Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in your body and may provide several health benefits.
Because the body cannot produce them independently, you need to consume them through your diet.
Flax seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, fatty fish, fish oils, and walnuts are all foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
A fish oil or algae oil supplement is often recommended for people who don’t consume many foods. You can also go for fish oil gummies reviews to learn more.
The 3 Main Types of Omega-3 Fats
In the family of omega-3 fatty acids, there are many different types of fatty acids. The EPA, DHA, and ALA are the most important ones.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
An omega-3 fatty acid with a 20-carbon chain is called EPA. The foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish, seafood, and fish oil.
This fatty acid carries out many essential functions. However, the most important role it plays is its role in the formation of signalling molecules called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
A recent study shows that EPA is particularly effective against certain mental conditions, particularly depression.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
The omega-3 fatty acid DHA has a carbon chain length of 22 carbons. This compound has several sources, including fatty fish, seafood, fish oils, and algae.
One of the main roles played by DHA is to serve as a structural component in cell membranes, especially in the nerve cells in the brain and eyes. About 40% of the polyunsaturated fats in the brain come from this type of fat.
It is very important to get enough DHA during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Getting enough DHA during pregnancy and breastfeeding is crucial to developing the nervous system. Depending on the amount of DHA consumed by the mother, breast milk can contain a significant amount.
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid with 18 carbons. Flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts are high-fat foods containing omega-3 fatty acids.
ALA doesn’t perform many biological functions other than providing energy.
Nevertheless, it is considered an essential fatty acid. Your body converts it into EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids with various biological functions.
In humans, this process is highly inefficient. According to one estimate, approximately 5% of ALA is converted into EPA and as little as 0.5% into DHA.
Thus, you should never rely solely on ALA for omega-3s. Most of the ALA you consume will be converted into energy.
Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Blood fat (triglycerides)
Triglyceride levels can be lowered by fish oil. You are at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke if your blood fat levels are high.
Supplementing with fish oil (EPA+DHA) may reduce stiffness and joint pain.
According to some studies, cultures that consume foods with high levels of omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression. However, the effects of fish oil supplements on depression are mixed.
The development of infants’ visual and neurological systems appears to be dependent on DHA.
Asthma is a condition associated with inflammation, reduced by omega-3-rich diets.
However, more studies are needed to determine if fish oil supplements improve lung function or cut the amount of medication needed to control the condition.
Fish oil has been shown to reduce symptoms of ADHD in some children and improve their mental abilities, including thinking, remembering, and learning. Research in this area is needed, and omega-3 supplements should not be used as a primary treatment.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and they may also have a positive effect on gradual memory loss associated with ageing. However, this is not proven yet.
The bottom line
Polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are associated with several health benefits. Inflammatory diseases and depression may be reduced with high intake.
Among the natural sources of omega-3, which are few, are fish oil, fatty fish, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.
Many health professionals recommend omega-3 supplements to people who don’t get enough omega-3 in their diets. Omega-3 intake is low in Western countries.