When considering to incorporate omega 3 into your daily dietary lifestyle, you must first understand it’s role in the human body. Omega 3 is considered an “essential fatty acid” which means that body doesn’t naturally make it; therefore, we need to obtain this through our diet. The multiple research studies completed on EFA support a plethora of health benefits which are focused on Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)/Eicosapenaenoic acid (EPA). DHA/EPA (found in fish and other sea life like krill or algae) are responsible for the anti-inflammatory biochemical pathway into the body. In comparison, the vegetarian sources, like flax or nuts, will provide alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and require the body to break ALA down into DHA/EPA.
Here’s the catch…there are some people who cannot convert ALA into DHA/EPA.
Why you might ask? The following are factors that prevent the body from converting ALA into DHA/EPA: having Magnesium, Zinc or Vitamin B6 deficiency, aging (getting older), consuming trans-fatty acid, drinking alcohol, and having high cholesterol.
• Infants: brain development and retinal formation
• Decrease Inflammation throughout the body
• Maintain cell membrane fluidity
• Lowers triglycerides and vLDL (known as “bad cholesterol”)
• Prevent excess blood clot
• Prevent cancer cell growth
Health Conditions that require additional omega-3 foods or supplementation. These are just a few health problems. This list goes on.
• Arthritis, joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis
• Skin problems: dryness, itchiness, eczema, psoriasis
• Poor memory, difficulty concentrating, “brain fog”
• Mood disorder, bi-polar, depression (include post-partum depression), anxiety
• Brittle nails and hair
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Thyroid dysfunction
• Fetal and child brain development
• Asthma, Allergies
• ADHD, Autism
• Menstrual pain
• IBD: Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis
• Cancer: breast, colon, prostate
• Flax seed, soy bean, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
• Nuts: walnut, pecan
• Eggs (organic egg will have higher omega 3—the yolk of an egg that is high in omega 3 will be dark yellow-orange color)
• Oils: fish oil, krill oil, flaxseed oil, canola, hempseed oil
• Fish (cold water fish) like wild salmon
• Some fishes contain higher content of heavy metal and should be AVOIDED
• Website ranking fish based on mercury level:
Consult with Doctor
• Consult with your doctor about recommended dosage and prior to supplementing with high dose omega 3 (DHA/EPA)
• Discuss about omega 3 products that are free of heavy metal or harmful contaminants and recommendation for reputable companies that make high quality products.
• If you are scheduled to have surgery due to possible bleeding complications
• Taking the any medications, here are some that have possible interactions with DHA/EFA: blood thinner (Coumadin, Plavix), diabetes medications, cyclosporine, cholesterol lowering medications, NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen)