Decades of study and countless books have gone into exploring Omega-3 fatty acids and the role these substances play in our health. Here are seven important facts about Omega-3 essential fatty acids for brain health and physical wellbeing.
- Omega-3 is called “essential” because it’s necessary for our health, but we cannot make it on our own.
- One essential Omega-3 fatty acid is a substance called α-linolenic acid (ALA). Our body uses ALA to make two other essential fatty acids: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). However, we don’t make enough to meet daily needs for optimal health.
- Omega-3 is critical for preventing symptoms of chronic illness, such as inflammation, fatigue, joint and muscle pain and poor elimination of toxins.
- The brain thrives on Omega-3. Without enough, we can experience learning problems, memory issues, brain fog and other neurological symptoms. Proper levels help protect us from Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Food is a great source of Omega-3. Consider salmon, tuna, halibut, krill, flaxseed, walnuts and chia seeds.
- It’s difficult to get sufficient amounts from food alone. Most Americans consume a daily average of 130 mg EPA + DHA — way below the recommended 1000-2000 mg. Consider adding a supplement to your diet.
- Acquiring Omega-3 must be done in a focused fashion, with attention paid to the balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 (a group of fatty acids linked to increased inflammation). An imbalance can adversely impact well being and brain health.
Consult your holistic physician to assess your intake and explore ways to protect your health and cognitive function with Omega-3.
Assisi A., Banzi R., Buonocore C., et al. “Fish oil and mental health: the role of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in cognitive development and neurological disorders.” Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2006 Nov;21(6):319-36.
Ricardo U., Dangour, A.D. “Nutrition in Brain Development and Aging: Role of Essential Fatty Acids” Nutrition Reviews (May 2006)64 (suppl 2) S24-S33; DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2006.tb00242.x
Bourre, J.M. “Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 2: macronutrients”. J Nutr Health Aging. 2006 Sep;10(5):386-99.
NutritionData.com. Foods Highest in Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Freund-Levi Y, Eriksdotter-Jonhagen M, Cederholm T, et al. “Omega-3 fatty acid treatment in 174 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease: OmegAD study: a randomized double-blind trial.” Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1402-8.