Omega 3 Benefits Including Better Sleep And Healthier Skin
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that play vital functions in our bodies and have a variety of health advantages. The term “omega 3” comes from the chemical structure of the molecule. To get omega 3 benefits, you have to consume foods containing omega 3’s, because our bodies cannot make them.
- There are three different types of omega 3s you can get from your diet.
- There are no official daily omega 3 doses but you can gauge based on trusted organizations and your own body's needs.
- Omega 3 benefits include heart health, reduced inflammation, better sleep, and even mental advantages.
Types of Omega 3
There are three main omega 3s and they come from different sources of foods.
1. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
The most prevalent omega-3 fatty acid in your diet is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It is mostly used by your body for energy, but it may also be turned into the physiologically important omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. This conversion procedure, however, is inefficient. Only a tiny portion of the ALA gets converted to active forms (EPA and DHA). Flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and soybeans all contain high amounts of ALA.
2. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
This omega-3 fatty acid is found in cold-water fish species such as mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, and salmon. Cod liver, whale fat, and seal blubber also contain high levels of EPA. EPA is given as a prescription drug to lower triglyceride levels. EPA is most often used as a supplement for the prevention of heart disease and heart attacks. EPA is also linked to aiding in relief from depression.
3. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
The most essential omega-3 fatty acid in your body is DHA. It makes up about 8% of brain weight and aids in brain development and function. It's a crucial structural component of your brain, retina, and a variety of other bodily components. Like EPA, it is found predominantly in animal products like fatty fish and fish oil. Meat, eggs, and dairy from grass-fed animals also tend to contain considerable quantities.
There are no official daily omega-3 consumption guidelines, although some organizations provide recommendations. A daily dose of 250–300 mg is recommended by most specialists.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the United States Institute of Medicine recommends a daily consumption of 1.6 grams of ALA omega-3s for adult males and 1.1 grams for adult females aged 19 and above.
Omega 3 Benefits
- Omega 3 benefits heart health - Omega-3 fatty acids aid in the control of cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. In individuals with established coronary heart disease, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to lower the risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrhythmias and all-cause mortality. Hyperlipidemia and hypertension are also treated with omega-3 fatty acids.
- Omega 3 benefits mental health - Omega-3 fatty acids have been examined in the treatment of a variety of mood disorders, including postpartum depression, with encouraging results. Omega-3s may be particularly beneficial for the depressed phase of bipolar disorder (manic depression) rather than the manic phase. Other mental disorders such as schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and attention deficit disorder have also been linked to omega-3s. However, there is insufficient data to suggest omega-3s as treatment in these circumstances.
- Omega 3 reduces inflammation - There have been a number of studies assessing the benefits of dietary supplementation with fish oils/omega 3 in several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases in humans, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis and migraine headaches. Many placebo-controlled studies of fish oil in chronic inflammatory illnesses show that it has considerable benefits, such as reduced disease activity and reduced inflammatory response.
- Omega 3 benefits infant development - Omega-3 fatty acid intake throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period has been linked to a myriad of developmental advantages in infants. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy is linked to better neurodevelopmental results, including a stronger novelty preference on visual recognition memory and higher verbal IQ scores.
- Omega 3 benefits sleep - Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are beneficial to sleep. Sleep difficulties in children and obstructive sleep apnea in adults are linked to low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Low amounts of DHA have also been related to lower levels of melatonin, a hormone that aids sleep. Omega-3 supplementation has been shown to improve the length and quality of sleep in both children and adults.
When we fail to include omega 3s in our diets, we fail to function properly. A dry scaly rash, reduced development in babies and children, increased susceptibility to infection, learning and memory impairments, and poor wound healing are all symptoms of essential fatty acid insufficiency.
In thinking about having an adequate amount of omega 3s, it is also relevant to think about omega 6 intake. Omega 6s are also unsaturated fats which like omega 3s are necessary; but, cannot be made by our bodies. Omega 6s predominantly give us energy, but we should be getting double the amount of omega 3s. In a typical western diet, there is a huge skew towards omega 6s which is not ideal for optimal health.
Omega 3s are a fundamental nutrient that we cannot live without nor produce. In order to maintain a healthy level of these polyunsaturated fats, we must actively include them into our diets. It is recommended to have a meal including fish twice a week minimum. If you are not able to do this then it is highly recommended that you be taking an omega 3 or fish oil supplement.
Writteny by Kiana St. Onge