?
- 21. Who can benefit from omega 3 fatty acids?
- 22. Vegans and vegetarians need Omega 3 and Vitamin B12
- 23. What do the experts think about omega 3 fatty acids?
- 24. The Intake of omega 3 fatty acids
- 25. The three benefits of consuming omega 3 capsules as a dietary supplement:
- 26. Side effects and interactions of omega 3
- 27. The Importance of the Balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6
- 28. Bibliography:
What is Omega-3?
In this article, we will give you information about Omega 3: its benefits for the organism, the consequences of an Omega 3 deficiency, the recommended dose, and side effects.
Almost everyone knows that omega-3 fatty acids have incredible properties for health, they encourage the functioning of the heart, protect the joints, ensure the proper functioning of the brain and sight, help to control stress… There is no other substance that has so many positive effects for our health at the same time.
Omega 3 fatty acids are very important for the human body. They are the building blocks of the cell membrane, which is why they are indispensable for the organism. Moreover, they are basic for the blood flow, and to maintain an optimal level of viscosity and lipids in the blood.
Omega-3 has been studied in depth. Around 6 000 scientific studies have proven its strong impact on health. Due to this, the foods that contain this element are regarded as “miraculous foods of the 21st century or superfoods”.
The research that has been carried out has proven that EPA and DHA acids from omega-3 help to prevent cardiac disorders, regulate blood pressure and the levels of cholesterol, reduce joint pain, migraine, depression, autoimmune diseases, and other auto-immune diseases and health problems. All in all, they improve health as a whole and protect against inflammation and some neurological pathologies. Moreover, they also favor the development of the brain and sight in the fetus and new-born babies, which is why its consumption is so important for pregnant women and mothers during lactation.
What are the essential omega-3 fatty acids?
The omega-3 fatty acids belong to the group of the essential acids. This means that our body cannot produce them on its own, which is why we need to provide them to the organism through food, since they help to prevent several diseases.
- They are polyunsaturated fatty acids that we must include daily in our diet.
- There are several types: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).
- Omega 3 fatty acids are indispensable in order to have a healthy cardiovascular system and to preserve the metabolism in an optimal state.
- They have many beneficial properties for the organism, like its effects on the skin, the brain, the muscle-skeletal system, and the immune system.
- Moreover, they reduce the formation of pro-inflammatory substances and enhance the sight and the brain.
- Vegetable oils stand out among the sources of this element: soy, linseed, or rapeseed oil; as well as fish rich in fats.
It is absolutely important to consume enough omega-3, either through natural sources and/or supplements that have these essential fatty acids.
What are the essential Omega-3 fatty acids and where can we find them?
The omega-3 fatty acids are divided in:
- Eicosapentanoic acid (EPA),
- Docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and
- Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).
Short chain Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) is mainly found in vegetable sources such as nuts, linseed oil, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, and nuts. On the other hand we have long chain omega 3 fatty acids, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), which are mainly found in oily fish oils like salmons, mackerels, sardines, anchovies, and tuna.
Our body needs certain fats in order to transport fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, ad K, and for the production of esteriotactic hormones, the maintenance of a healthy skin, and the execution of biochemical tasks, a normal brain function, and a whole maze of physiological tasks. This is why it is so advisable to consume Omega 3 daily.
The Importance of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
DHA is essential for the formation of structural brain components. It makes up a 50% of the weight of the neuronal membranes in the brain. It is also required for the structural and functional components of the central nervous system. During pregnancy and lactation, the only source of DHA for the children are their mothers. Some people fear that the pregnancy can cause a DHA deficiency in women, since the developing fetus can reduce the mother’s DHA levels.
Quite often, DHA is recommended as a supplement in order to help with the development of the brain and the eyes of the fetus and children
The Importance of Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA)
EPA has properties to reduce inflammation and it is necessary for the production of a group of especial substances in our body called prostaglandins, which control the coagulation of the arterial blood and other functions. EPA is also a natural method to reduce cholesterol and the triglycerides. This consequently reduces the risk of suffering arrhythmia, which can cause sudden cardiac death.
Eicosanoids and Essential Fatty Acids. What are the Eicosanoids?
They are a group of powerful compounds that are similar to the hormones produced by the body from essential fatty acids. They include prostaglandins, prostacyclines, leukotrienes, and thromboxanes, which are responsible for some beneficial effects. However, some eicosanoids, such as arachidonic acid derivatives, are potentially harmful if they are accumulated excessively in the body.
While DHA plays mainly a structural role, EPA can be the dominant functional fatty acid in several aspects of health, and specially in inflammatory processes
Types of Eicosanoids
There are mainly 3 “families” or series of these compounds, which are even cataloged as “good” or “potentially harmful”, with the following properties:
- Series 1 Eicosanoids: they reduce the inflammation, dilate the blood vessels, and inhibit the coagulation of the blood. They help the body to recover from injuries and reduce the pain, swelling, and redness, apart from keeping a correct blood flow
- Series 2 Eicosanoids: they increase the inflammation, contract the blood vessels, and encourage the coagulation of the blood. These properties are used when the body is hurt or injured. Without these eicosanoids, we could bleed to death. However, an excessive amount can be harmful. Many diseases are directly related to an excessive inflammation or coagulation of the blood, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and some types of strokes and heart attacks, damage to the nerves, high blood pressure, allergies, skin inflammation, and cancer.
- Series 3 Eicosanoids: we can find mixed functionalities, since some of them dilate the blood vessels, while others contract them. They also have a weak tendency to increase inflammation and to inhibit the coagulation of the blood. In general, they are useful defense mechanisms against trauma and infection.
Properties of omega 3 fatty acids on the organism
Omega 3 fatty acids work in many ways, which is the reason why they have a wide scope of activity. One of their properties consists on protecting the cells against premature aging, since they are powerful antioxidant agents that can even cross the blood-brain barrier.
Moreover, they have positive effects on the cardiovascular system, since they reduce the levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterol while increasing the levels of good cholesterol HDL. They also improve the blood flow and reduce the blood pressure and the fat deposits in blood vessels, which is the reason why they prevent the onset of cardiac pathologies. Moreover, they reduce the inflammation, which is the reason why they prevent and relieve rheumatism, arthritis, psoriasis, neurodermatitis, and other inflammatory pathologies.
Why do omega-3 fatty acids have such a strong impact on the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids DHA and EPA?
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that are present in all cell membranes. They are basic for the communication between cells, for example, in the nervous system, which sends messages that must reach all the parts of the body quickly.
Almost every part of our body needs an proper omega 3 supply in order to function correctly. That is why it is so important to include foods that have omega 3 in our diet regularly to protect our cell membranes, since our body will work optimally like this.
In which way do omega-3 fatty acids benefit the organism?
- Reducing all types of inflammation. Therefore, they are advised to prevent and relieve allergies, asthma, and eczema.
- Lowering the levels of triglycerides and increasing the levels of good cholesterol or HDL, which reduces the risk of suffering a heart attack.
- Reducing the probability of suffering cardiovascular pathologies or heart attacks, surpassing any medicine to which it has been compared.
- Preventing heart attacks.
- Improving the health of cartilages and joints.
- Improving ocular health which allows us to see better, both in adults and during the growth of the fetus inside the uterus, and in the ocular development of children.
- Playing an important role in the development of the brain. A clinical study carried out on little children has proven that those who consume omega 3 increase their mental and visual capacities, which makes these children more intelligent than those who do not consume it.
Pathologies like dry skin, asthma, and/or allergies are also common in children. At this time, having optimal levels of EPA can help to reduce the inflammation associated to these problems.
- Helping to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
- Enhancing the intellectual performance, the IQ, and helping old people to preserve a good memory.
- Supporting people who suffer multiple sclerosis.
- Reducing the symptoms of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children.
- Preserving the permeability of the cell walls.
- Favoring the hormone balance, which contributes to a deep and restful sleep and to wake up with vitality and without being tired.
- Reducing high blood pressure. Unlike those medicines that force blood pressure within a normal rate, omega 3 reduce blood pressure in a natural way and keep it at a healthy level. Even though it takes longer to regulate the blood pressure, the advantage is that it has no side effects, unlike medicines.
- Preventing the development of cardiovascular problems, the deposit of fat in the arteries, and the formation of platelets by endothelial cells (the lining of the arteries consists on endothelial cells).
- Reducing the adherence of platelets and the probability of suffering strokes caused by blood clots in the brain.
- Reducing the production of cytokines associated to inflammatory reactions that increase the possibilities of suffering arteriosclerosis.
- Increasing the activity of the prostaglandins produced by the endothelial cells, which helps to relax and dilate the arteries.
- Increasing the concentration of good eicosanoids (F2α prostaglandin and B2 trhomboxane) and, at the same time, reduce the harmful triglycerides.
- They are a very powerful antioxidant and one of the few that can cross the blood-brain barrier.
- Improving the mood, encouraging optimism, and reducing the onset of mental diseases.
- They are a natural and effective antidepressant.
- Balancing the level of testosterone.
- Helping to reduce the growth of cancer cells and being effective for the treatment of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and bowel cancer.
- They are the perfect supplement to prevent aging, since they improve the hormone levels and the health of the joints. Moreover, they are a fantastic sport supplement, since they shorten the recovery after a hard workout.
- Reducing the inflammation in the lungs, they are also used to treat allergies, asthma, and eczema.
- Reducing obesity and improving the cells’ ability to respond to insulin and to stimulate the secretion of leptin. This hormone regulates the intake of food, weight, and the metabolism, related to the amount of adipocytes (fat cells).
It is advisable to use omega 3 fatty acids for the following health problems or situations:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Rheumatoid diseases
- Eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, and itchiness
- Joint pain and osteoarthritis
- Huntington’s disease
- Concentration problems
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorders
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Pregnancy and lactation
- Arteriosclerosis prevention, hypertension and dementia
- Multiple sclerosis
- Intestine’s inflammatory disease
- Raynaud’s syndrome
Omega 3 protects the heart and reduces the cholesterol
Omega 3 fatty acids have many benefits for the heart and they prevent the risk of suffering the following disorders:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- High levels of lipids in the blood
- High levels of cholesterol
- Thrombosis and atherosclerotic plaques that can cause a heart attack and a stroke
- Cardiovascular X syndrome
Medicines are not the only treatment to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Nowadays, millions of people are already using omega 3 to prevent and treat cardiovascular problems.
In the 1970s, the researchers started to study the properties of fish oil when they noticed that the Eskimo from Greenland have an inexplicably low number of cardiovascular problems despite eating almost half a kilo of whale meat, including the oil and intestines, a diet that should apparently shoot up the levels of cholesterol.
Moreover, it was discovered that the Eskimo did not only practically suffer any kind of disease, but they did not often suffer from arthritis nor chronic inflammatory disorders such as bursitis, joints inflammation, macular degeneration, and other similar disorders.
The sanitary authorities have confirmed the beneficial effects that omega 3 has for the health of the heart
The sanitary authorities and plenty of clinical studies have confirmed the benefits of omega 3 to reduce cardiovascular diseases.
Myocardial infarction is the main cause of death in industrialized countries. Recent clinical studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids protect the proper functioning of the heart at many levels, both to prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases, as well as for the treatment and recovery of this type of pathologies:
- Reducing the blood lipid levels
- Lowering the blood sugar levels
- Relieving the inflammation in the body
- Lowering the blood pressure
- Reducing blood clotting and the risk of suffering a thrombosis
- Improving the functioning of the blood flow
Omega 3 fatty acids prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases
Omega 3 fatty acids have been subjected to many clinical studies due to their enormous capacity to prevent the development of cardiovascular pathologies.
A study carried out on people who survived a heart attack showed that those who have consumed a gram of omega 3 daily had a half less mortality rate in regard to those who did not consume it.
The research has proven that people suffer less cardiovascular pathologies in those countries where a lot of fish is consumed daily, such as Japan. Due to this, the sanitary authorities advise eating fish at least twice a week, specially fatty fish like salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, and sardines.
In the case of those people who already have heart problems, it is very important that they regularly consume fish, seafood, or omega 3 supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acid is very important for cardiovascular health: according to some studies, it is recommended to consume at least 1g of EPA+DHA to protect the heart.
Effects of Omega 3 on cardiovascular health:
Reducing the the risk of suffering a cardiovascular diseases or dying from a heart attack
In western countries, cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death. A natural way to prevent the development of a cardiovascular diseases consists on eating fish regularly or consuming omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3 prevents the development of arrhythmia and the formation of dangerous clots in the arteries, which are two frequent causes of heart attacks. The regular consumption of omega 3 acids prevents heart attacks from being lethal.
Improving the heart rate and reducing arrhythmia
An extremely quick or irregular heartbeat can cause death. Omega 3 contributes to maintaining a stable heartbeat and prevents the onset of arrhythmia.
Arrhythmia or uncontrolled heartbeat are the second cause of death after heart attacks. Omega 3 fatty acids contribute to stabilizing the cardiac rhythm and avoid the onset of this pathology.
Improving the heart rate’s frequency
The heart rate can be described as the number of heartbeats per minute. In other words, it is the amount of blood that is pumped by the heart per minute. This cardiac frequency is slow in those who are physically healthy and fast in those who are overweight. The normal heart rate moves from 60 and 80 heartbeats per minute and it generally increases with age.
The heart rate adjusts to the circumstances, the higher the adaptability of the heart, the better its conditions will be. The consumption of omega 3 fatty acids helps to maintain a low and healthy heart rate and provides a better adaptability of the heart to the heart rate. Both factors are essential in order to maintain the health of the heart and avoid heart attacks.
Reducing the risk of suffering a heart attack
It has been proved that those people with no family history of cardiovascular diseases can avoid a first heart attack if they include fish or omega 3 fatty oils in their diet regularly.
In the case of those people who have already suffered a heart attack, consuming omega 3 reduces the risk of suffering another one and the probability of forming blood clots.
Reducing the risk of suffering a stroke
Strokes are produced due to the formation of a blood clot in an artery of the brain. Clots can develop directly in the brain or be transported from other parts of the body to the brain.
Brain strokes can cause death or produce a severe disability. In most western countries, ischemic strokes are quite frequent and they are caused by the formation of blood clots or a lack of oxygen.
The clinical studies that have been carried out on this issue have proven that those who consume fish at least once a week have a 30% less probabilities of suffering a stroke or heart attack when compared to those who consume fish once a month.
Improving the lipid levels in the blood
The blood transports different types of lipids, among which are included fats and cholesterol. High levels of lipids in the blood produce deposits in the walls of the arteries that are called plaques. With time, these plaques obstruct the arteries and reduce the blood flow and the supply of oxygen to the heart.
We can supply omega 3 through supplementation (3-4 g / day) to our organism. With it, the level of lipids in the blood can be improved and lower the levels of triglycerides, fat, while increasing good cholesterol, HDL cholesterol at the same time. However, it does not reduce the level of bad cholesterol LDL.
The improvement of the levels of lipids in the blood is especially important for those who suffer type 2 diabetes, since they have high levels of triglycerides and low ones of HDL.
Reducing blood coagulation
Blood coagulation is vital, but when there is an excess it can increase the probabilities of suffering an artery occlusion which can be lethal if a clot completely blocks a blood vessel in the heart, lungs, or brain.
Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the adherence of the platelets to the arteries and reduce the probability of forming blood clots. In addition, they also stimulate the blood flow and contribute to more flexible red cells that easily flow through the blood vessels.
Omega 3 fatty acids only affect blood coagulation when we consume extremely high amounts (around 10 grams per day) or if we are using anti-coagulant medicines.
Reducing the inflammation
The inflammation of the blood vessels can slowly develop a cardiovascular disease and hinder the correct functioning of the blood vessels.
High levels of CRP in the blood can produce inflammatory processes in the organism. Therefore, a high level of CRP entails a higher probability of developing heart problems.
Some studies have proven that consuming omega 3 reduces the CRP levels in people with cardiac problems. Omega 3 fatty acids are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Preventing Thrombosis and Atherogenesis
Clinical studies have proven that a diet rich in fish prevents the development of thrombosis. The recommended amount is three portions of fish per week. Thrombosis is produced when the veins are not capable of facilitating the blood flow. When we include omega-3 in our diet regularly, the risk of suffering thrombosis is reduced in a half. This is due to the fact that this type of fat have anti-coagulant properties and reduce the coagulation of the blood and the chronic inflammation of the blood vessels.
The consumption of Omega 3 can reduce the formation of plaques in the arteries (Atherogenesis), with the very serious risk that it entails for our health.
Omega 3 and cholesterol
Omega 3 keeps the levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein) under control. The LDL tends to be called “bad cholesterol” and it is in charge of transporting cholesterol from the liver to different parts of the body. A high level of LDL is not healthy, since it can trigger heart pathologies.
Omega 3 increases the levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein), or “good cholesterol” and eliminates the plaque from the arteries’ walls. The low levels of HDL increase the possibilities of suffering cardiovascular pathologies.
Reducing the triglycerides
The triglycerides, along with HDL, LDL form all the cholesterol in the organism and are a very important part of the blood profile. A high level of triglycerides is a symptom of possible heart problems. It has been proven that omega 3 reduces the level of triglycerides.
The relation between omega 3 and cholesterol has been analyzed in depth. The clinical studies that have been carried out have discovered that omega 3 fatty acids are a dietary supplement that controls the health of the heart safely.
Omega 3 encourages the relaxation of the blood vessels and avoids the formation of clots in the arteries or the production of irregular heartbeats (like cardiac arrhythmia, ventricular tachycardia, and fibrillation).
Moreover, omega 3 fatty acids reduce the formation of plaque in the arteries and the chances of suffering a heart attack, or a stroke due to a blood clot.
You can save a lot of money on medicines and healthcare
The clinical studies have proven that omega 3 supplements can improve the health of the user.
According these studies, omega 3 fatty acids prevent the coronary disease and can help us save a lot of money on medicines.
Omega-3 fatty acids and their importance for sportspeople
It goes without saying that cardiovascular health is important for everybody and, of course, for sportspeople. These fatty acids can be a great element to improve the athletic capacity.
Recently, there have been studies with athletes who were given between 2000 and 4000mg of EPA and DHA daily from oil fish supplements. It was observed that these increased the strength and aerobic capacity. More specifically, the improvements included an increase in the sets of bench press (strength), less time to run certain distances, longer jumps, and less muscle inflammation.
All these aspects are advantages for athletes, either from strength or endurance disciplines, apart from the fact that it reduces the inflammation of the muscles.
The scientists believe that these improvement are due to several effects of the fatty acids on the organism. Some of them are an increase in the production of the growth hormone, a better oxygen metabolism which, along with an increased blood flow results in a better circulation and, therefore, a better supply of nutrients to the muscle cells, which also favors the recovery.
Omega 3 reduces the inflammation and relieves arthritis
The inflammation is a necessary mechanism for the organism, since it allows to impulse the white cells to protect them against foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses through a type of specific inflammation, which will help to heal the body from injuries and infections, apart from being responsible for the redness, pain, and swelling that often go with these conditions during the recovery phase.
However, our immune system can sometimes trigger an inflammatory response by mistake when there is no danger, which results in an excess of inflammation, without being noticed by us, who will suffer the development of the disease after a period of time, like arthritis, ulcerous colitis, periodontal disease, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, tinnitus, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis.
The most common symptoms of arthritis are the pain in the knees and shoulders, and swelled ankles. This is due to the inflammation which can be reduced with the consumption of omega 3.
Omega 3 has been known for a while as a natural remedy for the pain in the joints. It has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the seriousness of the arthrosis and rheumatoid arthritis, delays the onset of the disease, and can reduce the need to use painkillers.
Apart from strengthening the immune system, omega-3 acids reduce the inflammation and reestablish the correct functioning of the metabolism. The reduction of the inflammation levels also lowers the risk of suffering a lot of diseases related to inflammatory disorders.
Essential omega 3 fatty acids can be a natural anti-inflammatory alternative to non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Omega 3 reduces and relieves the pain
Many people know the properties of omega 3 fatty acids for the health of the heart, but it is generally unknown that it also favors the optimal functioning of the joints. Moreover, omega 3 does not have side effects like medicines, and it reduces and relieves the joint pain in a natural way.
A study published in October from 2006 proved that the regular intake of omega 3 supplements reduced the need for using anti-inflammatory non-steroidal medicines in a 75% of the participants.
It has been discovered that a 60% of those who suffer neck and back pain do not need to use painkillers after replacing ibuprofen with a regular dose of omega 3 supplements (around 1200 mg daily).
The most common treatment consists of using painkillers without a medical prescription. These medicines only relieve the pain temporarily, but they do not heal what is causing it.
It is important to diagnose the specific cause that produces the inflammation of the joints. The treatment must include an omega 3 dietary supplement in order to reduce the inflammation which is responsible for, among other things, the pain, swelling, rigidity, and fatigue.
The clinical studies have proven that the omega 3 fatty acids reduce the production of the beta interleukin-1, which reduces the morning rigidity in patients with arthritis and joint pain.
Consuming omega 3 through dietary supplements is safer, since it avoids the consumption of contaminated fish. Joint pain can be alleviated with omega 3 or by combining it with several dietary supplement, such as type II collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM - support against pain, inflammation, and allergies
The body must keep a perfect balance between these eicosanoids, or there could be serious problems with inflammation or coagulation. This is why it is indispensable to provide EPA and DHA essential fatty acids for a proper nutritional balance, which are determinant in the signalling of these compounds.
Omega 3 and pregnancy
Omega 3 increases the intelligence of new born babies. In a study carried out on more than eleven thousand women, it was discovered that those mothers who did not consume enough omega 3 during pregnancy, had a 50% more probabilities of having a child with a low verbal IQ.
Those children whose mothers did not consume enough omega 3 also had social behavior problems, less refined motor abilities, and poorer communication abilities. These reduced abilities could be observed even after several years.
Those children whose mothers have consume enough omega 3 during pregnancy had:
- Better development of the brain and a higher IQ
- Calm and balanced behavior through the optimal formation of neurotransmitters in the baby’s brain
- Optimal formation of the retina that provides a better sight
- Increased attention span
- Less probabilities of suffering asthma and eczema
- Less chances of suffering food and environmental allergies
The importance of consuming omega 3 during pregnancy
Omega 3 fatty acids are extremely important to “lubricate” the cells and prevent the inflammation in the organism. Moreover, they have important benefits for pregnant women and babies.
Our EPA and DHA requirements change throughout our lives, and so does the optimal amount of each fatty acid in our diet
Nowadays, there is more evidence on the positive effects of prenatal omega 3 consumption than there was of folic acid prenatal consumption during the 1990s. However, the studies show that only a 2% of pregnant women consume enough omega 3 through the diet.
Omega 3 is an essential ingredient for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as to have a good sight. However, many pregnant women do not consume enough omega 3 in their daily diet due to the fear of mercury contaminated fish. This can be avoided through the use of omega 3 dietary supplements. In the next decades it will be so common to consume omega 3 during pregnancy as it is to consume folic acid nowadays.
They preserve the mother’s health during pregnancy
Many studies have proven that pregnant women who consume omega 3 strengthen their health and obtain the following advantages when compared to those who do not consume it:
- Reducing the probabilities of suffering blood poisoning or toxicity during pregnancy (derived from a fast blood pressure increase, which is produced in a 7% of pregnancies)
- Less “memory loss” which happens when the fetus obtains the essential omega 3 fatty acids from the mother through the umbilical cord
- Lowering the risk of suffering postpartum depression
- Less chances of going into premature labor
- Lower probabilities of suffering anxiety symptoms during pregnancy
The babies need omega 3 fatty acids for the growth of their brain, sight, and nervous system.
Omega 3 protects the eyes and reduces the probabilities of suffering macular degeneration
DHA (docosahexanoic acid) is a long-chain omega 3 fatty acid, and an ingredient that is found in the retina in up to a 65%.
DHA is important for the retina’s structure, this fatty acid increases the photoreceptors development, which are especial cells that are indispensable for sight.
High levels of DHA are required to allow rhodopsin, which is a pigment that is situated in the photoreceptor rod, to respond to light and allow to see without light at night. The highly unsaturated properties of DHA have unique effects in the cell walls of the retina, which allow to transmit light signals very quickly.
Macular degeneration is a disease with no cure, and patients progressively go blind. This pathology is related to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
Macular degeneration related to age consists on the accumulation of yellow deposits (drusen) in the center of the retina. The cells of the macula no longer function correctly, which results in blurry or distorted sight. With time, the person who suffers from this goes blind.
The drusen can put sight in danger in advanced stages of macular degeneration related to age. The most common type of macular regeneration is the one called dry macular degeneration. As the pathology progresses, the macula stops functioning. When they completely cease to function, central sight is seriously affected or the person stops seeing in that specific area of the eye.
Clinical studies carried out on this topic have proven that the consumption of omega 3 supplements or foods rich in this element can delay the macular degeneration process and improve the sight of those people affected by this disease. A clinical study proved that those participants that used omega-3 supplements managed to improve their sight.
A second type of age-related macular degeneration is the one called neovascular or wet macular degeneration, which is responsible for a 90% of the sight loss caused by this disease. It makes the blood vessels that are behind the eyes to go very fragile, to the point that they can break or bleed.
Age-related advanced macular degeneration can affect one or both eyes, and both dry and wet macular degeneration can cause blindness.
There is evidence that the consumption of omega-3 can prevent the onset of macular degeneration or incurable blindness related to this disease, or at least slow it down.
Omega 3 has beneficial effects for the entire organism
Clinical studies have proven that macular degeneration related to age is less frequent in those people who consume more fish oil or DHA, and it has been proven that including fish in our diet at least twice a week, reduces the possibility of suffering macular degeneration. On the other hand, smoking increases twice the probability of suffering this pathology.
Curiously, it has been proven that a higher intake of polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acids reduces advanced macular degeneration symptoms as long as a little omega 6 or polyunsaturated vegetable fatty acids are consumed simultaneously. Those who consume more vegetable fats or linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acid) have more chances to develop a macular degeneration associated to age. These observations were carried out on patients who were on an early or medium stage of the disease.
The disease progresses more slowly in those who consume more fish and less linoleic acid than in those who consume a high amount of vegetable fats or products that have been cooked with vegetable fat.
These studies show that the type of fat that we consume can increase or reduce the chances of suffering macular degeneration. High levels of polyunsaturated vegetable fats increase the chances of developing this disease, to the point that it can inhibit the positive effects of omega 3 fatty acids.
An increase in the intake of fish and omega 3 in the diet avoids the onset of macular degeneration and delays the progression of the disease. But it is not known if it can prevent it completely.
The clinical studies that are currently being carried out are focused on testing if the omega 3 acids combined with high amounts of antioxidant vitamins and certain minerals can stop the development of macular degeneration associated to age in patients with an intermediate or advanced level of this disease. The results look promising, since it is thought that it can reduce the progress of the disease.
Another clinical study has revealed that those who consume enough omega 3 suffer from less inflammatory processes, reduce the anxiety levels in more than a 20% and increase the immune response against diseases.
They delay aging (they act on the DNA and allow us to stay younger)
A recent study that was published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” (JAMA) has studied the existing relation between the amount of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids in blood and the change in the length of telomeres (a biological age marker).
Telomeres reveal the biological age of a person. As the natural aging process advances, the telomeres become shorter and shorter. According to research, omega 3 fatty acids act on the telomeres, helping them to stay younger for longer. This is due to the fact that telomeres protect the DNA, with a protection similar to that of the ends of shoelaces that prevent them from unravelling.
Stress, inflammation, lack of exercise, smoking, and obesity can attack the telomeres and produce cell damage related to age that produces more wrinkles, white hairs, fragile bones, and even trigger cardiovascular diseases or cancer.
They prevent the onset of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Nowadays, there are more attention and concentration problems in children and they are frequently diagnosed as ADHD. The latest clinical studies carried out on the matter have proven that the consumption of Omega-3 can reduce the concentration problems and relieve ADHD. In the study, more than a half of the underage children that were given an omega-3 supplement could focus better and were more receptive.
Attention deficit can be caused by a lack of nutrients that are related to the development of the brain, such as omega 3 acids.
Fat loss and muscle breakdown
A clinical study has evaluated the effects of omega 3 related to body fat composition. Overweight and obese adults who were likely to suffer heart pathologies were chosen for this study. The effects that this daily omega-3 fatty acids intake were analyzed while combined with moderate aerobic exercise three times a week.
The participants were divided in three groups: those who consumed omega 3, those who were given sunflower oil and those who, apart from consuming oil, also did physical exercise.
The results showed that the total body-fat content, specially in the abdomen, was notably reduced in those who consumed omega 3 and did exercise. This effect would not take place if only omega 3 was consumed or when only physical exercise was done.
Even though blood pressure dropped in the group that consumed omega 3, this tendency was even stronger in those who also did exercise, who also improved their heartbeat, the triglycerides levels, and the arterial function.
These incredible results occurred only after 3 months. The researchers pointed out that “omega 3 protects the blood vessel walls by increasing their elasticity and endothelial dilation, which allows an optimal nourishment of the muscles during physical exercise”.
They stop degenerative muscle breakdown
According to new studies, the daily intake of omega 3 fatty acids can stimulate the production of in-muscle protein in old people and reduce degenerative muscle loss.
Researchers have claimed that “Even though it is not exactly known how omega-3 fatty acids stimulate the muscle protein synthesis in hyperinsulinemia-hyperaminoacidemia, our study provides convincing evidence about the relation of omega 3 fatty acids and protein metabolism in the muscle. Moreover, it shows that the intake of omega 3 fatty acids through a dietary supplement is a safe, simple, and efficient method to treat sarcopenia”. Sarcopenia is a disease that is related to the loss of muscle mass and it affects its strength and functioning.
Around a 45% per cent of the population over 65 years of age suffer the symptoms of sarcopenia in western countries. The muscles of a 20 years old person have up to a 60% less fat than a 70 years old person.
One of the main causes of muscle mass loss during old age is the muscle’s inability to adequately increase the protein synthesis rate and to properly respond to nutritional stimuli (for example, amino acids and insulin)
They prevent and stop the symptoms of mental diseases
Unfortunately, we do not consume enough fish in Europe, which is the reason why the population suffers an omega 3 deficiency, which strengthens the brain for its optimal functioning.
Many doctors and nutritionists link the high number of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and other mental diseases to an omega 3 deficiency in our diet. Moreover, we tend to include too much omega 6 in our diet, which is why we lack the necessary omega 3 to balance them and reduce the chances of suffering these pathologies.
The intake of EPA and specially DHA can be an important factor for structural support and brain tissue loss for those who have been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease.
Researchers have discovered that Alzheimer patients have low DHA levels in their blood plasma, which is one of the essential fatty acids. Blood samples were analyzed in a study with 899 men who did not suffer from dementia at the very beginning. The conclusion was that those with the highest DHA levels in blood were a 47% less likely to suffer dementia when compared to those who had the lowest levels, and who had a 39% less chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
They Reduce the Risk of Suffering Senile Dementia
Consuming omega 3 does not only reduce the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases, but it also protects the cell’s genetic information, delay their aging, and reduce the risk of suffering dementia. The telomeres, which protect the cells’ DNA, are reduced and become more vulnerable with age. This increases the risk of suffering senile dementia and other diseases such as cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids, specially DHA, can slow down the process by strengthening the telomeres and preventing the onset of diseases.
It is no wonder that those who use omega-3 supplements pass memory and focus exercises much better than those who do not use them, thanks to their benefits for the cognitive function.
Omega 3 can reduce insomnia
Insomnia affects a great deal of people and it has become one of the main problems of our time. Among the problems that it entails for health we can find a deterioration of the quality of life, which will be noticed in our everyday life.
- Low energy levels
- Mood problems
- Lack of concentration
- Less productivity
Omega 3 to sleep better
Sources of Omega 3 fatty acids
High sea fish such as mackerels, herring, or salmon are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. On the other hand, rapeseed oils and linseed oils are rich in omega 3 and contain ALA fatty acids, that the body can transform into omega 3.
There also Omega 3 supplements that can provide the recommended daily amounts of fatty acids. Click here to buy Omega 3 supplementation
Pathologies due to an omega 3 fatty acids deficiency
- Development of cardiovascular pathologies
- Depression and other neurological disorders
- Higher chances of suffering from rheumatism and other inflammatory pathologies
- Dry and scaly skin
- High blood pressure
- Loss of sight
- Weakened immune system
- Lower blood flow
Why do only some doctors recommend omega 3 fatty acids?
Research clearly shows the benefits of consumption omega 3 fatty acids regularly in order to reduce the chances of dying from a cardiovascular disease. An increase in the omega 3 intake would be more useful for the population than the distribution of defibrillators in all the communities.
Despite all the studies that show the positive effects of omega 3 on health apart from all the money they would save, a recent survey between doctors has revealed that they rarely recommended its consumption to their patients. This is due to the fact that, even though doctors advise a balanced diet to their patients with cardiovascular pathologies, most of them are not truly aware of the importance of consuming omega 3 regularly to prevent cardiovascular diseases. This is the reason why it is so important to spread this information, both among healthcare professionals as well as the general population.
Who can benefit from omega 3 fatty acids?
- People with cardiovascular diseases, arteriosclerosis, or who have high lipid levels in blood
- Pregnant and lactating women
- Those who suffer from rheumatism, arthritis, Crohn’s disease or any other inflammatory disease
- People who consume little fat
- Diabetic people
- Those with skin pathologies
- People who consume more alcohol
- Patients who suffer from depression or Alzheimer’s disease
According to a new clinical report, those who follow a vegan diet normally need an additional omega 3 and vitamin B12 supply in order to prevent the onset of a cardiovascular disease.
Even though those who consume meat have more chances of developing cardiovascular diseases than vegetarians or vegans, that does not make them immune to this pathology, since their diets have few important nutrients, and it can lead to an iron, zinc, vitamin B12, or omega 3 deficiency.
A diet that is low in omega 3 and vitamin B12 entails the risk of producing blood clots and atherosclerosis, which also involves a lower HDL or good cholesterol level. These factors increase the probability of suffering a heart attack or stroke. The consumption of omega 3 and vitamin B12 dietary supplements can provide this necessary nutrients to the organism and reduce the probabilities of suffering said pathologies.
Omega 3 sources for Vegans and Vegetarians
Omega 3 fatty acids (short chain alpha-linoelic acid or ALA) natural sources for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet are mainly linseed oil, walnut oil, or hemp oil (as well as hemp protein). The organism also needs long chain omega-3 acids, such as eicosapentaenoic fatty acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in order to provide the benefits of omega-3 fats. The way in which the body metabolizes ALA into EPA and DHA depends on each person.
In some cases, the synthesis of ALA into EPA and DHA is lower than the required amounts. In this cases, it is necessary to use a dietary supplement, such as those that have long chain omega-3 acids from algae oils.
For vegetarians and vegans, completing their diet with DHA from algae can significantly improve the concentrations of DHA in blood serum and platelets, and produce some EPA. However, ALA (omega 3) and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid; omega-6) supplementation is not enough to achieve an optimal omega 3 : omega 6
In some cases, the synthesis rate of ALA into EPA and DHA is lower than the necessary amounts. In this cases, it is advisable to use a nutritional supplement, like the ones that have long chain omega-3 fatty acids, made of alga oils.
The consumption of omega-3 is particularly necessary for those who follow a vegetarian diet, since it improves the conversion of ALA into EPA and DHA.
What do the experts think about omega 3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 reduces the risk of suffering a heart attack
Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack. According to clinical studies, the daily intake of omega 3 lowers the chances of suffering a heart attack up to a 50%. Moreover, they can revert arteriosclerosis by consuming 6 grams daily for a period of 24 months.
These Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the symptoms of arteriosclerosis
A clinical study conducted by Dr. Von Shacky on 233 participants that were affected by arteriosclerosis showed that by consuming 6 grams of oil fish concentrate daily for 24 months considerably reduced arteriosclerosis.
The Intake of omega 3 fatty acids
It is advisable to consume a 0.5 per cent of omega 3 daily compared to the amount of kcal consumed. For example, if you consume around 2400 kcal, this would equal a 1.25g of omega 3.
However, many nutritionists advise the highest doses to treat cardiovascular or inflammatory pathologies. In these cases, it is advisable to use omega 2 dietary supplements, which allows to reach the amount of omega 3 that the organism needs.
If you like oily fish you can consume it several times a week and to provide your organism with the amount of omega 3 fats it needs. The best fish are herrings, mackerels, sardines, and wild salmon.
Unfortunately, the European population does not usually consume fish, which is the reason why consuming omega 3 dietary supplements will ensure the omega 3 oils intake. The recommended dose moves between 250 and 500 mg / day.
The recommended daily dose is:
- Healthy adults: Approximately 650 milligrams of EPA and DHA a day
- People with a cardiovascular disease or with chances to suffer from one: 1 gram a day
- Those who want to reduce their triglycerides levels: 2 grams a day
- If you wish to reduce your cholesterol levels, it is important to consume a higher dose of omega 3, since a lower amount would not produce the desired effect.
Omega 3 from oil fish is more efficient than the one that comes from vegetables (seeds)
Vegetables have a low amount of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), and when it enters the organism it becomes long chain omega 3 fatty acids. However, the amount of omega 3 that is required by the organism in order to protect the tissues is absorbed through the consumption of fish and seafood.
The three benefits of consuming omega 3 capsules as a dietary supplement:
The experts recommend omega 3 dietary supplements as a safe and effective way to increase the daily necessary intake. Omega 3 supplements have three key advantages when compared to fish:
- We can consume a higher and concentrated dose in each serving
- We make sure that we meet the daily intake of an effective amount for the organism
- Molecularly distilled omega oil has no risk of being contaminated with mercury or PCB, unlike fish
Molecularly Distilled Omega 3
Nowadays, many Omega 3 fatty acids supplement from fish oil point that they have been molecularly distilled in their label. The Molecular Distillation is the advanced technology that eliminates the toxic substances that are found in fish oils.
We obtain a pure, clean, and toxins-free fish oil through this process, which guarantees a safe consumption for human beings, while reaching a maximum quality degree.
Unrefined fish oil can contain everything that the animal has ingested, including all types of toxins and contaminants like PCB, DDT, and organic mercury compounds among other harmful substances. The molecular distillation offers a fish oil that is so pure that it is difficult to measure the contaminant levels with the latest analytic techniques like gas chromatography or HPLC. Up until now, the molecular distillation is the only method that can remove the heavy metals, dioxins, PCB, and other toxic substances that are under the detectable levels for human consumption.
This new form of fish oil offers a last generation product that concentrates all the essential omega 3 fatty acids and removes the saturated fats and toxic residues while keeping all the beneficial properties of Omega-3 fatty acids.
The only inconvenient when it comes to purchasing a molecularly distilled product is that it is a very expensive purification method, which is why the cost of these supplement can be higher than those products made with conventional fish oil.
Side effects and interactions of omega 3
Omega 3 supplements do not have side effects or interactions with other nutrients, as long as they are consumed according to their recommended dose.
Due to safety reasons, you should consult your doctor before taking omega 3 fatty acids if you are taking some medicine, or you have a coagulation disorder, or you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The Importance of the Balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6
One of the main reasons to use omega 3 fatty acids is to reduce cell inflammation. Occasionally, this happens due to an imbalance between the supply of Omega-3 and Omega-6, which will establish a pro-inflammatory scenario. EPA will be the mediator to regulate this situation.
The consumption of omega-3 is not the only important thing, the proportion between the omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids also plays an important role, which means that western diets  are not designed according to this. Omega-6 fatty acids are mainly founds in cereals, meat, and dairy products. The effects of fatty acids for our health will be better when our diet is closer to a 5 to 1 rate between omega-3 ftty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Therefore, an easy solution would be to add more EPA and DHA to our diet through an Omega-3 Supplement.
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