Definition

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid not produced by the body.

Health considerations

Reviews of evidence suggest that Omega-3 intake via fish oil improves cholesterol and triglycerides; may have beneficial effects in inflammatory bowel disease and asthma; is likely beneficial in cystic fibrosis; may aid recovery from mild traumatic brain injury; and is beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis. Evidence suggests that maternal Omega-3 intake leads to neurological and developmental benefits for children. There is some support for low levels of Omega-3 intake being associated with depression.

Keep in mind

The Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood and other animal sources are more available to the body than those found in plants. Fatty fish contain the fatty acids DHA and EPA; plants contain the fatty acid ALA, which the body converts to DHA and EPA. Omega-3 supplements can lose their benefits when the diet is still rich in Omega-6.

May be found in

Sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel, eggs, flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seed, walnuts, kiwifruit, grass fed beef

References

Atherosclerosis
BMJ
Wiley Online Library
Harvard School of Public Health
Advances in Nutrition
Advances in Nutrition 2

Alternative Spellings and Names

Omega 3, Omega 3 fatty acids, Omega-3, n-3

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