6 Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3s are the healthy fats we find in fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and grass-fed meats. The primary omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA. EPA modulates our body’s inflammatory response, while DHA plays a role in the health of our brain, nervous system, and eyes. Most Americans don’t get enough omega-3 fats in their diet, and they’re consuming excess omega-6 fats. Omega-6s play vital roles in our body, but when in excess, contribute to inflammation. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in our diet is 1:1; however, the ratio in the standard American diet today is up to 20:1! No wonder we see so many with health conditions rooted in inflammation – heart disease, stroke, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, asthma, and many others. Balancing our omega-6 and omega-3 intake to get closer to that 1:1 ratio can substantially improve the health outcomes of those with chronic disease. Optimizing our ratios can also help prevent the development of those conditions in people who are at risk.

The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish oil. Fish oil is an effective therapeutic tool, but it’s also what I consider to be a foundational nutrient. Although I eat plenty of wild-caught fish, flax seeds, and grass-fed meats, I still supplement with fish oil every day, to ensure that I’m getting the amount that I need. I give fish oil (a formula with mostly DHA) to our one month-old daughter every day! Omega-3 fats are so important for our health.

1

Improve Metabolic Health

Fish oil supplementation can help decrease insulin, C-reactive protein, decrease triglycerides, balance cholesterol levels (increase ‘good’ cholesterol and decrease ‘bad’ cholesterol), regulate heart rhythm, and decrease inflammation to reduce atherosclerosis.

2

Manage Inflammatory Response

Inflammation is a broad term that refers to a type of activation of our immune system, which can be at the root of many health concerns. Omega-3 fats modulate our body’s inflammation via inhibiting certain enzymes that lead to the production of inflammatory signaling molecules.

3

Heal Gut

Omega-3 fats maintain the integrity of our intestinal lining, meaning they prevent intestinal hyperpermeability, or leaky gut!

4

Support Pregnancy & Lactation

One of the omega-3 fats – DHA – is extremely beneficial for a baby’s brain, eyes, and nervous system, during pregnancy and after birth. Omega-3 fatty acids also help our bodies to produce breast milk after childbirth.

5

Promote Restful Sleep

Omega-3 fats have been shown to improve sleep quality and quantity in children and adults.1

6

Slow Aging of Eyes

Omega-3 fats have been shown to decrease the incidence of macular degeneration, and have shown to improve dry eyes.2

Would you like more specific guidance in selecting a fish oil supplement, consuming more of these healthy fats, and improving your health? Schedule a free call with me here!

References

  1. Jahangard, L, Sadeghi, A, Ahmadpanah, M, et. al. Influence of adjuvant omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on depression, sleep, and emotion regulation among outpatients with major depressive disorders – Results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Psychiatric Research. (2018);107:48-56.
  2. Georgiou, T, and Prokopiou, E. Role of omega-3 fatty acids for eye health. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (2016);251-261.

Published by Dr. Alexandra Giuffre

Hello! I’m Dr. Alexandra Giuffre, ND, CNS, CDN (Dr. Alex!). I offer virtual Naturopathic Wellness Consultations. I work with individuals who are either ready to begin, or restructure their healing journey. With my training in clinical science, evidence-based medicine, and natural, holistic therapies, I work with individuals to create a personalized healing plan that is complementary to their current medical care.

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