While you may have heard of Omega-3 fatty acids, you may be unsure what exactly they are and if you need them. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important for several functions in the body. There are 3 types of Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA, and ALA and they can be found in foods like fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds, plant oils, seaweed, and beans.
Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for brain development and function, mood disorders, cardiovascular health, digestion, eye health, immune system, neurodegenerative conditions, and hormonal health. Because Omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent anti-inflammatory, getting additional Omega-3s in your diet can help treat and, better yet, prevent many health conditions. Many people experience common symptoms of Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency yet often are not aware that a supplement could help relieve or eliminate their symptoms. Symptoms of Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include dry or rough skin, brittle or dry hair, brittle nails, fatigue, insomnia, trouble concentrating, trouble focusing, joint pain, leg cramps, difficult menstrual cycles, inflammation, high cholesterol, anxiety, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease, allergies, arthritis, ADHD, and more.
The best way to get more Omega-3 fatty acids is to be intentional about including them in your diet wherever possible. This means eating fish 2-3 times per week, getting Omega-3s from diverse sources, and taking an Omega-3 supplement. Dr. Weil offers some helpful guidance on choosing a high-quality Omega-3 fatty acid supplement to ensure you are optimally absorbing your supplement and best protecting your health, “Dr. Weil recommends…taking a product that provides 700 to 1,000 mg of EPA and 200 to 500 mg of DHA daily in the smallest number of pills. If you use liquid fish oil, find one that provides these amounts in the fewest teaspoons…When choosing a supplement, look for one derived from molecularly distilled fish oils – these are naturally high in both EPA and DHA and low in contaminants. Also choose a supplement brand that has been independently tested and guaranteed to be free of heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and other environmental toxins including polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs.” If you are considering taking an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement, consult your physician first to discuss what is best for your health.