Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that carry important benefits to our heart, brain and overall health. They are considered essential fats as the human body is unable to produce omega-3 fatty acids, therefore it can only be obtained through diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in certain foods and supplements. There are many types of omega-3 fatty acids with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) being the most commonly known types. In this post, we will be discussing the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and exploring the common questions surrounding omega-3 fatty acids.
What is omega-3 fish oil?
Omega-3 fish oil refers to a type of supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which are derived from fatty fishes. There are several fishes that are known for their high omega-3 fatty acids content, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and tuna. Due to their high omega-3 content, they are commonly used as a good source of fish oil.
Omega-3 fish oil comes in different strengths and forms, and the most popular forms are in softgel capsules. Some fish oils are also available in liquid oils and gummies.
Here are some common questions surrounding Omega-3 fish oil where we will provide answers to:
Are omega-3 fish oils good for heart health?
Yes. Omega-3 has been extensively studied for its positive impact on heart health. Many studies have shown that getting enough EPA and DHA as part of a healthy diet may help to keep our heart healthy and protect us from some heart problems. For example, the American Heart Association recommends eating 2 servings of fish per week, particularly fatty fish to reduce your risk of some heart problems. Some studies also suggest that Omega-3 can help to reduce blood pressure and reduce triglycerides level.
Can people with brain and mental health benefit from omega-3 fish oils?
It’s a fact. DHA, which is a major component of omega-3 fish oils, is essential for proper brain development and function. DHA is involved in maintaining cognitive function, memory, and mood regulation. Consuming adequate amounts of Omega-3s has been linked to improving cognitive function, reduce risk of age-related cognitive decline, and decrease the likelihood of developing conditions like Alzheimer's disease.
How much Omega-3 is enough?
Generally, there is no official recommended dosage of how much Omega-3 a person should take in a day, but most health organizations agree that 250mg - 500mg of combined EPA and DHA should be sufficient for adults to maintain their overall health. Some may suggest higher amounts for people with different health conditions.
Is diet alone enough to obtain sufficient Omega-3 fatty acids?
While you can obtain Omega-3 through diet, Omega-3 fish oil supplements are a popular way to increase the intake of EPA and DHA, especially for individuals who do not consume enough fish in their diet or have specific dietary restrictions, in order to meet their omega-3 requirements.
Is eating fish the only way to get your Omega-3s?
While fish oil is a popular and common source of omega-3 fatty acids, it's not the only option available. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be obtained from other sources such as certain plant-based sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. These plant-based sources are great options for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet to get adequate Omega-3 in their diet. Omega-3 fish oils can also be taken with other supplements to complement its benefits such as vitamin D, vitamin E and multivitamins.
Is that true that Omega-3 fish oils are only beneficial for people with heart and brain health concerns?
Besides heart and brain health, the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3 fatty acid makes them beneficial for conditions that involve joint inflammation such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, and other inflammatory disorders, and provide relief from pain and stiffness. Also, one lesser-known benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids is its benefits for skin health. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, a diet rich in Omega-3s may help to prevent or reduce the severity of acne, suggesting that acne may be primarily caused by inflammation. Omega-3 may also maintain healthy skin by supporting skin barrier function. This helps to promote moisture retention, fight red, dry, or itchy skin caused by skin disorders like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.
Is taking omega 3 fish oils safe?
When taking as recommended, fish oils are generally safe. Many people are generally concerned about the toxic chemicals, especially mercury content in fish oils. During manufacturing, fish oils typically undergo a process called molecular distillation to remove all the environmental toxins and impurities such as mercury and other heavy metals, leaving behind only the key beneficial components of the fish oil. Fish oil supplements should be sourced from reputable manufacturers who adhere to strict quality standards.
Can Omega-3 fish oils replace a healthy diet?
Just like any other supplements, Omega-3 fish oil should not replace but taken as a complement to a balanced and healthy diet. It is important to consume a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein alongside with Omega-3 fish oils.
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, offer numerous health benefits and they are a great addition to a healthy diet. As the needs of Omega-3 fatty acids vary by individual, and depending on the individual’s diet, there will be some who may need it more than others. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking some medications.
- American Heart Association: To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. www.heart.org. (n.d.). https://www.heart.org/en/
- Hjalmarsdottir, F. (2022, October 14). How much omega-3 should you take per day?. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-omega-3
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements - omega-3 fatty acids. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/#:~:text=Omega%2D3%20fatty%20acids%20are,%2C%20soybean%2C%20and%20canola%20oils.