Most health conscious individuals these days might be hearing about omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits. It’s become the talk of healthcare or dietary supplements sector because of its numerous benefits and research findings about their benefits.

You may be thinking as to actually….

What are Omega-3 Fatty acids and How Can Obtain Adequate Amount in your Body?

Omega-3 fatty acids are the essential poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which are crucial for efficient functioning of the body.

As they are not synthesized in human body, it should be consumed from external source may be through diet or supplements.

Omega -3 fatty acids include EPA (eicosapentanoic acid), DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and ALA (alpha linoleic acid).

Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have been extracted from oily fishes like salmon, mackerel, trout and other oily fishes. You might be under suspicion whether to consume them for they may be contaminated by mercury; if that’s the case, I guess you can opt for fish oil supplements.

flax seed

But what if you’re a Strict Vegetarian or a Vegan?

Don’t worry; you too have good options for omega-3 fatty acids.

Flaxseed oil can be used as a substitute to fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids. These days, even because of the fear of mercury contamination in fish, people are actually opting for flaxseed oil.

It’s the richest vegetarian source of omega-3(ALA) fatty acids, though there are some other food sources like

  • Walnuts
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Olive oil
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Whole grains etc.

ALA obtained from flaxseed oil gets converted into EPA and DHA in the process of metabolism in the liver.

One table spoon of flaxseed oil gives you about 700mg of EPA and DHA.

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids from Flaxseed Oil

  • Generally, omega-3 fatty acids help in maintaining overall health and wellness.
  • DHA is good for neural health i.e. it enhances cognitive skills like learning, problem solving, memory etc.
  • EPA is effective for a heart health.
  • Omega-3’s help in cutting down the levels of LDL cholesterol and protects heart from diseases like atherosclerosis, heart attack etc. and also reduces hypertension.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are effective anti-inflammatories. They help in reducing chronic pains like arthritic pains, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pains etc. (this fact has been supported by latest researches.)
  • They also increase fat metabolism and effective in imparting weight loss.
  • It increases immunity and decreases risk of diabetes.
  • It has anti-aging effects like it avoids Age related Macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Omega-3 fatty acids possess anti-cancerous properties and it helps in preventing breast cancer and colon cancer.
  • It helps in adjusting mood swings.

Research Findings

  • Healthy young adults can improve their working memory by increasing their omega-3 fatty acids intake. (University of Pittsburgh, published in PLOS one).
  • Study conducted by Oxford University also revealed that school children consuming more DHA are intelligent.
  • The research team led by Prof John Sheppard from Lee Laboratory for ocular Pharmacology at east Virginia Medical school, USA reported that supplements reduced irritational symptoms of dry eyes
  • The research, conducted by Duke University and published online in annals of neurology revealed that the compounds derived from omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are 1000 times more potent than those found in the body in reducing the inflammation.
  • According to the research conducted by Ohio State University, omega-3 supplements are shown to preserve telomeres (protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighbouring chromosomes) and extend natural lifespan.
  • Lead study author, Dr. Jan Kiecolt-Glaser commented “The telomere finding is provocative in that it suggests the possibility that a nutritional supplement might actually make a difference in aging.”
  •  “University of Maryland Medical Centre: Omega-3 fatty acids,” published an article stating that omega-3’s are effective in Menstrual pains.

Still the researches are in pipeline about various benefits of omega-3 fatty acids…

Hence, without fail do consume enough omega-3 fatty acids frequently either through diet or by fish oil or flax seed oil supplements for a better health.