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Nourishing From Within: A Guide to Omega-3 Fatty acids

omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential components of healthy and balanced diet, having numerous health benefits. In this article, we will learn the definition, types, sources, mechanisms of action, health effects, controversies and considerations related to Omega 3 fatty acids. We must have proper knowledge about Omega 3 fatty acids to achieve Heart Health and overall health.

Introduction of Omega-3 Fatty acids:

What are omega-3 fatty acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats. characterized by presence of a double bond three carbon atoms away from the Omega end of the carbon chain. The 3 main types of Omega 3s are alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega 3 fatty acids are known as “healthy fats” that may support your heart health, Lower your triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL). Some foods that can help you add omega 3s to your diet, Include fatty fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts.

About Omega-3 fatty acids in simple language:

The two main types of fatty acids are saturated fat and unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats further breakdown into polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. Omega 3 fatty acids are a form polyunsaturated fats that perform important function in our body. Our body can’t able to produce the excact amount of Omega 3 fatty acid for survival. That’s why Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrient. Hence, we need to get them from the foods we eat.

omega-3 fatty acids are very essential compounds for proper functioning of the body at cellular level.
chia seeds

Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Such as,

ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid):

ALA is found in plant based sources like flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts. It is limited conversion to EPA and DH in the body. When ALA is not converted to EPA or DHA, it is simply stored or used as energy like other fats. Some studies have shown that a diet rich in ALA is beneficial to reduce risk of death from the heart disease and prostate cancer.

EPA (Eicosapetaenoic Acid) :

EPA is present in marine sources, particularly fatty fish such as Salman, Mackerel and Sardines. It plays a crucial role in the production of signaling molecules that regulate inflammation. Some studies shows that fish oil, which is high in EPA and DHA, may reduce symptoms of depression and one study suggests that EPA is superior to DHA in this terms. In addition, one study shows that in menopausal women noted that appear reduce the attack of hot flashes. and mood swings.

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid):

DHA is abundant in fatty fish and seafood. It is Critical for the development and function of the brain and eyes, especially in infants. Early life DHA deficiencies associated with problems later on, such as learning disabilities, ADHD and aggressive hostility. A deficiency in DHA in later life is also linked to impact brain function and onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. DHA may have also positive effects on certain conditions, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Now we know that Omega 3s are very essential nutrient, that we need to get from our food. when we get ALA from flax feeds, our body is able to turn some of the ALA into EPA and then DHA. However, this process provides just a small amount of EPA and DHA. So dietary sources of EPA and DHA are essential for our body.

Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Such as,

Fatty Fish:

For example, Salman, Mackerel, Sardines, Herring and trout are rich source of EPA and DHA.

Algal oil:

For example, a plant based source of DHA derived from Algae, suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Flaxseeds and Chia seeds:

For example, Plant based sources of ALA, suitable for individuals with dietary restrictions.


They contain ALA and provide a convenient sources of Omega 3s for those who do not consume fish.

Function of Omega 3s :

Omega-3 fatty acids help all the cells in your body function as they should. They are a vital part of your cell membrane helping to provide structure and supporting interactions between cells. Omega 3 are concentrated in high levels in cells of your eyes and brain. Now, we will learn about for which types of functions omega-3s are necessary. Given below: Such as,

Anti-inflammatory properties:

EPA and DHA has anti-inflammatory molecules, potentially reducing inflammation in the body and protect the body from oxidative damage, caused by free radicals.

Brain Health:

DHA is a major structural component of the brain, supporting cognitive function and neural development. According to one study, Omega 3s may help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and age related macular degeneration (AMD).

Cardiovascular system:

Omega-3s may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by lowering blood triglycerides, improving blood vessel function and regulating blood pressure. Too many triglycerides in our blood raises our risk of atherosclerosis, and through this can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s why it is important to keep triglyceride level under control. In addition, Omega 3 may help you by raising your HDL- High Density Lipoprotein (good cholesterol).

Eye Health:

DHA is crucial for maintaining the structure and function of the retina, supporting optimal vision. The Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA have the most essential health benefits and are the most important in controlling the inflammation related to dry eyes. Some studies suggest that our eyes may benefit from a diet high in DHA. Moreover, DHA is typically abundant in the retina and brain. In the retina, DHA maintains photoreceptors which are the cells that help us process light.

Prevent Cancer:

According to some studies, Omega3s may help lower your risk of developing cancer, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. Some researchers are studying the effects Omega 3 fatty acids, DHA have on delaying or reducing tumor development in breast and prostate cancer.

Health Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Such as,

Cardiovascular Health:

Omega-3s also contribute to heart health by lowering triglycerides, improving cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure. They reduce triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood. They reduce the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat. They slow the buildup of plaque, a substance compromising fat, cholesterol and calcium, which hardens and blocks your arteries. They also help to slightly lower your blood pressure.

Cognitive Functions:

DHA, in particular is essential for brain development and may play a role in preventing cognitive decline. Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acid that has an essential impact on cognitive performance at all stages of life. Recent findings suggest that DHA in Omega 3s intake are associated with reduction in development of mild cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Mood and Mental Health:

Omega-3s have been linked to improved mood and a reduced risk of depression and other mental health disorders. Omega 3s easily travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood related molecules inside the brain. They also have inflammatory actions that may help relieve depression. Omega-3s have been studied in various mood disorders such as postpartum depression, with some promising results in bipolar disorder. The Omega-3s may be most effective for the depressed phase, rather than the manic phase of the illness. The Omega-3s have also been proposed to reduce or prevent other psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder.

Joint health:

Some studies also suggest that Omega-3s may reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain. They help reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. Studies show that people with rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain can improve their symptoms by taking 2700 milligram of Omega 3 fats daily. Omega 3 EPA and DHA and lipid mediators derived from EPA and DHA have important physiological roles, including bone metabolism. Studies have shown that supplementation with EPA and DHA increased bone mineral density, lower risk of hip fractures and have a positive association with bone turnover markers in humans.

Controversies surrounding Omega-3 fatty acids: Such as,

Supplements vs. Dietary Sources:

The debate continues on whether obtaining Omega-3s through supplements provides the same benefits as consuming them through natural diet resources. When it comes to fish oil pills, It is important not to self prescribe. Never take over the counter supplements without talking to your doctor first.

Optimal Ratios of Omega-3 to Omega-6:

Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in the diet is a subject of ongoing research, as an imbalance may contribute to inflammation.

Fish Consumption and Mercury Concerns:

While fish is a rich source of Omega-3s, concern about mercury contamination in contained species raise questions about the risk versus benefits.

Considerations and Recommendations: Such as,

Individual Variability:

The response to Omega-3 supplementation may vary among individuals based on genetics, health, status and lifestyle factors.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

An adequate Omega-3 intake, especially DHA, is crucial during pregnancy and breastfeeding for fetal brain and eye development.

Quality of supplements:

When opting for Omega-3 supplements, considering the quality, purity and source of the product is essential to ensure efficacy and safety.


The bottom line is Omega-3 fatty acids are very essential nutrient for proper functioning of our body at cellular level. So we must add Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods in our daily routine.

In conclusion, Omega 3 fatty acids are integral of various physiological processes, influencing everything from heart health to brain function. Balancing dietary sources and, if necessary, supplementing wisely, can contribute to overall well being.

Ongoing research continues to unveil the intricate ways in which Omega 3 impact our health, offering a promising avenue for preventive and therapeutic interventions. As we navigate the complexities of Omega 3 fatty acids, a holistic approach to nutrition remains key for harnessing their full spectrum of benefits. To get more insights, how Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our heart health. Then read my latest book, The magical ways for sparkling lifestyle.

Dr.Hetal Patel


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