Omega-3 is also known as an Essential Fatty Acid. We can’t make fatty acids in our bodies, but they’re needed in the membrane of every single cell. The only way for us to ingest Omega-3 is through our diet. If you’re eating two portions of fatty fish a week, and plenty of leafy greens and walnuts you’re doing fine. But for the rest of us, a supplement is probably a good idea.
Why do we need Omega-3 anyway?
Omega-3 is one of the most anti-inflammatory compounds in the world. It promotes heart health; it reduces swelling in our joints which means we’re less stiff and our body functions more smoothly. It can reduce eczema and rheumatoid arthritis, and research is showing that it can actually help with period pain (yes, you read that right) and it can improve our mood. But let me back up a little bit and explain exactly what it does in our bodies to carry out all this miraculous work!
What’s Omega-3 up to in our bodies?
Found in our cell membranes they affect how the cell receptor’s function. They’re the starting point for making the hormones that regulate blood clotting, the movement of the artery walls and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties are what can help with period cramps, studies have shown that Omega-3 has helped reduce the use of Ibuprofen during periods. Sounds good!
During the third trimester of pregnancy until the second year of life a baby needs DHA (see below) to form the brain and other parts of the nervous system.
Omega-3 is also showing that it can support mood disorders like depression. Studies are reporting supplements can promote calm and clear thinking. It’s not a cure, and if you are suffering (we hope you’re OK) please talk to your doctor.
There are three main Omega-3s
DHA and EPA – Docosahexaenoic acid and Eicosapentaenoic acid, come mainly from fish and is a key component of our brains, eyes and lots of other body parts. EPA can convert to DHA.
ALA – Alpha-linolenic acid is the most common omega-3 fatty acid, found in vegetable oils, and leafy vegetables, nuts (especially walnuts) flax seeds and some animal fat. Our bodies mainly use ALA for energy.
There are huge benefits to getting enough Omega-3 in our diets. If you’re not sure your diet is nailing it, or you may be falling short, a good supplement means you won’t have to worry about it. You can rest easy knowing your taking the best possible care of yourself.