Omega-3 is Essential for Maintaining Health, Here’s How to Incorporate It

Over the past 10 years, omega-3 oil supplements have taken the market by storm. What are the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids? How does it… Rina - March 6, 2020

Over the past 10 years, omega-3 oil supplements have taken the market by storm. What are the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids? How does it benefit healthy people and also those with heart disease? Some 10% of American adults regularly take an omega-3 supplement, despite uncertainty about whether these products truly live up to their health claims. Two new studies recently published have shed some light on who might benefit from omega-3 supplements. Their findings: Omega-3 Boosts brain function, reduces inflammation, and promotes heart health. It is likely due to these effects that omega-3 helps to prevent heart disease and stroke.

It may also help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids are from the key family of polyunsaturated fats. Like so many nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids don’t just target one part of your body, but rather work their magic from head to toe. Foods that are rich in these fats, like salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts, also play an important role in maintaining healthy skin. In fact, some of the same properties in omega-3s that help lower your risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other conditions ensure skin looks and functions its best.

Salamon with vegetables. Unsplash.


1. What are the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids

A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. It protects you against many chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugars and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats, are essential for a healthy diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are not made by the body. There are three types of omega-3s that are essential for human nutrition: ALA, EPA, and DHA. Plant-based sources contain ALA, while animal sources contain more DHA and EPA.

While there are supplements available to help boost your intake of Omega-3s, you can also enjoy their benefits from the foods that you eat. Our bodies can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids by themselves, which means we must rely on our diet to ensure we get enough. Omega-3 fatty acids come from marine, animal, and plant sources. While plant-sourced omega-3 fatty acids are similar to those sourced from marine animals, they are slightly different, so it is important that both types are included as part of your overall healthy diet.

The doctor examines blood pressure. Canva.

2. Essential nutrient

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are important in preventing and managing heart disease. Research findings have shown that omega-3 fatty acids may help to:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce triglycerides
  • Slow the development of plaque in the arteries
  • Reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm
  • Reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke
  • Lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that everyone eats fish (particularly fatty, coldwater fish) at least twice a week. Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, lake trout, and tuna are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids. While foods are your best source for getting omega-3s in your diet, fish oil supplements are also available. If you have heart disease or high triglyceride levels, you may need even more omega-3 fatty acids. Ask your doctor if you should take higher doses of these fatty acid supplements to get the omega-3s you need.

Fish oil bottle. Pixabay.

3. How much Omega-3 is safe?

Adults should consume 250 to 500 milligrams of omega-3s per day. The AHA (American Heart Association) and the FDA both say that taking up to 3 grams of fish oil daily in supplement form is considered safe. For children, from birth to 12 months take up to 500 mg per day of combined DHA and EPA. Children from 1 to 3 may take up to 700 mg per day. From ages 4 to 8 may take up to 900 mg per day. For kids 9 to 13 may take up to 1200 mg per day. When it comes to children with ADHD Doctors typically recommend 2.5 grams of an omega-3 supplement for children each day and up to 5 grams a day for adults.

For seniors, overall, most Doctors recommend a minimum of 250-500 mg combined EPA and DHA each day for healthy adults. However, higher amounts are often recommended for certain health conditions. Recent studies focused on older adults and omega-3 fatty acids show that the body needs Omega-3 to be healthy and can only get it from an external source, such as food or supplements. Though the three new studies all focus on older adults, omega-3 fatty acids are important for people of all ages.

Fish in a bottle. Shutterstock.

4. Are there side effects with Omega-3 fish oil?

Side effects of omega-3 supplements may include:

  • A fishy taste in your mouth
  • Fishy breath
  • Stomach upset
  • Loose stools
  • Nausea
  • Taking more than 3 grams of fish oil daily may increase the risk of bleeding.

If you want to take higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements, talk to your doctor first. They can monitor all aspects of your health if you take higher doses of fish oil. For people with very high triglyceride levels, prescription omega-3 preparations are also available. However, in some cases, taking too much fish oil may actually interfere with sleep and contribute to insomnia. One case study found that taking a high dose of fish oil worsened symptoms of insomnia and anxiety for a patient with a history of depression.

A man covers his face, stress. Unsplash.

5. Depression and Anxiety

Long recognized for their heart-health benefits, omega-3 fatty acids are emerging as an effective therapy for mood disorders ranging from major depression and postpartum depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Depression affects 350 million people around the globe. Your brain needs the type of fatty acids that are in omega-3s for proper functioning.

A widely-held belief is that those who experience depression may not have enough EPA and DHA. Those with minor depression, postpartum depression, and suicidal ideation had lower levels of EPA and DHA. A new study, published in JAMA Network Open, has discovered a positive link between omega-3 and anxiety. It found that omega-3 supplements could help reduce the symptoms of anxiety in people with a clinical diagnosis.

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6. Improves Eye Health

Omega-3 Fatty Acids support vision development and eye health recovery. They help to improve dry eye syndrome and lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In vision development, DHA accounts for more than one-third of the fatty acids in the retina of the eye, decreasing the risk of high eye pressure and glaucoma, and also reduce the risk of dry eyes.

A 2009 National Eye Institute (NEI) study that used data obtained from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found participants who reported the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet were 30 percent less likely than their peers to develop macular degeneration during a 12-year period. Adequate amounts of DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of pregnant women also appear to be important in normal infant vision development. Omega-3’s are found in maternal breast milk and are added to some supplemented infant formulas. These supplemental formulas appear to stimulate visual development in infants.

The human brain. Pixabay.

7. Promotes Brain Health

Omega-3 performs a number of jobs, especially building cell membranes throughout the body and the brain. There’s evidence they can have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects as well, which means they might promote healthier brain cells and less deterioration of the brain. There are also claims that omega-3 can improve brain function in people with memory problems, such as those with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairments. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that regulate your brain’s structure and ability to perform. And EPA and DHA, in particular, are known to play a specific role in the structure and function of the brain, especially during the aging process.

DHA, which reduces oxidative stress and enhances synaptic plasticity and learning and memory, is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in cell membranes in the brain. Omega-3 is associated with increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain commonly linked to mood and behavior according to a University of Pittsburgh study. Animal research has shown that raising omega-3 intake leads to structural brain changes. When it comes to brain injuries, research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids were found to be essential in reducing the effects of the injury and lead to a better recovery.

Smiling baby with blue eyes. Pixabay.

8. During Pregnancy and Early Life

Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in brain function and brain development. The diets of pregnant women have a positive effect on the visual and cognitive development of the baby. Studies have also shown that higher consumption of omega-3s may reduce the risk of allergies in infants. Omega-3 fatty acids have positive effects on the pregnancy itself.

Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) are important constituents of the maturing brain and therefore considered crucial for brain development in utero and in early infancy. The infant and toddler years are a critical period of growth and development. For example, observational and intervention studies show that adequate omega-3 levels help support babies’ cognitive, social, and physical development by promoting visual acuity and retinal development.

Heart health. Pixabay.

9. Improved Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease and strokes. They may benefit heart health by reducing inflammation which will intern decrease your risk of strokes and heart failure risk. This suggests that consuming omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of death from heart disease for both men and women.

Omega-3 fatty acid consumption has also been shown to reduce resting blood pressure modestly and to decrease body fat levels, both of which can improve heart health. For people with coronary artery disease, omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of further heart problems. Blood flow can also be reduced by the accumulation of plaque in your arteries. Fish oils have been shown to decrease the growth of these plaques by preventing the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. For more tips on heart health have a look at this,

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10. Reduces Symptoms of ADHD in Children

There is some evidence that omega-3 can help improve ADHD symptoms. Some findings suggest that fish oil supplements may improve the mental skills of children between the ages of 8 to 12 years old. For instance, it may help improve a child’s ability to organize activities, improve attention span, lessen hyperactivity, improve compliance, lessen hostility, and even improve spelling, too.

These were among the symptom-relieving benefits experienced by children with ADHD who took an omega-3 supplement every day for four months, according to Australian researchers. All of these led to better memory and better learning.

the body’s natural cycle and metabolism so you put on the pounds more easily. Shutterstock.

11. Reduce Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

A diet rich in omega-3 fish oil or healthy monounsaturated fats found in oils such as olive and canola may be beneficial for people with metabolic syndrome. Features of metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat. In the study, 117 people with metabolic syndrome were placed on one of four special diets for 12 weeks:

  1. A saturated fat diet
  2. A diet high in monounsaturated fat
  3. Low in fat and high in complex carbs such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  4. A low-fat diet high in complex carbs that were supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids

The omega-3 group showed a significant decrease in waist circumference (1.3%) followed by metabolic syndrome reduction (29%) mainly due to normalization of blood pressure (33.3%) and triacylglycerol (27.3%). Omega-3 supplementation provided additional benefits to LSMP in the resolution of metabolic syndrome.

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12. Can Fight Inflammation and Autoimmune Diseases

You’ve probably heard of omega-3 fatty acids, especially if you have an inflammatory type of arthritis. Notably, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation. Studies have consistently observed a connection between higher omega-3 intake and reduced inflammation. Since omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and, therefore, might be useful in the management of arthritis and autoimmune diseases.

From type 1 diabetes to ulcerative colitis, to diseases of the skin and joints, to other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis. Normally the body’s immune system works to defend the body against infection and invading microbes. In autoimmune disorders, this goes awry and the immune system attacks the body’s own cell. On the contrary, excess consumption of omega-6s can trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals. These fatty acids are found in oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable. In mayonnaise and many salad dressings.

omega -3
stomach pain. Shutterstock.

13. Fights IBD

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that may affect any segment of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. While Crohn’s is an immune-related disease, it does not appear to be an autoimmune disease. In which the immune system attacks the body itself, but rather it seems to be a result of the immune system attacking a harmless virus, bacteria, or food in the gut.

Taken in supplement or food form, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reverse the progression of a number of inflammatory diseases, like inflammatory bowel disease. Fish oil supplements, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, may reduce inflammation, decrease the need for anti-inflammatory drugs, and promote normal weight gain in people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s.

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14. Can Improve Mental Disorders

Omega-3 fatty acids may prevent the development of full-blown schizophrenia in people who are at high risk of the disease, new research suggests. What’s more, omega-3s seemed to prevent the study participants from developing psychosis for several years after people stopped taking them, according to the study. People with schizophrenia often have high levels of inflammatory chemicals in their body, but low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood.

Doctors have wondered whether brain inflammation partly causes schizophrenia, and so they decided to test whether giving omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil, could help prevent inflammation and thereby stop schizophrenia from developing in the first place. Additional evidence suggests that omega-3 may improve other mental health conditions like borderline personality disorder, anxiety disorders, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.

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15. Fights Age-Related Mental Decline

Aging is accompanied by what is normally considered to be an inevitable cognitive decline, although the extent to which this occurs is highly variable, and strongly affected by various disease processes. Cognitive function is a major determinant of quality of life in older age and a decline in cognitive functioning is a primary contributing factor to increasing dependency in the elderly.

There have been reports that it may reduce the risk of developing dementia, especially when it is eaten as part of a healthy diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are one diet-related factor suggested to influence cognitive decline during aging. Older adults with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were more likely to be living without chronic diseases or mental or physical deterioration. Higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the fats found in fish, are linked to a healthier old age, according to a new study.


Broccoli and carrots. Pixabay.

16. May Help Prevent Cancer

Researchers are studying the effects omega-3 fatty acids have on delaying or reducing tumor development in breast and prostate cancer. Emerging research has explored the link between omega-3s and cancer. Observational studies have linked diets rich in marine omega-3 fatty acids with a lower risk of breast cancer. Some molecular studies have suggested that omega-3s may stop cancer by activating the body’s natural pain-killers. Fatty acids, such as the ones found in fish oil, could prevent breast cancer cells from growing and spreading.

Several studies have found that eating certain foods are linked to a decreased risk of cancer. These foods are:

  • Broccoli.
  • Carrots.
  • Beans.
  • Berries.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Nuts.
  • Olive Oil.
  • Turmeric
Chilly winds and dust contribute to asthma. Pixabay

17. Can Reduce Asthma in Children

If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. Children have smaller airways than adults, which makes asthma especially serious for them. Children with asthma may experience wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing, especially early in the morning or at night.

Fatty acids have been tied to fewer childhood asthma symptoms. A six-month study of children from Baltimore City by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers has added to evidence that having more omega-3 fatty acids in the diet results in fewer asthma symptoms triggered by indoor air pollution.

The Liver. Pixabay.

18. Can Reduce Fat in Your Liver

Fatty liver occurs when too much fat builds up in liver cells. Although it is normal to have a tiny amount of fat in these cells, the liver is considered fatty if more than 5% of it is fat. Fatty liver occurs when too much fat builds up in liver cells. Fatty liver develops when your body produces too much fat or doesn’t metabolize fat efficiently enough.

The excess fat is stored in liver cells, where it accumulates and causes fatty liver disease. Over time, it may lead to a more serious liver condition known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce liver fat and inflammation in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Bones and joints. Pixabay.

19. May Improve Bone and Joint Health

Joint pain can be discomfort, pain or inflammation arising from any part of a joint including cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons or muscles. Most commonly, however, joint pain refers to arthritis or arthralgia, which is inflammation or pain from within the joint itself. Patients taking omega-3 supplements have reported reduced joint pain and increased grip strength. Omega-3s may improve bone strength and joint health, potentially reducing your risk of osteoporosis and arthritis.

One-to-three grams of fish oil each day can help reduce the intensity of joint symptoms like morning stiffness, tenderness, swelling, and discomfort. The omega-3 fatty acids present in this amount can also increase blood flow throughout the body during exercise, which can help reduce joint pain and swelling. Studies indicate that omega-3s can improve bone strength by boosting the amount of calcium in your bones, which should lead to a reduced risk of osteoporosis. Patients taking omega-3 supplements have reported reduced joint pain and increased grip strength.

Woman sleeping. Pixabay.

20. Alleviates Menstrual Pain

Menstruation occurs when the uterus sheds its lining once a month. Some pain, cramping, and discomfort during menstrual periods are normal. A lot of menstrual pain is attributes to inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil to help lower inflammation. A few studies have found that women who took fish oil had less menstrual pain.

However, research suggests that women who experience PMS may have particularly high levels of omega-6 in their blood. However, the results of several trials show that omega-3 supplements can provide significant relief from painful cramps.

sleep issues. Pixabay.

21. Fatty Acids May Improve Sleep

Sleep quality, unlike sleep quantity, refers to how well you sleep. Quality is better than quantity when it comes to sleep. You’re better off getting six hours of high-quality sleep than a longer period of low-quality sleep. Most people require seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. Omega 3s may improve sleep quality and sleep quantity in adults.

Research suggests omega 3 fatty acids from regularly consuming fish may boost your sleep quality, help you fall asleep more quickly and improve your daytime performance. Fatty acids stimulate melatonin which is a key hormone that facilitates sleep. Signs of an omega-3 deficiency can be seen in sleep quality and difficulty falling asleep. With the benefits of omega-3s on the brain, heart, and other organs, it’s not surprising that it would have a positive impact on sleep.

Facial, skin health. Pixabay.

22. Are Good For Your Skin

Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatories. Research suggests that the fats protect skin cells against sun-induced inflammation and help control how the body responds to UV rays, thereby mitigating damage. Several studies have shown that unprotected skin doesn’t burn as quickly in people who take fish oil supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids may also fortify cell membranes, allowing them to protect other parts of the cell against harmful free radicals.

When pollution, stress and an unhealthy diet trigger inflammation, your skin’s collagen suffers, making it harder for the skin to bounce back when you make facial expressions. This, in turn, can lead to wrinkles around the eyes and mouth and on the forehead. Eating more foods packed with omega-3 fatty acids, like arctic char, chia seeds, spinach, and kidney beans, and other inflammation-fighting foods help support your skin’s structure, reducing the appearance of fine lines.

fish oil. Unsplash.

23. How long does it take for Omega 3 to work?

How long does it take for omega-3’s to work? Levels of omega-3’s build up quickly in the body once you take supplements. But it may take 6 weeks to 6 months to see a significant change in mood, pain, or other symptoms.
Generally, you can take a fish oil supplement at any time during the day.
However, it is recommended to take a fish oil supplement with a meal, because taking any supplement on an empty stomach can cause some people to feel nauseous. If you don’t eat breakfast, or typically eat low-fat foods in the morning, then aim to take your daily omega-3 dose later in the day with a fuller meal.
healthy eating and diet concept – food on a table. Shutterstock.

24. What foods have Omega 3 naturally?

Omega 3 can naturally be found in the following foods:

  • Soybeans (Roasted)
  • Walnuts
  • Salmon Fish
  • Canola Oil
  • Sardines
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Chia Seeds
  • Mackerel Fish
  • Flaxseeds
  • Avocado
  • Seabass
  • Trout
  • Seaweed and algae
  • Kelp
  • Hemp seeds
  • Edamame
  • Kidney beans
Omega-3 fatty acids. Pixabay.

25. In Summary

Omega-3 fats are a crucial part of human cell membranes. They also have a number of other important functions, like improving heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids can increase “good” HDL cholesterol. They can also reduce triglycerides, blood pressure and the formation of arterial plaques. They also have proven their effectiveness in the prevention and treatment of various illnesses. Such as helping to fight depression and anxiety. It helps to improve eye health. Promotes brain health during pregnancy and early life.

Drastically improves risk factors for heart disease. It helps to reduce symptoms of ADHD in children. It can even reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Omega 3’s can fight against inflammation and autoimmune diseases. It is noted to improve mental health disorders. It can fight age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Fatty acids may help to prevent cancer. Omega-3s can reduce Asthma in children. It helps to reduce fat in the Liver. Notably known to improve bone and joint health. It can alleviate menstrual pain and PMS. Omega-3 fats are good for your skin and they help to improve your sleep. Overall they are a highly effective way to improve your health.

Where did we find this stuff, These are our sources:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. “Omega-3 Boosts Grey Matter, May Explain Improved Moods.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2007.