Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A Comprehensive Guide On This Essential Nutrient

We are all aware that a lot of people have drifted towards a healthier lifestyle post-pandemic, but rather than just eating healthy, many are learning about the importance of various nutrients and the role they play in avoiding deficiencies. This newfound awareness has also led to a surge of supplements in the market. And with so many products out there, it’s easy for any newbie just stepping into the wellness space to feel overwhelmed by the sea of options. If you’re one of them, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Instead of bombarding you with a list of nutrients and their benefits, in this article, we’re going to focus on only one. 

Let’s start with the one ingredient that has been linked to brain and heart health, muscle recovery, and so much more. We’re referring to omega 3 fatty acids! Scroll down to learn more about it and its multiple benefits.

What Exactly Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

 Let’s begin with the basics—the fatty acids. There are two types of fatty acids: saturated and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats that are further broken down into polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. Omega 3 is a form of polyunsaturated fat that is known as the “good fat” because, when used in moderation, it can support heart health and much more. Saturated fats, however, are deemed unhealthy as they increase your risk of certain diseases like heart disease and stroke. 

What Do Omega 3 Fatty Acids Do?

This type of fat can be found in almost every cell of the body and is responsible for reducing the risk of blood clots, lowering the chances of cardiovascular disease, improving brain health, and even providing energy for the cells. Omega-3 fatty acids have an important role to play when it comes to your cell membranes, as they provide structure and support the interactions between cells. While it’s an essential nutrient, the body, unfortunately, cannot produce it on its own, which is why it’s important to include omega-rich foods in your diet as well as consume omega 3 supplements to avoid a deficiency. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in both plants and animals, with the most common sources being fish, seafood, nuts, and plant oils.

What Are The 3 Main Types Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids? 

Now that we’ve got you acquainted with these nutrients, let’s dive deeper to understand the three different types of omega 3.

  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). EPA is a type of omega-3 that’s found in marine life. It is found in cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish.
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is similar to EPA and is derived from cold-water fatty fish. The difference between DHA and EPA is that the former is known to support functions from the “neck up,” while the latter is responsible for the “neck down.”
  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA is a vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acids found in plants. The body may convert ALA into small amounts of DHA and EPA. Some sources include walnuts, flax seeds, and algae. 

Benefits Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids 

  1. Supports Heart Health 

High triglycerides, high blood pressure, plaque, and inflammation—all these issues can increase the risk of heart attack or strokes. You can, however, avoid them by consuming more omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Reduces Excess Triglycerides: After eating, the body converts the extra calories into triglycerides, which are stored in your fat cells and used for energy later. While triglyceride is important for energy, the problem arises when the levels go up. Too many triglycerides in your blood increase the risk of heart disease. The normal triglyceride levels for any adult are less than 150 mg/dL. 

Omega 3 multivitamins help reduce excess triglyceride synthesis by increasing fatty acid oxidization and decreasing free fatty acid delivery to the liver.

  • Lowers Blood Pressure: Spikes in blood pressure can happen due to endless reasons, like excess sugar, and lack of potassium. 

The DHA and EPA in omega 3 vitamins help reduce systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure by lowering triglyceride levels as well as breaking up other unhealthy fats within your body. The ideal blood pressure levels should be less than 120/80 mmHg.

  • Reduces Plaque: When there is a buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances, they collect on the inner walls of the heart arteries. This is known as plaque. This buildup can be dangerous as it causes narrow arteries, blocking blood flow to the heart. A burst of plaque can also lead to blood clots.

Omega 3 supplements begin their work by reducing LDL (low-density lipoprotein), also known as “bad cholesterol.” It lessens the growth rate of plaque that clogs blood vessels and also helps reduce the risk of blood clots by stopping platelet clumping.

  • Decreases Inflammation: When the inflammatory process is functioning normally, it automatically repairs damage and even protects the body against harmful pathogens or infections. For those with chronic conditions, inflammation may lead to swelling in the walls of the arteries. This can further cause blockages or aneurysms in your arteries and aorta, which leads to blindness, heart failure, and kidney failure.

Studies showed that DHA in omega 3 fatty acids lowered four types of pro-inflammatory proteins and three types of white blood cell secretion that are responsible for inflammation. Meanwhile, EPA improved the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory proteins.

2. Improves Eye Health 

Omega 3 vitamins are mostly associated with brain and heart health but did you know that they also play a vital role in improving your vision? The retina of the eye contains high levels of DHA. When there’s a drop in these levels, it leads to a decrease in retinal functions, making it more sensitive to bright light. Here’s when Omega 3 vitamins come to the rescue. Not only do they play a vital role in improving eye health, but some studies even prove that consumption of this vitamin during pregnancy improves the visual activity in infants. Other benefits include: 

  • Lowers Risk Of Glaucoma

Intraocular pressure or IOP is the fluid pressure of the eye. The normal pressure is 10–21 mm Hg and when this pressure increases, it leads to optic nerve damage or glaucoma. Leaving it untreated can lead to vision loss. 

Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the risk of high eye pressure by ensuring proper drainage of intraocular fluid from the eye. 

  • For Dry Eyes 

Fresh tears are produced every time you blink to keep your eyes lubricated and free from dirt and debris. In the case of dry eyes, not enough tears are produced, which results in burning, stinging, or irritation. This leads to blurred vision and sensitivity to light, and if not treated properly, it eventually leads to eye damage. 

Omega 3 vitamins help improve the production of oil in order to create tears in the eyes while also reducing macular degeneration and inflammation. 

3. Improves Mental Health

Low levels of omega 3 have been linked to issues like depression, ADHD, mood swings, and schizophrenia. How do omega 3 multivitamins help? This nutrient can easily travel to the brain cell membrane and improve mood by interacting with the respective molecules inside the brain. This ensures normal brain function while preserving cell membrane health and improving communication between cells. 

4. Supports Bone and Joint Health

When it comes to your bones and joints, osteoporosis and arthritis are two common disorders that take place if proper care isn’t given to your skeletal system during your early years.

Taking omega 3 supplements in your 20s and 30s may help reduce the risk of developing this bone condition later in life. The reason for this is that omega-3 increases the amount of calcium in the bones, improving bone strength.

When it comes to arthritis, studies have shown that this vitamin not only reduces joint pain but also increases grip strength.

5. Helps With Muscle Recovery 

Are you a gymgoer? Then this nutrient can be of great value to you as well. Muscle soreness is common after a long, rigorous workout. Since omega 3 has anti-inflammatory properties, it is useful in repairing damaged muscle, and decreasing free radical damage while also reducing soreness. 

6. Supports Vision & Cognition of the Fetus 

Pregnant women are encouraged to consume plenty of omega 3 fatty acids while pregnant, as they play an important role in the development of the fetus’s retina and brain. Consuming omega 3 supplements while pregnant aids in the development of eyesight along with other cognitive functions like: 

  • Improves communication and social skills
  • Fewer behavioral problems
  • Decreased risk of developmental delay
  • Reduces the risk of ADHD, autism, and cerebral palsy

How Much Omega-3 Should You Have?

If you have any chronic health conditions or are pregnant, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider. For people without any history of health conditions, studies show a minimum of 250–500 mg of omega 3 per day for healthy adults is ideal. 

People should increase their omega-3 intake while pregnant to support fetal development and also while lactating to provide this nutrient to their infants.

Why Should You Add Omega-Rich Foods And Omega Supplements To Your Diet?

Foods like mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, oysters, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. While consuming a diet rich in omega-3 is beneficial, it’s not enough! Diet by itself cannot help bridge the nutritional gap. Here’s where omega supplements come to the rescue, but since the market is filled with a sea of omega-3 products, finding the right one can be difficult. To make your search a bit easier, look for supplements that use triple-strength, exceptionally pure-grade fish oil that has been tested for mercury. These are the best omega vitamins, as they have 95% omega content and are usually free from any harmful metals.  

Wrapping Up

Now that you’ve got the scoop on the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, go ahead and improve your overall health with this nutrient. Keep in mind, though, that it is always beneficial to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements, especially if you are on other medications. 



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