Have you ever turned on your TV and found an advert that brags about how much omega-3 a particular product has?
Omega-3 is an excellent nutrient. And in this article, we'll cover what omega-3 can do for your body, including your mental health, heart, weight loss, inflammation, and bone health.
We'll also look at what omega-3 supplements are made from. And what type of food you should eat if you don't want to go down the supplement route.
By the end of this article, you should have a firm idea of whether or not you believe taking omega-3 supplements will be the right decision for your body.
What is omega-3?
Omega 3 fatty acid is a family of polyunsaturated oils known for having many health advantages. The omega-3 is also present in salmon mackerels and sardines. You won't be disappointed if you do not eat fish: Linseed, pecan, hazelnuts or walnuts contain a different type of omega-3 called ALA that converts into DHA or EPA.
Is omega-3 a vitamin?
Yes, omega3 is an unsaturated fat, not dietary fat. Often food supplements contain vitamins such as vitamin B or vitamin A but also dietary fibre. We can no longer get omega-3. Therefore, it should also be considered an essential nutrient as some vitamins are.
What does omega-3 do?
Omega-3s form an essential part of the cell membrane and help our immune systems work efficiently.
What is omega-3 good for?
Omega-3 plays a key role in human health.
Why some people might opt for supplements
Throughout this article, we'll discuss the benefits of omega 3. First, however, let's start by talking about the benefits of omega-3 supplements.
In an ideal world, everyone would be able to eat a diet with all the omega-3 they need. However, we don't live in a perfect world- but the real one!
For whatever reason, some people cannot eat an omega-3-rich diet. We're not here to recommend omega-3 supplements over foods high in nutrients. However, if you cannot get omega-3 in your diet, supplements are the next best thing.
People may struggle to get enough omega-3 in their diet, including budgetary restrictions, food storage facilities, and time constraints.
Benefits of omega-3
Firstly, we have mental health.
Omega-3 molecules can travel through the cell membrane. In doing so, they interact with various mood-related molecules that exist inside the brain.
When these mood molecules inflate, it can cause you to become depressed. However, omega-3 stops them from inflaming, which can help to reduce the symptoms of depression.
However, the science behind this is not yet entirely clear, so we are not advising anyone to abandon their prescribed antidepressants in favour of omega-3 supplements.
A study in Europe has suggested that omega-3 can help prevent dry eye syndrome.
Dry-eye syndrome is a painful condition in which your eyes become dry, as the name suggests. This is due to a lack of adequate tears.
For a tear to do its job (lubricate the eye), it needs to have the right balance of water, oil and mucus.
Omega-3 helps the body produce the oils needed in tears. The oil (and mucus) helps the water stay attached to the eyes longer. Without oil, the water in our eyes would evaporate quickly and leave them dry.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which prevent the eye from becoming painful due to dryness.
Omega-3 is also fantastic for heart health.
As you may be aware, triglycerides are cholesterol that clogs up your arteries and prevents blood from pumping around your body.
When too many of your arteries are clogged, your blood pressure can rise due to the blood flow needing to speed up to keep your whole body supplied with oxygen.
Omega-3 helps lower your blood pressure. It does this by increasing the oxidation of fatty acids (such as triglycerides).
If you're trying to lose weight, omega-3 can be helpful.
This point is related to the point we've just made about heart health. If your heart is healthier, your metabolism will speed up. This means your body will digest food quicker, and you'll lose weight faster. So, essentially, it helps you burn more calories than your body would otherwise be able to.
And this is backed up by science too. Participants were asked to consume 6 grams of fish oil for 12 weeks in one experiment. In doing so, they increased their metabolic rate by 3.8%.
Inflammation is when cells in your body swell up. This is often due to your immune system reacting to something going wrong. There may be several inflammation causes, but the result is often a painful experience no matter the reason.
If too much inflammation occurs, it can lead to various heart diseases and even cancer.
Specific molecules or substances can increase the risk of inflammation within your body, including eicosanoids and cytokines.
However, omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it reduces the production of substances that can lead to inflammation.
The skeleton is a vital part of our anatomy. If it weren't for our skeleton, we would all be blobs of flesh and organs- a bit like a jellyfish or a slug.
Thankfully, our bones allow us to move and give us extra strength. However, it's also essential to keep your bones strong because weak bones can lead to health problems, such as arthritis.
One way to keep your bones strong is to get enough calcium. Omega-3 doesn't contain calcium itself, but it does help enhance the calcium absorption properties of your bones.
How Supplements are made
Most omega-3 supplements are made from some kind of fish oil. Such as krill oil or cod liver oil. For vegetarians, you can get omega-3 supplements from algal oil.
Different companies will make their supplements with varying ratios of each oil. Some will use a bit of each, and some will get all the oil from a single type of fish.
First, the quality of the oil is tested. This is to make sure it's clean and contains all the omega-3 it says it has on the bottle.
This oil is then mixed with vitamin E, providing more nutritional benefits for your body. This mixture is then put into gel pills.
Large tumblers then dry the pills to make them last longer and easier to transport.
Other Sources of Omega-3
If you can get omega-3 from your diet, that would be preferable, as your body will be able to absorb it better than omega-3 from a supplement.
The most common source of omega-3 is fish oil. So eating oily fish is a brilliant way to add omega-3 into your diet. Some of the most popular types of oily fish include mackerel, salmon, and herring.
Traditionally, people would get their omega-3 from a spoonful of cod liver oil. However, we respect that this might not be to everyone's tastes.
Vegetarians can still have access to omega-3 by eating foods such as flax, soy, walnuts, pumpkin, leafy greens, algal oil, or hemp seeds.
To see our Omega 3 & 6 Blood Test, click here.
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