When we hear “omega-3s,” we think “fatty acids,” which doesn’t sound especially appealing. However, fatty acids are vital nutrients needed for bodily functions, including the heart and brain, all the way down to your body’s cells! Unfortunately, our bodies don’t produce omega-3s, so we must include them from plant oils and fish in our diets.
What Exactly Are Omega-3s?
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids in the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) family. These vital nutrients have anti-inflammatory and anti-blood-clotting effects. They are shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, reduce heart disease and stroke risk, plus lessen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and dementia.
In addition, they’re essential for brain function, hormone production, joint mobility, eye health, genetic process, and infant development (brain, immune, and nervous systems).
What Are The Different Types Of Omega-3s?
Omega-3 fatty acids come in multiple forms. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), found in fish, have the most substantial health benefits. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in vegetable oils, flaxseed, walnuts, and dark leafy greens like spinach. The ALA form is much harder for the body to convert. As a result, only small amounts are converted into DHA and EPA.
How Much Do You Need In Your Diet?
The NIH (National Institute of Health) suggests consuming 1.1-1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily for adults, while the AHA (American Heart Association) recommends two servings of fish (3-4 ounces) a week as part of a heart-healthy diet. If you are pregnant, the importance of getting Omega 3s is more significant due to the necessity of these nutrients for your growing baby. The American Pregnancy Association recommends 300mg of DHA daily for pregnant and lactating women.
Fortunately, supplements are available for those who do not like to eat fish to help you get your daily intake. The supplements available contain fish oil, krill oil, cod liver oil, and algal oil (a vegetarian source from algae). A wide variety of dosages and types of Omega 3s are available in supplement form.
An Advanced Urgent Care & Aesthetics Wellness provider can help you determine which supplements, including Omega 3s, your body needs. Learn more and schedule your Wellness Evaluation today.