The Ultimate Resource Guide to Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The Ultimate Resource Guide to Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential acids that are important for the overall good health of human beings. However, these acids cannot be made by the body. They can only be ingested from food such as some plants, fish and nuts. The most common dietary sources of these fatty acids include salmon, tuna, walnuts, krill and algae. The acids comprise of three types of fatty acids. These are ALA (Alpha-Linolenic acid, EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid).

The fatty acids are crucial in brain functioning (memory and brain performance) and normal growth and development. They also reduce inflammation and lower risks of severe conditions, especially heart-related diseases. Some of the symptoms of deficiency in fatty acids include fatigue, dry skin, poor memory, heart problems, depression/mood swings and poor blood circulation. However, if an individual eats supplements at least twice a week, clinical researches indicate that Omega-3 fatty acids can help in reducing the symptoms of these conditions.

High cholesterol is basically caused by continuous consumption of foods that have high levels of saturated fats but low in “good” cholesterol, also known as HDL. This leads to an increase in the levels of triglycerides (fats in the blood). However, the acids from fatty fish increase the levels of HDL cholesterol while decreasing the triglycerides.

A number of clinical researches indicate that supplements which have high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids can reasonably lower blood pressure in hypertensive people. An analysis of different clinical studies carried out by Mayo Clinic revealed that a daily intake of at least 3 grams of fish oil may lower blood pressure. Clinical trials of Krill oil show that it may also aid in lowering blood pressure.

Due to their ability to lower the cholesterol levels and reduce high blood pressure, the acids generally lower the risk of heart disease. Also, having lower triglycerides levels and higher HDL cholesterol levels lower the chances of an individual getting diabetes. However, not all types of diabetes can be reduced by Omega-3 fatty acids.

As opposed to Omega-6 fatty acids, which cause inflammations, Omega-3 fatty acids can reasonably reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis – joint pains. If used together with anti-inflammatory drugs, the fatty acids can perform more effectively. This is also applicable for systematic lupus erythomatosus (SLE) – a condition which causes joint pains and fatigue.

Several studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids increase the body’s calcium level, thus improving bone strength. Studies show that individuals who eat foods that have high amounts of the fatty acids are less likely to suffer bone loss than those who do not. As a result, the acids are effective in reducing osteoporosis.

Other studies show that when the fatty acids are used in conjunction with anti-depressants, they help to lower the symptoms of depression. However, since depression is a critical illness, it is advisable to seek a doctor’s advice before starting to treat it.

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is common in children, is a sign of deficiency. Temper tantrums and sleep disturbances characteristic to this disorder can be improved by taking a well-balanced diet containing Omega-3 fatty acids. Also, fish oil supplements can help to lower skin sensitivity to light. However, they cannot protect the skin from damages caused by the sun as effectively as sunscreens. The fatty acids are therefore a viable solution to skin disorders.

There have been mixed results showing how effective Omega-3 fatty acids are in reducing the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Some clinical researches indicate that these fatty acids, if incorporated with sulfaselazine can effectively lower the symptoms. However, other studies show that the fatty acids can also cause side effects similar to IBD symptoms such as flatulence, bloating, belching and diarrhea.

Macular Degeneration – a critical eye condition that comes are one ages, and which can lead to blindness, can also be reduced by taking foods that are rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty. Also, fish oil supplements help.

Finally, Omega-3 fatty acids can lower the risk of colon, breast and prostate cancer in both males and females. Though not all experts may agree with these facts, some studies have shown positive results so far.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the human health though precautions should be taken. Too much of the fatty acids can cause brain hemorrhage to some people. More research needs to be carried out to determine the exact effects of these acids as far as chronic diseases are concerned.

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