Should You Be Taking Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
On my journey to rid myself of all medications (really just one blood pressure medication that had two parts to it) I have learned a lot. Thanks to some healthcare practitioners who are very knowledgeable in all things diet, wellness, and prevention, I am making progress. But early on in my quest, I had one major question come up often and that was should you be taking omega-3 fatty acids?
The human body makes most of the fats it needs from raw materials or other fats. This is not the case for omega-3 fatty acids (also called omega-3 fats and n-3 fats). These are considered essential fats. The body can not make these from scratch, but instead must find them in foods we ingest. Foods that are high in omega-3 include nuts (especially walnuts), fish, vegetable oils, flax seeds or flax seed oil, and leafy vegetables.
What makes omega-3 fats special?
Omega-3s are an integral part of cell membranes in the body and affect functionality of the cell receptors in these membranes. They are the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as playing protective roles in cancer and other conditions.
3 Main Types of Omega-3s
Omega-3 fats are an important family of polyunsaturated fats. There are three primary omega-3s:
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) mainly comes from fish, so sometimes they are referred to as marine omega-3s.
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in most Western diets. It is found in vegetable oils and nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds and flaxseed oil, leafy vegetables, and some animal fat, especially in grass-fed animals. The human body generally uses ALA for energy, and conversion into EPA and DHA is very limited.
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) is the final priamry Omega-3. DHA is absolutely vital for brain development and function in childhood, as well as brain function in adults.
ONE THING I LEARNED TODAY:
It appears as though Omega-3s are a good supplement to take. I can’t see too many negative aspects (aside from the cost, but in the long run, it will likely save money on health issues). So I have been taking Omega-3s since I was about 35 years old (3 years now). My health is overall better, but that is likely due to a change in diet and increase in exercise. Time will tell if these Omega-3 oils help, but I am a believer! If you are looking for a good one WITH NO FISH BURPS, I take this one for that exact reason Nature’s Plus Ultra Omega 3 6 9 .