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Omega 3’s - Do They Provide Mega Benefits?

This post is sponsored by Burnbrae Farms.

Omega 3 fatty acids have been promoted for their health and wellness benefits for people of all ages. Many people have heard about DHA for the developing infant, fish oil supplements for adult heart health, and/or omega 3’s for chronic disease prevention.

But what are omega-3’s and what do they do? Does everyone need omega 3 fatty acids? Let’s explore together!

What are omega 3’s and what do they do?

Omega 3’s are essential fatty acids (‘essential’ just means that our body cannot make them, so we need to get them from diet) that have many functions in our body. There are different kinds of omega-3’s, but most of the research focuses on these three:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): an essential fatty acid - found in walnuts, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, soy, canola, and enriched eggs

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): our body can make EPA from ALA, but in limited amounts - found in fatty fish, seafood, algae, and a small amount in enriched eggs

  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): our body can make DHA from ALA, but in limited amounts - found in fatty fish, seafood, algae, and enriched eggs

As you can see, our body is able to convert ALA into EPA and DHA, but unfortunately this is not an efficient process. Therefore, ensuring you get adequate amounts of all three types of omega-3 fatty acids from diet and/or supplements is important.

Omega-3 fatty acids play important roles throughout our body and are found in particularly high amounts in the retina, brain, and sperm. Omega-3’s are a vital part of cell structure and signaling pathways, as well as a source of energy for the body. They have wide-ranging roles in heart, lung, and immune system function as well as hormonal function.

Benefits of Omega 3’s

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and have been the subject of a lot of scientific research. Researchers have identified benefits for the following areas:

Cardiovascular Disease

Eating patterns that include fatty fish rich in EPA and DHA have long been associated with a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. There is ongoing research into the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular events (such as heart attack or stroke), blood pressure, and atrial fibrillation.

Infant Development