Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are Essential for Good Health: Fact or Fiction?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are Essential for Good Health: Fact or Fiction?

Omega-3 fatty acids have become a buzzword among the health conscious these days. Omega-3s are often cited as the “cure-all” for many health problems and diseases.

What is this latest health craze all about? Do omega-3 fatty acids have the power to cure all?

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced by the human body. You can only get them from the food and nutrients you consume. Although there are eleven types of omega-3 fatty acids, three stand out as being the most important for human health. They are:

  • omega-3 fatty acidsα-linolenic acid (ALA) in plant oils,
  • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA),
  • and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA and DHA are found in fish oils. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fats — a term that refers to their chemical makeup.

Why Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Important?

There are many indications that omega-3 fatty acids have a number of health benefits and may prevent or reverse certain health issues.

Helps increase the body’s levels of “good” cholesterol

Research shows that people who maintain a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids have higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) — also known as the “good” kind of cholesterol. Interestingly, it also indicates that these people tend to have lower levels of triglyceride fats stored in their blood, and lower cholesterol levels in general.

Helps ease the symptoms of lupus

woman with lupus in painLupus is an autoimmune disease that can have a damaging effect on just about any part of your body. Symptoms associated with this disease include pain and chronic fatigue. Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids have a beneficial effect in reducing certain inflammatory processes of lupus.

Helps alleviate certain symptoms of depression

Although not conclusive, some studies indicate a marked improvement in the mental health of those taking omega-3 fatty acids in conjunction with their prescription medication. Subjects who only took their medication did not see as much improvement.

Reduces the incidences of mood swings in those with bipolar disorder

Preliminary studies in bipolar persons suggest that when omega-3 fatty acids are taken in conjunction with medications, patients tended to have fewer mood swings. Although not yet conclusive, it is an indication that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids may have a beneficial effect on those with bipolar disorder.

Benefits those with certain skin disorders

Studies have shown that people with a sensitivity to the sun became less sensitive after omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Other studies have found that psoriasis sufferers who took an omega-3 fatty acid supplement along with their regular medication had better results than those that only took their medication.

Improves the symptoms associated with schizophrenia

woman with schizophreniaStudies using omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in schizophrenic patients indicate it may have a positive effect for people afflicted.

Reduces risk of contracting certain types of cancer

Research indicates that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Additionally, there are studies suggesting that adding it to your diet may actually slow down the progression of the disease.

Has a beneficial effect on the symptoms of leaky gut

When it comes to omega-3 supplementation, the final verdict is not out yet on leaky gut syndrome, aka inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The results of clinical trials vary, although some do show that an omega-3 fatty acid supplement is beneficial when taken together with the usual IBD medication.

Beneficial to those with a decline in their cognitive functions

This includes Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies have identified that some patients with these cognitive conditions tend to have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also been found that some of these patients can see positive effects of an omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

Protects you against the onslaught of macular degeneration

man squinting looking at computer screenThere is an indication that those with a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids are protected against the onslaught of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a condition that can eventually result in blindness.

Plays a role in preventing heart disease

A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids helps prevent heart disease, while reducing risk factors, such as, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It also reduces your risk of a stroke and arteriosclerosis.

Helps treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may ward off rheumatoid arthritis and help treat the symptoms. While not yet conclusive, these studies show potential for omega-3 fatty acids to provide relief of those with this painful disease.

Lowers blood pressure

Studies indicate taking omega-3 fatty acid supplement may reduce blood pressure in people in those with hypertension.

Alleviates problems associated with osteoporosis

Omega-3 fatty acids may increase your calcium levels, in turn, improving bone strength and density.

How to Add Omega-3 Fatty Acids Into Your Diet

Besides taking omega-3 fatty acids supplements, omega-3 fatty acids can be consumed as part of your diet. Just make sure to consume foods rich in this powerful nutrient.

anchoviesThe main three types of omega-3 fatty acids are easy to incorporate into your diet, as certain foods abound in them.

EPA and DHA are commonly found in certain types of coldwater fish. Types of these fish, which are generally available to the public, include:

  • mackerel

  • sardines

  • anchovies

  • tuna

  • halibut

  • mackerel

  • herring

  • salmon

ALA, on the other hand, is available from plant sources, including:

  • soybeans and soybean oil

  • flaxseeds and flaxseed oil

  • eggs from chicken feed an omega-3 rich diet

  • pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil

  • walnuts and walnut oil

  • avocados

  • canola oil

  • purslane

Omega-3 Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are available in capsule and liquid forms. When considering what to choose, first: figure out what symptoms you are trying to decrease and what functions you are looking to improve. For each of the main omega-3 fatty acids play different roles. Secondly, choose one with the amounts of EPA, DHA, and/or ALA you’d prefer.

Lastly, choose a brand that uses sustainable practices, has no fillers, and is a brand you trust!

omega-3 fish oilTranquility Labs’ own CogniDHA High DHA Omega-3 Fish Oil is carefully designed to maximize absorption. This allows you to get the most benefits of the DHA and EPA. There is no unpleasant aftertaste and CogniDHA’s supercritical CO2 extraction makes sure all impurities are removed. CogniDHA is specialized to have optimal levels of DHA, well-known for supporting brain development and cognitive ability.

Regardless of what type of supplement you’d like to try, always consult your physician before beginning supplementation if you are unsure or taking other supplements and/or medications.

How Take Advantage of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Generally, it is recommended to get your omega-3 fatty acids in the foods you eat regularly. For example, you could try eating eating fish a couple times per week, rather than taking a supplement. However, this is not always possible for everyone, due to personal preference, dietary limitations, or access to fish.

If you choose to take an omega-3 fatty acids supplement instead, opt for DHA and EPA, as your body may find them easier to process.

Have you incorporated omega-3 fatty acids into your diet or supplement routine? What benefits have you experienced?

Please feel free to share your ideas with our community in the comments below!