Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Written by Kimberly Clark
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The essential fatty acids (EFAs) known as omega-3 fatty acids or polyunsaturated fats are critical to proper development of the brain and the body. There are three major types of omega-3 fatty acids necessary to the body: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). However, the component of omega-3 that is most often considered deficient in the body is ALA.

Why Do We Need Omega-3 Supplements?

The body cannot manufacture EFAs and thus most obtain what it needs directly from the food we ingest. The best-known sources for the ALA form of omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, canola oil, and flax seed oil. Oily fish, like salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel and tuna, are good sources of the EPA and DHA types of omega-3 fatty acids.

Research has shown that omega 3 fatty acids are instrumental in reducing inflammation. They can prevent the onset of such chronic maladies as heart disease, lupus, and arthritis. A healthy diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids has also been proven to assist in weight loss.

If you're a woman, you should know that omega-3 fatty acids have been attributed to the reduced risk of having a stroke or of developing diabetes. This statistic applies to men, too, but more so to women in particular. Evidence also suggests that omega-3 fatty acids might be helpful in treating irritating conditions like psoriasis, ulcers, migraines, glaucoma, panic attacks, and emphysema.


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