They are considered essential acids necessary for human health that the body can not produce naturally; therefore, these acids must be supplied through food or natural supplements. The required amount of omega-3 ranges from 1 gram up to a maximum of 1.5 grams daily.
There are three types:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
These acids can be found in certain types of fish, wheat germ, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocado, olive oil, cold-pressed rape oil, linseed oil, nuts, beans, lentils, tofu.
The effects of omega-3 acids on the blood is similar to that of aspirin: fluidization. An excess will, therefore, decrease the body’s ability to cope with a possible hemorrhage (the risk is medium in the case of usual doses). That is why the World Health Organization recommends not to exceed 8 g per day. However, we are quite far from an overdose!
But there is one interdiction regarding the interactions between omega-3 and prescription drugs: omega-3 acids increase the effect of anticoagulants. People who are treated with such pills should talk to their doctor before taking omega-3 supplements.
Health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids
They prevent myocardial infarction
For adults, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids promotes a good health. On a cardiovascular level, they are involved in the synthesis of prostaglandins, substances that have a beneficial role in the proper functioning of the heart and blood vessels. Thus, prostaglandins are platelet antiaggregants, they liquefy the blood, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and triglycerides levels, prevent the occurrence of myocardial infarction and strokes.
They also ensure a proper functioning of the digestive system and gastrointestinal processes, thus preventing inflammatory phenomena of Crohn’s disease. Omega-3 has a beneficial role in rheumatoid polyarthritis, rheumatism, and osteoporosis, by stimulating the synthesis of prostaglandins and prostacyclins, with anti-inflammatory effects. For the health of the nervous system, they fight against depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
They help the intellect and improve brain’s functions
Doctors recommend Omega-3 based foods and supplements, especially to pregnant and nursing women. They have beneficial effects on the central nervous system of children and their cognitive development. Also, they improve memory, concentration, and attention.
These acids help in the development of children’s brain functions and have a positive effect in reducing symptoms associated with ADHD and autism. For adults, they have a protective effect on the brain and reduce the risk of dementia associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
All omega 3 sources are anti-lipogenic (meaning that they block fat storage in your physical body) and increase your metabolic rate, so you burn body fat faster. Moreover, these essential fats can improve your exercise performance due to the improved blood flow to your muscles during physical exercise.
Although many forms of hair loss are due to emotional stress or genetics, hair loss due to poor nutrition is usually reversible. A proper amount of essential omega-3 fats in your daily diet prevents itchy, dry, flaky scalp and is also effective in reversing hair loss. In addition, these fats possess strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help to open the hair follicles, developing a healthy hair growth.
They reduce the risk of breast, colon or prostate cancer
This type of acids helps fight the three most important forms of cancer. Experts say that this happens in three ways: by suppressing alterations of healthy cells, by inhibiting cancer cell growth or by destroying the existing diseased cells.
They also proved to be effective in cases of:
Studies show that consumption of these acids increase the level of calcium in the body and improve bone strength. It is believed that people who are not getting enough essential fatty acids have a lower bone density than those with normal levels of fatty acids.
Researchers have noticed that people who used them, along with antidepressants recommended by the doctor, observed a more rapid improvement in symptoms than those who only used antidepressants.
They may contribute to the structural improvement of the brain parts corresponding to emotions, same parts where gray matter is reduced during the depression states.
They play an important role in healing patients with various skin conditions: dermatitis, acne, rashes, psoriasis. They also slow the physiological aging processes of the body, prolonging and improving the life of body’s cells.
They are the essential nutrients for skin’s health and beauty, improving microcirculation at this level and maintaining skin elasticity and tonicity. Also, these acids play an essential role in maintaining healthy nails and hair.