How Much Omega 3 & Fish Oils Should You Be Taking?
You may have heard the buzz about the benefits of Omega-3 and Fish Oil over the years and you might be wondering what’s it all about and do they really make a difference? In this article we break down what these fatty acids are and what you need to know about them! Let’s start with identifying what exactly omega-3 or fish oil is.
What Is Omega 3 & Fish Oils?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that have many powerful health benefits for your body and brain. They are considered essential fats because our bodies cannot make omega-3 so it needs to be sourced externally, which means we need to be mindful to include in our weekly intake.
Omega-3s form important parts of the body’s cell membranes, and they help with the functioning of the heart, lungs, immune system, and hormone system.
How Can I Get Omega 3 & Fish Oils?
Omega-3 or fish oil can be found naturally in some foods and are added to some fortified foods. You should aim to include omega-3 rich foods in a well-rounded diet. So, let’s take a look at what to eat in your diet to make sure you are including omega-3.
|Fish & Other Seafood||Nuts & Seeds||Plant Oils||Fortified Foods|
|Salmon||Flaxseed||Flaxseed Oil||Infant Formulas|
|Mackerel||Chia Seeds||Soybean Oil||Certain Milks|
|Tuna||Walnuts||Canola Oil||Certain Yogurts|
If you don’t naturally eat these food types, then you should consider increasing your intake of them in your diet. Also, you should consider supplementation. These fatty acids cannot be produced by our own bodies however they are essential in order to support our heart, brain, eye and overall health. So, it’s good to be mindful of the sources of these fatty acids.
Why Should I be taking Omega 3 & Fish Oils?
Omega-3 fatty acids is one of the most studied nutrients thanks to their long list of health benefits. Let’s take a look now at some of the many science-backed health benefits omega-3 can offer:
Reduce Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Heart Attacks and Strokes are the world’s leading causes of death and while there is no definitive evidence that Omega-3 will prevent stroke or heart attack, they have been shown to reduce our overall risk of suffering from heart disease.
Some of the benefits Omega-3 or Fish Oils can have on our heart health include:
- Can reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
- Can reduce triglycerides levels by 15-30%
- Prevent blood platelets from clumping together which can form blood clots
- Prevents the build-up of plaque in our arteries
- Raises “Good” HDL cholesterol levels
Helps to Fight Depression and Anxiety
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders, with an estimated 5% or approximately 280 million people in the world living with this disorder. Another common mental disorder is Anxiety which can be characterised by constant worry and nervousness.
Studies have shown that people who consume omega-3 fatty acids regularly are less likely to be depressed and there is some evidence that amongst those who are suffering from depression, symptoms of anxiety or depression can improve.
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acid:
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Of the three types of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) appears to be the most effective in fighting depression. In fact, one study found that EPA was as effective as a commonly prescribed antidepressant.
Improves Eye Health
Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA is also a major structural component of the retina of your eye. As mentioned earlier, our bodies do not create omega-3s, so if we are not including enough in our diets, this can impact our eye health and result in problems with our vision.
Studies have also shown that getting enough omega-3 is linked to reducing the risk of macular degeneration, which is one of the world’s leading causes of permanent eye damage and blindness.
Promotes Brain Health During Pregnancy & Childhood
Omega-3s are crucial for brain growth and developments in infants. In fact, 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in our brain are DHA and they also make up 60% in the retina of the eye. This highlights just how important it is to ensure infants are getting enough DHA as they grow and develop.
There are numerous health benefits for your child associated with getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy such as:
- Higher Intelligence
- Better communication & Social Skills
- Fewer Behavioural problems
- Decreased Risk of Development Delay
- Decreased Risk of ADHD, Autism and Cerebral Palsy
Can Reduce Symptoms of ADHD in Children
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. It is a behavioural disorder characterised by difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
Several studies note that children with ADHD have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids than their healthy peers. What’s more, numerous studies observe that omega-3 supplements can reduce the symptoms of ADHD.
Omega-3s help improve inattention and task completion. They also decrease hyperactivity, impulsiveness, restlessness and aggression. Recently, researchers observed that fish oil supplements were one of the most promising treatments for ADHD.
Can Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is our bodies natural response to infections and damage and It’s necessary for our health. However, some people can suffer from chronic inflammation which is when inflammation persists even when there is no infection or injury. This is often contributing to most known chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.
Research shows a connection between higher omega-3 intake and reduced inflammation. This can be attributed to the omega-3 fatty acids reducing the production of molecules and substances which are linked to inflammation. These include inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines.
Improve Bone and Joint Health
Up to 15% of the Irish population suffers from disorders like osteoporosis and arthritis. These chronic diseases can have a big impact on a person’s overall quality of life. For example, Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterised by swelling and tenderness of the joints which causes pain and immobility.
Studies have shown Omega-3 can offer some promising relief to those suffering from bone or joint diseases. The research shows that omega-3 can boost the amount of calcium in your bones, boosting your bone strength and reducing your risk of osteoporosis. There are also several studies showing patients suffering from arthritis who have been taking omega-3 supplements have reported reduced joint pain and increased grip strength.
These are but a few of the many benefits that have been linked to Omega-3 and it is clear to see why it is one of the top supplements among the health conscious. While we’ve covered a lot so far there are in fact quite a few more science backed benefits worth mentioning, if even briefly!
- Reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome
- Fight autoimmune diseases
- Improve mental disorders
- Fight age-related mental decline & Alzheimer’s disease
- May help prevent cancer
- Reduce risk of asthma in children
- Reduce liver fat
- Alleviate menstrual pain
- Improve sleep
- Good for your skin
How much Omega 3 & Fish oil supplements should I be taking?
So, we’ve looked at all of the benefits omega-3 has to offer and how to include omega-3 rich foods in your food, but you may still find that you are not managing to get the recommended weekly amount. If this is the case, then Omega-3 or Fish Oil supplements can be a great solution to ensure your body is getting these necessary fatty acids to support your overall health.
So, let’s go over what exactly is the recommended dosage of Omega-3 to support healthy heart, brain, joints and so much more. There is no official recommended daily allowance when it comes to Omega-3, however most mainstream health organisations recommend a minimum of 250-500mg per day.
Below is a summary of the general guidelines on the daily intake based on gender and age. This dosage is based on a healthy person and when using omega-3 supplementation to help with specific illnesses the dose may be higher. This should be discussed with your healthcare provider, to ensure you are getting the most benefit.
How Health Matters Can Help
Health Matters offers a wide selection of trusted Omega-3 and Fish oil supplements. When taking Omega-3 supplements it is also important to be mindful of the quality of said supplements. For that reason, we play close attention to the concentration and source of these essential fatty acids, as not all supplements are made equal.
Below are some of our most popular supplements that we routinely recommend to customers wishing to start Omega-3 or Fish Oil supplementation:
Wileys Finest offers a wide range of Omega-3 and Fish oil supplements which are very concentrated and, in most cases, allow you to get your daily intake in your 1 supplement a day. Wileys Finest also offers a Fish Free formula of Omega-3 supplements for those who cannot consume Fish for dietary or health reasons. Meaning that no matter your preferences you can ensure you are meeting your dietary needs and getting the necessary fatty acids your body needs to function efficiently.
Minami is another great brand that offers sustainable and highly concentrated Omega-3 supplements suitable for the whole family.
Solgar is one of our top selling supplements and they are known for their quality. Among many things, they offer supplements for Omega-3s and Fish oils. The most popular among our customers is the Wild Alaskan Full Spectrum Omega, which is sourced from sustainable fishing of wild salmon.
Another popular choice is Viridian, which offers a Scandinavian Rainbow Trout Oil in either liquid or soft gel form. This is an excellent option for those who struggle with taking capsules but still want to get the benefits of Omega-3 supplements.
Eskimo 3 offers a selection of omega and fish oil supplements some of which have been specially formulated to disguise the fishy taste. This can be a great solution for those who find it difficult to digest supplements with a fishy taste (or even the thought of that!) and these are particularly good for children.
Nordic Naturals is another hugely popular choice among our customers and they offer a selection of omega supplements in capsule form or soft gel form.
Omega-3 or Fish Oils are extremely important for our overall health and particularly in relation to the health of our heart, brain, joints, eyes, and many functions of the body. They are essential nutrients which means, our body cannot produce these acids themselves. Yet they are necessary for our bodies to function correctly. Therefore, it is important to be mindful that we are getting enough into our system.
While having an omega rich diet is the first step you should take, you may find that even then you are not meeting your daily needs. In this case it is certainly worthwhile including omega supplements in your routine to ensure your best health!
Why not explore our trusted selection of Omega-3 and Fish Oil supplements from our online store or at our retail outlets?