Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Everything You Need to Know About Healthy Fats
Is there one best supplement for overall health? That’s a difficult question to answer, because everyone’s needs are different. But, if we had to recommend something, a high-quality omega would absolutely be at (or near) the top of our list. Why? Because healthy fats have some of the most wide-spread effects on our overall health. If you’re curious about the benefits of healthy fats like omegas, then let us share!
What Are Omega-3’s?
Before diving into the benefits of Omega-3’s, it’s important to understand what they are. Omega-3’s are fatty acids that are commonly found in foods like fish, nuts, seeds, and oils. There are three main types of Omega-3’s, which include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Of these, you’ve likely heard about EPA and DHA most commonly, as they play a very important role in many facets of human health.
Benefits of Omega-3’s
One of the main (and most well-known) benefits of omega-3’s is for mental health. Why do healthy fats impact mental health so much? Simply put, omega-3’s play a very important role in the structure and function of cell membranes, and are densely concentrated in the brain. So, when the diet is lacking healthy fats it is not surprising that the tissues made of these fats are the first to suffer.
When it comes to mental health, omega-3’s have a large impact on inflammation as well as cellular structure in the brain. Both of which could be attributed to the benefits of omega-3 for depression. These positive effects aren’t limited to depression however, and have a much wider impact across many aspects of mental health including overall mood, anxiety, ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), and more.
Adolescent Brain Health
While mental health throughout the ages is important, we can’t forget about our developmental years where the brain is constantly growing and changing. Ensuring a healthy supply of omega-3’s early in childhood is crucial for both brain and nervous system development as well as impulse and mood management in children, especially regarding ADHD management.
As mentioned, the structural function of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain cannot go unnoticed. In fact, DHA is the main fatty acid responsible for structure in the central nervous system and retina. When it comes to ADHD management, this could be attributed to the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3’s and the fact that dietary deficiencies can alter neuron function, hormone balance, and nerve signalling which, not surprisingly, has a large impact on mood and impulse control.
Now, you may be thinking “how can omega’s help with asthma”? This comes back to the role of omega-3 fatty acids in regulating inflammation. Because asthma is a condition that involves chronic airway inflammation, its not surprising that these healthy fats could be protective against asthma.
When most people think of bone health, the first supplement that comes to mind is usually a calcium/magnesium combination. But, did you know that omega’s are also good for our structural system? While there isn’t an obvious connection between omega-3’s and bone health, they have been shown to improve gut absorption of calcium. In turn, this results in more calcium available for bone maintenance. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this effect is still being studied and is in need of some further investigation.
Another well-known benefit of omega-3’s is heart health. The anti-inflammatory properties of these healthy fats do wonders for our circulatory system! This has been fairly well-studied as populations who have a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids tend to have lower incidences of cardiac-related health problems including a reduced risk of heart attack.
A perfect example of this is the Sami people. While they ate significant amounts of red meat, their nomadic lifestyle and nature-guided diet often meant that they would turn to fishing. Their cold-water catches were packed with healthy fats, and when combined with their highly active lifestyle it created a gene pool that has remained resistant to cancer and heart issues for generations.
The circadian rhythm is arguably the most important bodily cycle. It’s the reason we feel tired at night and awake in the mornings – the day-to-day fluctuations that tell our hormones what to do and when. Without it, we simply wouldn’t function the way we do. So, what does this have to do with omega-3’s? Our circadian rhythm can be influenced by many things, one of which includes diet!
Melatonin is the main hormone that drives our sleep-wake cycle, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, and fatty acids all have an important role in its synthesis. On top of this, studies have also shown that omega-3 levels in cell membranes can have an impact on sleep apnea too!
Overall Health – Inflammation, Body Composition, Metabolic Syndrome
Even if you aren’t concerned about a specific health condition, omega-3’s are still a great way to support overall health. They help to regulate inflammation (which everyone is dealing with on some level). The fact is, that inflammation is the underlying cause for many chronic health conditions and many people don’t consume enough through diet. So, if you’re looking to be proactive about your health, omega-3’s are a great addition to any health regime.
Are you considering an omega-3 supplement? If you’ve never taken one before then you likely have a few questions. That’s what we’re here for!
How Much Omega-3 Per Day Do I Take?
The daily intake levels of omega-3’s depends on a couple of things – dietary intake as well as individual health. For someone who’s dealing with chronic inflammation or a related health condition, they would likely benefit from higher omega-3 intake. A person who’s looking to support general health and has a well-rounded diet wouldn’t require as much. Whichever the case, a minimum of 250-500 mg combined EPA and DHA is recommended per day in healthy adults. For therapeutic cases, some recommend 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day. If you aren’t sure, the best advice is always to speak with a licensed healthcare provider or dietician.
If your diet is lacking in Omega-3’s then it’s a great idea to supplement. But, that’s not saying that foods can’t provide some of your daily intake as well. When it comes to omega-3 sources, here are a few foods you could incorporate into your routine:
• Salmon, herring, tuna, and many other types of fish/seafood
• Flaxseed oil
• Chia, flax, and hemp seeds
Best Omega-3 Supplements
The best omega-3 supplements should contain oil from high-quality sources. Because fatty acids are chemically fragile, they can easily go rancid (and therefore have an unhelpful effect on health if consumed). Even if this wasn’t the case, the quality of a supplement should always be top of mind. In choosing to consume supplements, you’re committing to better health. If the nutrients that you’re putting into your body cause more stress to be absorbed and used, then there’s really no point in taking them at all. So, the question remains – what is the best omega-3 supplement?
Aarja Health offers both vegan and non-vegan omega-3 supplements with the quality and safety standards that you all know and love. Our Premium Omega-3 BOOST Krill Oil provides both EPA and DHA fatty acids as well as a few of krill’s other natural nutrients like astaxanthin (an antioxidant) and choline. For anyone looking for plant-based omega-3’s, Aarja Health’s Algae omega-3 offers a similar combination of EPA and DHA sourced only from the highest quality algae for a sustainable, plant-based source of healthy fats. For quality you can trust, Aarja Health has your omega-3 needs covered!