Omega 3 Fatty Acids

You hear a lot of people saying they take omega 3 fatty acid supplements and that you should take them too! But what’s the benefit? Why take it in a capsule form if I can get enough fatty acids through my diet?

First let’s break down what omega 3 fatty acid’s are and then we’ll talk about how taking a fish oil supplement (or other Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement) can be BENEFICIAL FOR YOUR HEALTH!

There are 2 different types of essential fatty acids – Omega 3 and 6. First, they are called “essential” fatty acids because they must be obtained from the diet. Omega 6 fatty acids are often described as pro-inflammatory and mostly come from animal products and vegetable oils. On the other hand, OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS, EPA and DHA, are generally described as ANTI INFLAMMATORY and come from fish, nuts, seeds and olive and avocado oils.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Have a Key Role In Normal Growth And Development, Especially The Eyes And Brain.

 

The Standard American Diet is heavy in omega 6 fatty acids… thus causing a lot of inflammation in our bodies.

The recommended ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is 4:1 or less, but for the average American’s consumption it tends to be between 10:1 and 50:1.

Deficiencies of omega 3 fatty acids are common at varying levels and can be associated with growth retardation, reproductive failure, skin lesions, kidney and liver disorders, neurological and visual problems and even anxiety or depression. Needless to say, supplementation is quite important. Omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial because they support heart health, brain health, your immune response and reproductive health. Below are 5 benefits of omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
#1 – Brain Health & Mood
60% of your brain is fatty tissue and utilizes a majority of the fat you consume. It is important to feed your brain the good kind of anti-inflammatory fat and support vascular renewal in the brain. DHA is the major structural component of the brain and is neuroprotective, allowing for improvement and preservation of memory and focus.

Additionally, omega 3 fatty acids support serotonin, a feel good hormone, in the brain, thus it is essential in brain growth, development, learning and a good mood! Brain inflammation is a common causative factor in any mood disorder, including anxiety and depression. So for overall brain health and mood, omega 3 fatty acids are of utmost importance.

 

#2 – Cardiovascular Health

Omega 3 fatty acids are well known to benefit all cardiovascular and heart related concerns. Due to omega 3 fatty acid’s anti-inflammatory effects, they have been shown to reduce blood viscosity, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce blood clots by dilating blood vessels, lower blood pressure, minimize circulatory disorders, protect against irregular heartbeats and encourage blood flow to tissues. For any cardiovascular concern or family history of, omega 3 fatty acids can make a huge difference!

 

#3 – Inflammation
Inflammation is at the root of most chronic disease processes. For this reason, ALMOST ANY TREATMENT MUST ADDRESS AND REDUCE INFLAMMATION. Rather than loading the body up with damaging NSAID’s or steroids, omega 3 fatty acids are safe and have shown to have similar effects with many more benefits. Omega 3 fatty acids, mostly the EPA component, are great for the inflammation associated with muscle and joint concerns, skin lesions, high cholesterol, headaches and other chronic disease pathologies.
#4 – Immune System
Omega 3 fatty acids are very beneficial in regulating the immune system. A large part of this is due to its anti-inflammatory effects, however it also helps signal the body to produce fever and pain during injury. Fever and pain, although uncomfortable, are part of the body’s protective mechanisms and actually help the body fight against pathogens. Omega 3 fatty acids have also been shown to be protective in cancer, as they help fortify the membranes of healthy cells and destroy tumor cells.
Another important immune-modulating aspect of omega 3 fatty acids is in autoimmunity. Omega 3 fatty acids help to increase white blood cells and decrease inflammation, associated with many autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Did you know that fat is needed to synthesize hormones? So without enough healthy fat in your diet you won’t make enough hormones! Low libido? Could be your diet or lack thereof! Not only that, but omega 3 fatty acids are a very important part of fertility for a couple because they enhance sperm count, quality, morphology and motility. Omega 3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, are also important for egg quality and neurodevelopment of the fetus throughout pregnancy.

 

Recommendations for fat intake vary based on health status, weight, basal metabolic rate and health goals, so are very different for each individual. This is why it’s so important to work with a Naturopathic Medical Doctor to help you create a health plan to identify root causes, dose specific herbs and nutrients according to your body and reach your goals safely and efficiently.
In conclusion, our recommendations to optimize your health are to minimize inflammatory fats that come from vegetable oils, processed foods and high animal meat diets and instead include more omega 3 fatty acids found in fish (highest is in salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies), walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, olive oil, avocados, leafy green vegetables. We suggest omega 3 fatty acid supplements so that we can support a high therapeutic dose to maximize the benefit of the nutrient.

As a reminder, always be sure you are working with a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor to make sure your diet, lifestyle and supplementation is safe and suited for your body. Correct dosing and quality supplements are a very important part of a healthy plan, so be sure you know what you’re taking! Wishing you your best health!

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