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Everything You Need To Know About Omega-3

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 25 October 2022, Updated on - 07 November 2022

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Are you on the search for a health supplement for overall fitness? Omega-3 is your answer. Known as a health booster, Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids(PUFAs), the good fats. They are the life-sustaining building blocks of the human body. This article discusses the health benefits, sources, and possible side effects of consuming Omega-3 fats.

Types Of Omega-3 Fats

The three main types of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

Since our body cannot produce any of the omega-3s we need to include them in our food or take them as supplements. ALA is most commonly found in plant oils, nuts, seeds, and leafy vegetables, while EPA and DHA are found in seafood. The human body also converts ALA into some amount of EPA and DHA. 

What Are the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids offer many health benefits, some of which include:

1. Heart Health

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves blood vessel function
  • Reduces Low-Density Lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels

2. Brain Health

  • Helps prevent mental decline in older adults
  • Boosts memory and daily task performance
  • Improves cognitive and behavioural function

3. Fetal growth and development

Omega-3s are essential for the formation of the fetal brain, eyes, and spinal cord. They prevent preterm birth and are essential for the healthy delivery of the baby.

4. Anti-inflammatory

It reduces inflammation throughout the body and helps manage inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Omega-3s may also help manage the following diseases:

  • Eczema
  • Dry eye
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s are found in sea foods and some plant sources. Some of the important sources of individual types of Omega-3s are as follows:

Sources of EPA and DHA

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Sardines

Sources of ALA

  • Flaxseeds and chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Soybean oil
  • Canola oil
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Kale and spinach

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements

You can find EPA and DHA in fatty fish and fish oil supplements. You can also get a limited amount of DHA from algal oil supplements. However, it is advised to

How Much Omega-3 Fatty Acid Do You Need?

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for omega-3 fatty acids is 1,000 milligrams (mg) for men and 800 mg for women, who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people with heart disease consume about 1 gram (g) of EPA and DHA per day.   

Omega-3 is important for a healthy heart and improved blood vessel functions. Therefore, it is an important part of our diet. You can find Omega-3 in fatty fish and fish oil supplements. While it is advised to get 1 to 2 g of EPA and DHA combined per day, check with your doctor before trying out any supplements.

FAQs

1. Which is the most important Omega-3 fatty acid for a developing fetus?

DHA is the most important Omega-3 fatty acid for a developing fetus.

2. Do Omega-3 supplements have side effects?

Potential side effects of Omega-3 supplements are mild but may include headache, nausea and bad breath.

3. Can Omega-3 cause diabetes?

No, Omega-3 does not cause a rise in blood sugar levels.

Need more information?

Consult An Apollo Specialist

 

Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.

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