What are Omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are nutrients obtained from food or supplements that help to build and maintain a healthy body. These are the energy source which helps to keep the heart, lungs, blood vessels and immune system active.
Two crucial ones Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are primarily found in certain fish.
Alpha-linolenic acid ALA is another omega-3 fatty acid which is obtained from plant sources such as nuts and seeds.
DHA levels are high in retina (eye), brain and sperm cells.
1. Can Fight Depression and Anxiety
- One of the most common mental disorders in the world is Depression and anxiety.
- According to studies it indicates that people who consume omega-3s supplements on a daily basis are less likely to be depressed and thus, their symptoms improve.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are of three types: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Out of the three, EPA appears to be best at fighting depression.
2. Omega-3s Can Improve Eye Health
- DHA is a major structural component of the retina of eyes. When a good amount of DHA isn’t achieved, vision problems may arise.
- When an individual gets a good amount of Omega-3, it reduces the risk of macular degeneration i.e., one of the leading causes of permanent eye damage and blindness.
3. Promotes Brain Health during Pregnancy and Early Life
- Omega-3 FAs are significant for brain growth and development in infants.
- DHA accounts for 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in brain and 60% in the
- Therefore, infants fed with DHA-fortified formula have better eyesight than infants fed a formula without DHA-fortified in it.
- Administration of enough omega-3 FAs during pregnancy is associated with numerous benefits for child which includes-
- High intelligence
- Better communication skills and social skills
- Few behavioral problems
- Lower risk of developmental delay
- Lower risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and cerebral palsy
4. Omega-3 FA Can Improve Risk Factors for Heart Disease
- The major causes of death are heart attacks and strokes.
- Fish eating communities had very low rates of these diseases which were later linked to omega-3 consumption.
Beneficial effects of omega-3 supplements on heart disease
Omega-3s cause a major reduction in triglycerides, usually in the range of 15–30%.
Omega-3 reduces blood pressure levels in individuals with high blood pressure.
Good HDL cholesterol
Omega-3s raises good HDL cholesterol levels.
Omega-3s can aid the blood platelets from clumping together. This helps in prevention of the formation of harmful blood clots.
Omega-3s helps to prevent the plaque that can restrict and harden arteries
Omega-3s reduce the production of some substances that’s released during the body’s inflammatory response.
5. Omega-3 FA Reduce Symptoms of ADHD
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder that is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
- ADHD in children have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids than their healthy peer group.
- Studies found that omega-3 supplements can reduce the symptoms of ADHD.
- Omega-3s helps to improve inattention and task completion. They also decrease aggression, hyperactivity, restlessness and impulsiveness.
6. Omega-3 FA Can Reduce Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
- Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions which includes central obesity also called as belly fat, as well as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high triglycerides and low “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
- It is a major concern because it increases the risk of many other illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes.
- Omega-3s can improve insulin resistance, inflammation and heart disease risk factors in people with metabolic syndrome.
7. Omega-3s Can Fight Inflammation
- Inflammation is a natural response to any infections or damage in the body. Thus, it is vital for the well-being of health.
- However, inflammation persists for a long time in some situations, even without an infection or injury. This is termed as chronic or long-term inflammation.
- Long-term inflammation can contribute to almost every chronic illness, including heart diseases and cancer.
- In particular, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation, such as inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines.
8. Omega-3s Can Fight Autoimmune Diseases
- In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakes healthy cells as foreign cells and starts attacking them.
- Type 1 diabetes is one example, in which your immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells present in pancreas.
- Omega-3 consumption is linked to reduced risk of many autoimmune diseases, including type 1-diabetes, autoimmune diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
- Omega-3s also helps to treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease and psoriasis.
9. Omega-3 FA Can Improve Mental Disorders
- In psychiatric disorders people with low omega-3 levels have been reported.
- Supplements of this nutrient help to reduce the frequency of mood swings and relapses in people with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
- Violent behavior may also decrease when supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids.
10. Can Fight Age-Related Mental Decline and Alzheimer’s disease
- Higher omega-3 FAs intake causes decrease in age-related mental decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Supplements can be beneficial at disease onset, when the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are very mild.
11. Omega-3 FA May Help Prevent Cancer
- Cancer is one of the leading causes of death and omega-3 fatty acids have been claimed to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
- Individuals who consume the most omega-3s have up to 55% lower risk of colon cancer.
- In addition, consumption of omega-3 is linked to reduced risk of breast cancer in women.
12. Reduce Asthma
- Asthma is a chronic lung disease with common symptoms being Coughing, wheezing and SOB.
- Severe asthma attacks can be dangerous which are caused by inflammation and swelling in the airways of lungs.
- Omega-3 consumption is associated with lower risk of asthma in children and young adults.
13. Can Reduce Fat in Your Liver
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a more common disease.
- Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation beneficially reduces liver fat and inflammation in people with NAFLD.
14. Omega-3 FA May Improve Bone and Joint Health
- Osteoporosis and arthritis are common disorders that affect the skeletal system.
- Omega-3s can improve bone strength by boosting the amount of calcium in bones, which leads to a reduced risk of osteoporosis.
- Omega-3s can also treat arthritis. Patients consuming omega-3 supplements have reported reduced joint pain and increased grip strength.
15. Can Alleviate Menstrual Pain
- Menstrual pain significantly affects quality of life as it occurs in the lower abdomen and pelvis region and often radiates to lower back and thighs.
- Consumption of more omega-3s by women has milder menstrual pain.
- In the research, omega-3 supplement was more effective than ibuprofen in treating severe pain during menstruation.
16. Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Improve Sleep
- Sleep deprivation is tied up to many diseases, including obesity, diabetes and depression.
- Decrease levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with sleep problems in children and obstructive sleep apnea in adults.
- Lower levels of DHA are also linked to decreased levels of the hormone melatonin, which helps to fall asleep.
- Length and quality of sleep increases when supplemented with omega-3s.
17. Good For Your Skin
- DHA is a structural component of skin which is responsible for the health of cell membranes, which makes up a large part of skin.
- The healthy cell membrane has soft, moist, supple and wrinkle-free skin.
- EPA benefits in several ways, which includes:
- To manage hydration of skin
- Preventing hyperkeratinization of hair follicles,
- To reduce premature aging of skin.
- To reduce the risk of acne.
- Omega-3s also protects skin from sun damage.