Omega 3

Briefly about omega 3

  • The body needs Omega-3 fatty acids but cannot produce them on its own.
  • Omega-3 is important for heart health, vision, and brain function.
  • It is especially important to consume Omega-3 during pregnancy or if following a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Learn more about omega 3

Essential fatty acids are those that cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through food. There are two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Omega-3 is a group of fatty acids derived from the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, while omega-6 is another group derived from linoleic acid. It is important to consume fats from both of these groups, but in the Western world, we typically consume an excessive amount of omega-6 compared to omega-3. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, the omega-6/omega-3 ratio, should be around 1-2:1, but it has increased to 10-20:1 in recent times. An imbalance with a large excess of omega-6 also hampers the absorption of omega-3, further worsening the balance.

Both groups are polyunsaturated fatty acids, which means they have multiple double bonds and are prone to oxidation, rancidity, in the presence of oxygen, light, and heat. In addition to the imbalanced ratio between omega-6 and omega-3, we also primarily consume processed and hydrogenated vegetable fats containing trans fats, which are known to be unhealthy. Since omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated, they are sensitive to any form of processing such as heating, refining, and exposure to light. Therefore, it is disadvantageous for the food industry to have them naturally occurring in food products as they easily become rancid.

What are Omega 3 good for?

Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to improved cardiovascular function, lower blood pressure, and are necessary for building and repairing cells and maintaining proper cell membrane function. Alpha-linolenic acid is converted into omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are abundant in the brain and play a crucial role in brain and eye function. They are also important for sperm production.

Supplementation of omega-3 for improved balance has been shown to enhance glucose tolerance and endothelial function while reducing markers of inflammation.

What can a lack of Omega 3 mean?

Deficiency of Omega-3 with an imbalance in the omega-6/omega-3 ratio can manifest as dry and rough skin, a flaky scalp, and brittle nails. It increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, reduces the elasticity of blood vessels, and raises blood pressure. Deficiency can also promote inflammatory processes and increase the risk of neurological disorders.

How do we get Omega 3?

Omega-3 is primarily found in fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines), certain algae, flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. It is recommended to consume fatty fish 1-3 times per week. However, it’s important to note that fatty fish often contain high levels of fat-soluble environmental pollutants such as PCBs and dioxins, especially if sourced from the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, or lakes Vänern and Vättern. Additionally, commercially farmed fish, like salmon, contain only a fraction of the beneficial fatty acids (around 20%) compared to naturally wild-caught salmon. This is due to their different feed, which lacks the natural diet of krill, algae, insects, and larvae. The same applies to animal farming in general, where naturally grass-fed animals or wild game are preferable as they have a higher content of both omega-3 and omega-6, with a better balance between the two groups. Omega-3 supplements can help ensure a better balance between omega-6 and omega-3. It is particularly important to supplement with omega-3 if you are pregnant, vegan, or vegetarian.

High consumption of sugar, coffee, alcohol, medications, and others can hinder the absorption of beneficial fatty acids.


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