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Health benefits and requirements of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
 
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What are omega 3 fatty acids?
 
Omega 3 fatty acids must be obtained from food or fish oil supplements. They are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that cannot be synthesized in the body. So they are necessary for good health, but the body cannot manufacture them. Three of the important omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). After you eat them, your body converts ALA (linolic acid) to EPS and DHA. These are the two types of omega 3 fatty acids that the body uses more readily. Researchers gave fatty acids the name of “essential” when they found that they were necessary to the normal growth of animals and young children. There are many benefits of omega 3 and many more are being researched and developed.
 
Where do you find omega 3 fatty acids?
 

In your diet, EPA and DHA are widely available in cold water oily fish, such as mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines halibut, mackerel, and anchovies. There is a risk in consuming fish oil omega-3 supplements because of possible heavy metal poisoning in the body, as there are traces of heavy metals in the type of fish listed above. So the FDA recommends no more than 3 grams of these types of fish per day. A botanical source of omega 3 is flax and its oil. These are the most widely available botanical sources of omega-3 fatty acids. If you feed chickens a diet of greens and insects, they will produce eggs with higher levels of omega-3 than chickens that are fed soybeans or corn. Grass-fed animals produce meat higher in fatty acids than animals fed grain. You can also find fatty acids in krill, which is a small, shrimp-like zooplankton. This is a less known source and is more likely not to have heavy metals in them. EPA can also be found in the oil from brown algae (kelp). You can also fin omega 3 fatty acids in Acai palm fruit. Some nuts also contain fatty acids. In addition to these dietary sources, you can consume fish oil capsules to obtain EPA and DHA. It is recommended that you purchase fish oil supplements from reputable companies who certify that there are no heavy metals in their products.

 
 
How much omega 3 & omega 6 fatty acids do you need?
 
Researchers who conducted clinical studies determined that the ingested ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is significant in maintaining cardiovascular health. Oils rich in omega 6 are sunflower, grapeseed oil, corn oil, cottonseed, peanut, and canola. Western diets provide much more omega-6 oils than omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 and omega 6 should be consumed in balanced proportion whether through diet or fish oil. Some researchers recommend a 3:2 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3, which translates into 650 mg of EPA and DHA, and 2.22 g of ALA, and one omega-6 form: 4.44g of LA.
 
What are the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids?
 
Many clinical studies have been conducted and researchers have found a multitude of benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in human diets. Strong evidence exists that omega 3 benefits include the control of heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease. There are many more benefits of omega. Listed below are some of these benefits:
 
 A reduction in inflammation and prevention of chronic heart diseases can be attributed to consumption of omega 3 in diets or fish oil supplements. These omega-3 benefits include the lowering of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides and the increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol. There is also strong evidence that fatty acids help reduce high blood pressure, and by inhibiting the development of plaque and blood clots, help prevent and treat atherosclerosis. This evidence also strongly suggests that omega-3 fatty acid intake, primarily from fish, helps protect against stroke by the same process.

 Infants benefit from omega 3 that promotes developing vision and nerves during pregnancy. Infants are at risk for developing problems in these areas, if they don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers.

 Combined with a low-fat diet with exercise, omega-3 benefits those people who are overweight and who suffer from diabetes and high cholesterol. It can be consumed in diets or fish oil.

 In rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory joint condition, studies have shown benefits of fatty acids in reducing joint tenderness, decreased morning stiffness, possible decreases in medications that control this chronic disease. Along with this joint condition, omega-3 benefits people with osteoporosis by increasing the levels of calcium in the body and by increasing bone mass and bone strength

 People are at risk for suffering depression if they do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids. The benefits of omega-3 for this illness work by helping nerve cells to communicate, an essential step in achieving good mental health. Cell membranes must be healthy in order to improve brain function and the overall condition of our brain cells. Studies showed that people hospitalized for depression had lower levels of fatty acids than people who ate a healthy diet with omega-3. When treated with an appropriate amount of fatty acids, these people had reduced feelings of depression and hostility and improved brain function. The same studies found the same omega-3 benefits for people suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Other studies suggest that people not suffering from depression may experience improved brain function with omega-3.

 In studies of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it was determined that those children may have low levels of essential fatty acids. Some of those children exhibited learning and behavioural problems. More studies are needed to determine if omega-3 benefits children with ADHD by reducing their symptoms and improving their general condition.

 There have been preliminary studies conducted that show omega-3 benefits for people with the chronic disease, asthma. They show that fatty acid supplements may decrease the inflammation in the lungs and improve overall lung function in adults.

 More omega-3 benefits include a lower incidence of macular degeneration in people who consumed a significant amount of fatty acids from fish in their diets.

 Other omega-3 benefits are being studied in regard to colon cancer, inflammatory bowl disease (IBD) and Crohn’s disease, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Some studies have preliminary findings that support the argument that the diseases are prevented from worsening by consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.

 Women with the highest dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids were found to have the mildest symptoms during menstruation in a study performed in Denmark.

 Preliminary research seeks to determine whether there is an omega-3 benefit in fighting infections, and in treating ulcers, migraine headaches, lupus, emphysema, and glaucoma. Many studies will need to be conducted to substantiate this research.
 
Omega-3 consumption in our diets or fish oil supplements benefits our bodies by protecting against heart disease, by improving our brain cells and brain function, and by helping our cell membranes remain healthy.
 
 
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