One of the lunchtime crew members asked me about omega 3 so I told him I write a little piece about it so here it is.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential which means that the body can’t create them, they are a essential compound that is the key building block for cell membranes, particularly in the brain.
Omega 3 fatty acid are commonly found in plants and marine life. Omega 3 fatty acids include
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- stearidonic acid (SDA)
- docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)
- alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Fish oils are found in oily fish such as trout, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines and salmon.
In human’s omega 3s are found mainly in the brain, retina and sperm cells.
Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) is mainly found in plant-based foods, such as flaxseed, nuts, seeds, chia seeds and can be converted in the body to EPA, DHA, SDA and DPA although the conversion is not efficient and can be less than 10%.
Benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Can lower elevated triglyceride levels so called bad cholesterol
- Can improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by curbing stiffness and joint pain
- DHA appears to be important for visual and neurological development in infants
- Omega 3’s can lower inflammation
- Omega 3 and depression – research is mixed regarding that topic
Best way to get your Omega 3’s is from a variety of different foods, if you don’t like fish, you may consider taking a good quality supplement.
Eating fish is a good idea but some are likely to have high mercury levels.
People on blood thinning medication should be careful with omega 3 supplementation, Omega 3 fatty acids acts like a blood thinner.
Contact your doctor before supplementing.
Make sure to cover your basics like good quality sleep, drinking water, reasonably good eating habits and exercise. Supplements are not magic pills which will fix those shortcomings ,they can only be a good addition.
For example if you want to lower your so called bad cholesterol levels you can also get it done with excercise and maybe changing your eating habits. You will get far more benefits doing that then taking omega 3 supplements.
All the best