After summer craziness, fall is the perfect time to slow down and re-commit to good health and dietary habits. Our lives become more routine in the autumn and permit even the busiest of us to make a nod toward getting back to that workout routine, re-visiting those slow-cooked healthy dinners and re-examining our dietary supplement intake.
One of the most common complaints I hear regarding vitamins and supplements is how difficult it can be to distill down the overwhelming and sometimes contradictory information available – even from the most reputable sources.
Since Omega 3′s seem to be a source of confusion for so many folks, here is a cheat-sheet offering the basic facts and benefits of this supplement.
Basic Facts About Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Omega-3 fatty acid are necessary for optimal bodily functioning.
- Our bodies cannot manufacture Omega 3′s so we must get them through our diet or from supplements.
- There are two crucial types of Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA.
- ALA, a third type of Omega-3 fatty acid, is converted by the body to EPA and DHA and is the best oil-based source.
How to Add Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet
- Eat more fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, anchovies, sardines, mackerel and lake trout.
- Add a high quality fish oil supplement from a reputable site such as OVitaminPro to your daily routine.
- Use flax seed meal and flax seed oil in cooking.
- Whole flax seeds are difficult to digest and do not provide the same benefits as oil and meal.
Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Blood Fat [triglycerides]
- According to a number of studies, fish oil supplements can cut elevated triglyceride levels.
- Omega-3 fatty acids appear to lower the overall risk of death from heart disease.
- Eating fish once or twice a week seems to significantly lower the risk of stroke.
- A number of studies have found that fish oil supplements significantly reduced stiffness and joint pain.
- Omega-3 supplements also seem to boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Researchers have found that cultures that eat foods with high levels of omega-3s have lower levels of depression.
- Fish oil also seems to boost the effects of antidepressants.
- Fish oil may help reduce the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder.
- Studies show that EPA and DHA supplementation during pregnancy boost the health of pregnant women and the development of their children.
- DHA appears to be important for visual and neurological development in infants.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- The evidence is preliminary, but some research suggests that omega-3s may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Recent studies have also evaluated whether the omega-3 supplement DHA can slow the decline seen in those with Alzheimer’s dementia or in age-associated memory impairment.
As with any dietary changes, discuss adding a high-quality Omega 3 supplement to your diet with your health care provider.