More and more research studies are discovering the powerful health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids and just how vital they are to our health. The only problem is that our bodies can’t manufacture them, so we have to get them from the foods we eat or from nutritional supplements. Good dietary sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are fish and seafood, like salmon, tuna and krill, or plants and nut oils like flaxseeds and walnut oil The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least 2 times per week, specifically fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring and sardines.
Unfortunately, most Americans are deficient in Omega-3s. Symptoms of Omega-3 deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, cardiovascular problems, poor circulation, moodiness, and depression. For optimum health, it’s important to have a balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids in your diet. Experts estimate that most American diets are unbalanced and have 14 to 25 times more Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3s.
A healthier balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in the Mediterranean diet. This diet includes very little meat, which is high in Omega-6 fatty acids, and includes foods rich in Omega-3s such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, and wine in moderation. Numerous studies have shown that those who follow this type of diet are less prone to develop heart disease.
Omega-3 may also be beneficial for:
People who get plenty of Omega-3s from eating fatty fish and other Omega-3-rich foods tend to have higher HDL, or “good” cholesterol levels, and decreased triglycerides, or fats in the blood, which both support heart health. Research studies have shown that fish oil supplements reduce triglyceride levels. Walnuts, which are a rich source of alpha linolenic acid, or ALA, which is type of Omega-3 fatty acid, have been reported to lower total cholesterol and triglycerides in people who have high cholesterol levels.
High Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that people with hypertension were able to lower their blood pressure by consuming a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids or taking fish oil supplements. After analyzing the results of 17 clinical studies using fish oil supplements, researchers determined that taking 3 or more grams of fish oil per day may lower blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension.
People with diabetes are prone to have high triglyceride and low HDL levels. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help lower triglycerides and apoproteins, which are markers of diabetes, while raising HDL, so eating Omega-3 foods or taking fish oil supplements may help people with diabetes.
Most clinical studies of Omega-3 fatty acids supplements for arthritis have focused on rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that causes inflamed joints. Several small studies have found that fish oil helps to reduce symptoms of RA, including joint pain and stiffness. Laboratory studies suggest that diets high in Omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) fatty acids and low in omega-6 (inflammatory) fatty acids may help people with osteoarthritis, although further research is needed.
The latest research suggests that Omega-3 fatty acids may help increase levels of calcium and enhance bone strength. Other studies also suggest that people who don’t get enough of certain essential fatty acids (particularly EPA and gamma-linolenic acid [GLA], an omega-6 fatty acid) are more likely to have bone loss than those with normal levels of these fatty acids. In a study of women over 65 with osteoporosis, those who took EPA and GLA supplements had less bone loss over 3 years than those who took a placebo. Many of these women also experienced increased bone density.
Several studies have found that people who took Omega-3 fatty acids in addition to prescription antidepressants had a greater improvement in symptoms than those who took antidepressants alone. However, more studies are needed. Depression is a serious condition, so you should consult your doctor for treatment.
Plant vs. Animal-based Omega-3 Supplements
Whenever possible, it’s best to get your nutrition from the foods you eat. But in certain cases, this is not always feasible, and Omega-3 is a perfect example of this. Plant-based Omega-3 sources like flax, hemp and chia are high in ALA and are important sources of nutrients, however the body must convert ALA into the far more essential EPA and DHA by an enzyme in which most of us are deficient. Therefore, it is essential to get some of your Omega-3 fats from animal sources so you will have DHA and EPA to help your body utilize Omega-3 fats.
Unfortunately, our fish supply is becoming more and more contaminated with pollutants and toxins like mercury, PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals and radioactive poisons. One solution is to get your animal-based Omega-3 fats from krill oil or krill oil supplements, not only because of the superior efficacy, oxidation protection and absorption, but also because krill is a completely sustainable and environmentally friendly resource.
Whether it’s in plant or animal-based form, there are many amazing health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids. Making sure you get your Omega-3s every day is one of the easiest and most powerful things you can do for your heart and overall health.
If you’re looking for an Omega-3 supplement, Healthy Choice Naturals Omega Naturals Fish Oil is the purest, most potent Omega-3 fish oil supplement available. It’s a full 230% stronger than many other brands, providing an incredible 1000mg of Omega-3 fish oil complex, 420mg of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and 280mg of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid).