What, Why and How to Use Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you are over the age of 40 you might very well still believe that the “multivitamin” is the most important nutritional supplement you can take daily.
If you are under the age of 40 you most likely know that the general consensus is now different, with omega-3 fatty acids being considered the most vital.
While it appears as though a good percentage of the population now supplements with omegas, we still don’t think enough of us are. Especially not when you consider the benefits.
Let’s take a look, then you can decide for yourself.
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In the simplest of terms, omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats your body needs for proper function.
They are considered essential because the body cannot make them but instead must absorb them through diet and supplementation.
The three most important types of omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
ALA, found in foods like flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and soybeans, is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in the diet and is used mainly for energy.
DHA, the most important omega-3 fatty acid in your body, comes mainly from animal products like fatty fish and fish oil. Meat, eggs, and dairy from grass-fed animals also tend to contain significant amounts of DHA.
DHA is a key structural component of your brain, the retina of your eyes, and numerous other body parts.
EPA is also found in fatty fish and fish oils and has several functions within the body as well. One of which is the ability to convert into DHA.
Since it is almost impossible for the typical diet to contain enough omegas, supplementation has become the go-to in order to fill the void.
Why Should I Use Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In the 1970s scientists first began to uncover the benefits of omega-3s when they realized that Inuit populations in Greenland had lower rates of rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease even their diet had high levels of fat and cholesterol.
After further research, they concluded that it was the fats (omega-3s) being ingested from their common marine foods that were, in fact, responsible.
Unfortunately, few daily diets around the world contain enough omega-3s to meet the minimum requirements.
Since a deficiency in omegas appears to lead to chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, it should be quite clear shortly as to why they should be at the top of your supplement regiment.
Reduce the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome comprises of several conditions – high blood pressure, high triglycerides, resistance to insulin, central obesity, and low “good” HDL cholesterol levels are some of the conditions that fall under metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is especially dangerous because it can increase the chances of other illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
On the plus side, studies have shown that omega-3 can improve heart disease, inflammation, and insulin resistance risk factors in those who suffer from metabolic syndrome.
Improves Eye Health
DHA, the most important of the Omega-3s, is a crucial element of your eye’s retina and a deficiency can lead to problems with eyesight.
There are a number of studies that have linked higher omega-3 intakes with reduced macular degeneration – which is one of the biggest causes of loss of sight and other eye problems.
Inflammation is a natural response to damage and infections. Hence, it is vital to our wellbeing.
However, scenarios where inflammation persists, even after the damage, injury, or infection is gone, are known as chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can also accompany any chronic illness such as cancer and heart disease.
In other words, chronic inflammation is NOT GOOD!
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of substances that are linked to inflammation like cytokines and inflammatory eicosanoids thanks to the combination of DHA and EPA.
Scientists have found consistent connections between a higher intake of omega-3 and reduced inflammation.
Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for those who either have or at risk of having poor heart health.
Similar to the effects on inflammation, this is due to the combination of DHA and EPA.
According to a survey of 154 obese adults, daily dosages of omega-3 for ten weeks showed an increased omega index – the markers that indicate a reduced risk of heart-related health issues.
And then there is the inflammation caused by exercise.
A Reduction in DOMS
Exercise, or working out, in and of itself, causes an inflammatory reaction. This effect is known DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness, and can occur anywhere from 12-48 hours post-exercise.
Common sense dictates inadequate recovery will only restrict your training and gains.
Omega-3s may assist recovery by reducing swelling and soreness, as well as, increasing range of motion. All very positive benefits to those who train.
According to the results of one study, omega-3s are not only beneficial to seasoned athletes but also to those of us in our early stages of working out.
The individuals involved in the study worked on eccentric biceps curls: once after two weeks without omega-3s and the second time after a week of three grams omega-3 supplementation.
When omega supplementation was included as part of the protocol, post-workout soreness was reduced, allowing for increased workloads.
As you can now clearly see, omega-3 fatty acids should absolutely be one of the supplements that make up your “foundational” wellness regiment. The reasons are not only numerous but important.
How Should I Use Omegas-3 Fatty Acids
According to the World Health Organization’s recommendations (WHO), your diet must include at least two servings of oily fish each week.
Obviously, fish choices high in omegas, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna, are needed to meet that recommendation.
Where there is no official recommended daily allowance for EPA and DHA, most health organizations agree that 250–500 mg of combined EPA and DHA is suitable for adults to maintain their overall health.
However, the American Heart Association, among other organizations, recommends that people with coronary heart disease take 1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA daily, while those with high triglycerides take 2,000–4,000 mg daily.
A quick note…one study followed 11,000 people who took an 850-mg dose of combined EPA and DHA every day for 3.5 years. These individuals experienced a 25% reduction in heart attacks and a 45% reduction in sudden death.
Our belief in usage is quite simple, one capsule of omegas with your first and last meals of the day, and you should, at the very least, be covering your minimum requirements.
Obviously, as per the above information, if you suffer from, or are predisposed to, certain ailments, diseases, or issues, your physician may very well recommend slightly higher than normal intake.
3D Labs Nutrition to the Rescue
Since 3D Labs Nutrition believes in what we refer to as “foundation” wellness above all else, it goes without saying, OmegaMode, our omega-3 fatty acid product, is one of the three solutions that make up both our Men’s and Women’s Wellness bundles.
And good news, OmegaMode not only meets your DHA and EPA needs, but it also comes with a soft “lemon flavoring” that eliminates any concern about a fishy aftertaste or repeating that will come with many omega supplement products.
While omegas are certainly not the sexiest of nutritional supplements, we consider them to be over and above essential if you are even remotely concerned about your overall health and wellness.
We highly recommend, if you are not already doing so, that you make them a staple of your daily diet ASAP.
You only have one life to live, one body to live it in…so take care of it. Progress, not perfection.
Good, better, best with your food intake, and some form of “movement” daily.
Get your nutritional foundation from food, supplement where necessary, and drink plenty of water.
We are here to help so feel free to drop us comments or questions as often as you’d like…and always consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise regiment.
Live a 3D Life…Decisions Determine Destinations!