For many decades, scientists have been trying to discover the several health benefits of omega-3 fats.

Our bodies don’t produce omega-3s on their own. But, we need to consume them for health benefits. You can get omega-3s from plant as well as animal sources. Whereas krill oil & fish oil are the main animal sources, flaxseeds, chia seeds & hemp seeds are the key plant sources. Read on if you want to know: What is Omega 3, Omega 3 types & what does omega 3 do for your body?

What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are the “good fat” essential to a healthy, balanced diet. They are a class of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that comprise more than one double bond in their unique chemical structure. Your body has trillions of cells, and omega-3 fatty acids are needed to make many of these cells function correctly.

What Does Omega 3 Do For Your Body

Regarding omega 3 uses, there is hardly any other compound that packs so many rare nutrients that positively impact your health. We’ll unpack these health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids one by one.

Let’s start by saying that there are enough scientific bases to support the fact that omega-3 fatty acids are vital nutrients needed for your overall health.

Omega 3 Types

The three types of omega-3 found in foods are ALA, EPA, and DHA.

(i) Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA): This type is generally plant-based. Although they play a role in maintaining your body in a healthy state, EPA and DHA have many more health benefits (Source: (12).

Green, leafy vegetables, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and vegetable oils are good sources of ALA. However, we don’t recommend rancid oils.

ALA is a short-chain omega-3. Your body has to transform it into longer-chained EPA and DHA to synthesize it. This process is quite inefficient, and only around 1% of the ALA you intake is transformed into the long-chain kind that your body needs (though this % is a tad higher for women).

(ii) Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA): This is a 20-carbon molecule type. Oily fish, algae oil, and krill oil are good sources of EPA. Your body can synthesize this fatty acid in its original form. These, together with DHA, are the omega-3 types that your body requires in high amounts to utilize the benefits they provide effectively.

(iii) Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): This fatty acid is in the form of a 22-carbon molecule. Like EPA, oily fish, algae oil, and krill oil are good sources of DHA as well. Your body can transform some DHA molecules back to EPA’s to maintain them at more or less the same levels if you intake more DHA. (Source: 3)

Your body also requires another type of fatty acid, omega-6s, to make your immunity and other body systems function correctly and keep many diseases at bay. Though your body needs omega 3s and omega 6 in a 1:1 proportion to maintain inflammation low, omega 6 is present in plenty in a typical American diet compared to omega 3s. Typically, modern diets comprise omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio closer to 20:1 or 30:1.

Omega-6 fatty acids are available naturally in some form of linoleic acid (LA) and can be obtained from safflower oils, vegetable oils, poultry, eggs, and meat,

Benefits Of Omega 3

So, you must be wondering: What is omega 3 good for?

# 1

Good for Heart Health

One of the most well-known omega-3 benefits is their positive effect on risk factors connected with heart disease. This is why the American Heart Association recommends that people include adequate omega-3s in their diets. (Source: 4)

Heart disease and stroke are the main reasons of death all over the world, but communities whose diets include lots of fish have noticeably low instances of heart diseases, which is at least partly because of their high omega-3 consumption. (Source: 56)

While many studies have found that omega-3s considerably cut down the risk of heart attacks and strokes, at the same time, some reviews disagree. (Source: 789)

Lowering Elevated High Triglycerides 

The American Heart Association acknowledges that the highest quantities of omega-3s are generally good for people with high triglyceride levels, a key risk factor associated with heart disease. Omega-3 supplements can lower triglyceride levels in patients with or without other diseases. (Source: 101112)

Managing Cholesterol 

Many studies have discovered that omega-3 helps regulate cholesterol levels by increasing HDL (“good cholesterol”)  levels, though some studies also find a minor increase in LDL – “bad cholesterol” (Source: 1314). The ideal relative amounts of HDL: LDL should be very close to 2:1.

Lowering High Blood Pressure 

According to one 2010 study, three servings of salmon per week successfully reduced blood pressure in young, overweight people over eight weeks (Source: 15). Although this is not conclusive proof that omega-3s can bring down blood pressure, it is a promising result that needs more research.

Preventing Plaque Build-up: Keep arteries clear of bad fat residues; omega-3s may help your body avert plaque build-up, which can otherwise lead to hardening of the arteries. (Source: 1617)
Decrease Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms 

The risk factors called metabolic syndrome comprise abdominal obesity, elevated blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, and low HDL cholesterol. These risk factors are signs of the high probability that you will suffer from heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. Many studies have observed that omega-3 supplementation treats metabolic syndrome symptoms and may help save you from the associated diseases. (Source: 18192021)

Preventing Blood Clots

Omega-3s may help the platelets not to clump together, thereby preventing the formation of blood clots, which is a big risk factor. (Source: 2223)

Check here what signs indicate that you have a healthy heart

# 2

May Help In Maintaining Healthy Bones And Joints 

The development of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis is a major issue for older adults, affecting major populations all over the world – the main reason for falls and fractures in old age (Source: 24).

Omega-3s and other essential fatty acids are acknowledged in scientific research as key nutrients to boost the quantity of calcium you absorb from your gut (partially because of stimulating the vitamin D effect). This leads to improvement in bone strength and synthesis of bone collagen (Source: 25).

Whereas there is no scientific evidence that fish oil supplements (EPA+DHA) can avert the development of arthritis, it has been found that they can limit joint pain and stiffness. Omega-3 supplements also seem to decrease inflammation and increase the efficacy of anti-inflammatory drugs, which can otherwise result in stiffness and joint pains (Source: 26).

Read this to know how to build strong bones

# 3

Depression And Anxiety

These mental health issues are pretty common in people in the present era. Conventional medications are mostly ineffective. However, individuals who consistently take enough amounts of omega-3s are less prone to depression as compared to those who are lacking in omega-3s. (Source: 28)

Several studies have found that people whose diets include foods rich in omega-3s have much fewer symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.

Fish oil has been found to augment the effectiveness of antidepressants and help in stabilizing depressing mood symptoms.

Check this Practical Guide to Stress-Free Living

# 4

Relieve Inflammation

Inflammation is the main cause of most illnesses and leads to the development of nearly all major diseases.

Thus, nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods in your daily diet can provide your body with enough ammunition to fight diseases. This is why omega-3 fatty acids are so helpful – they help reduce inflammation. (Source: 2930313233).


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About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is an ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. HeJust Fitness Hub passed the Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says, “Age is just a number!”

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is general and for information only because it doesn’t consider your health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalized health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should determine if the information is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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