There are many options to get omega-3 from natural sources, found in foods, such as fish and flaxseed, and in dietary supplements, such as fish oil. The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is found mainly in plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils. DHA and EPA are found in fish and other seafood.
What are Omega 3 benefits?
Omega-3 is important components of the layers that surround each cell in your body. DHA levels are especially high in retina (eye), brain, and sperm cells. Omega-3s also provide calories to give your body energy and have many functions in your heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system, and endocrine system (the network of hormone-producing glands).
How much Omega-3s do I need?
Experts have not established recommended amounts for omega-3 fatty acids, except for ALA. Average daily recommended amounts for ALA are as in below table with grams (g). The amount you need depends on your age.
Omega-3 From Natural Sources
What foods provide omega-3s?
Omega-3s sources are found naturally in some foods and are added to some fortified foods. You can get adequate amounts of omega-3s by eating a variety of foods, including the following:
1- Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines)
2- Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)
3- Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil)
4- Fortified foods (such as certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk, soy beverages, and infant formulas)
What symptoms of omega 3 deficiency?
A deficiency of omega-3s can cause rough, scaly skin and a red, swollen, itchy rash. When body do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids, deficiencies develop. This situation can lead to significant health problems. Some diets and eating plans can make you prone to this deficiency. For example, diets that are high in red meat and poultry or that significantly restrict fat may lead to fatty acid levels that are too low. While some issues that stem from deficiency may not be apparent to the sufferer, the following more obvious symptoms warrant a check of the patient’s omega-3 levels.
- Joint pain and leg cramps. Omega-3s derived from fish oil have excellent anti-inflammatory properties. They naturally reduce swelling and inflammation in the joints and throughout the body. If you do not yet experience joint pain, proper intake of omega-3s can prevent the damage that triggers the pain in the first place.
- Problems with skin, hair, and nails. Omega-3s build up cell walls, and when levels are too low, you may experience dry skin, brittle hair, and thin nails that peel and crack. Omega-3 deficiency can cause rashes on the skin and dandruff as well.
- Fatigue and trouble sleeping. It can be very tricky to pinpoint what is causing sleep issues because so many things can contribute to the problem, but a lack of omega-3s is a likely culprit. Boosting your levels can help improve significantly the amount and quality of sleep you get. Once you’re enjoying higher-quality rest, you will see many other health benefits, too.
- Allergy symptoms. Hives, asthma, and eczema can all indicate lowered omega-3 levels.
- Deficits in concentration and attentiveness. Subpar levels of essential fatty acids contribute to difficulty with memory and focus and can lead to irritability and anxiety as well. Children and adults who seem to anger quickly for no reason may actually be suffering from omega-3 deficiency.
- Excessive ear wax. This symptom is a strange one, but patients who are tired of the gunk in their ears may find that increasing their omega-3 levels will help alleviate it. Aside from the annoyance of excessive ear wax, the buildup can lead to hearing loss. Consuming enough omega-3s can help protect your hearing. One study showed a 14% reduction in the risk of hearing loss for those who added sufficient fatty acid supplements into their self-care routine.
- Cardiovascular concerns. The research is clear that omega-3s are critical for heart health. If you are experiencing heart problems, it may be that you need to increase your intake of this vital nutrient. It protects against heart disease and helps control your harmful cholesterol levels.
- Difficult menstrual cycles for women. Women who experience prolonged, heavy periods with clotting may get relief by increasing their omega-3 consumption.
What kinds of omega-3 dietary supplements are available?
Omega-3 dietary supplements include fish oil, krill oil, cod liver oil, and algal oil (a vegetarian source that comes from algae). They provide a wide range of doses and forms of omega-3s.