Omega-3 fatty acids bring tons of benefits to your body and health. These fatty acids play an important role in your health, especially the brain and the heart. However, omega-3 fatty acids are not naturally produced in our bodies. Therefore, getting them from outside sources is necessary.
You can mostly get omega-3 from fatty fish such as tuna and salmon. You can also get it from plant-based sources such as nuts and seeds (e.g. flaxseeds and walnuts). However, plant-based sources are less rich in omega-3 compared to animal-based sources.
However, if you don’t eat fatty fish or don’t eat a lot of it, you may consider getting enough omega-3 through supplementation.
In this article, we are going to talk about the different types of omega-3, the benefits of omega-3 (it is rich with health benefits!), its potential side effects, and what we think are the best omega-3 supplements.
So, let’s get started!
Different Types Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are a variety of types of omega-3 fatty acids, but these are the 3 main types of omega-3:
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
DHA plays a vital role in key parts of our health, especially the brain and heart.
DHA is very important for brain development in children, but adults will benefit from it, too. For adults, DHA plays a role in promoting brain function.
DHA is also beneficial for our hearts. Studies had shown that it can reduce our triglycerides levels and possibly even our LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.
Lastly, DHA is a vital structural component for our eyes’ retinas and our skin, so getting DHA will be beneficial for our eyes and skin, too.
In short, DHA is a very beneficial and very important type of omega-3 fatty acid.
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
EPA is mainly used by our body to produce molecules called “eicosanoids”. These molecules are important for many physiological roles in our body. Aside from that, eicosanoids also play a role in reducing inflammation.
DHA and EPA both work together to bring about the benefits they can bring to our bodies and health.
ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)
Among the three, ALA is the most commonly found omega-3 fatty acid. It can be mostly found in its plant-based food sources.
Despite its abundance, ALA is used inefficiently by our bodies. For one, it needs to be converted to either DHA or EPA to bring about its benefits, but once converted, our body will only get a little amount of EPA. For DHA? Even less!
If ALA is not converted, it will either be stored as fat or be used as energy like other fats in our body.
Although ALA can bring some health benefits, it is not as potent compared to DHA and EPA. Hence, many omega-3 commercials mostly talk about DHA and EPA and very few about ALA.
Benefits Of Omega Supplements
Omega’s offers plenty of health benefits to us! Here are some of the health benefits omega’s offers:
1) Good For The Heart
When we think of omega’s, we mostly think about heart health – and there’s an interesting story behind that.
Decades ago, when researchers are studying the diet and health of fish-eating communities, they found out that these people have very low rates of heart disease and other related diseases! Soon, this was linked to omega-3 consumption, which fatty fish are very rich.
As more research is made about the link between omega-3 and heart health, here’s what they found out:
- Omega-3 can reduce blood people for people with high blood pressure.
- Omega-3 can reduce triglycerides levels
- Omega-3 can increase our HDL or “good” cholesterol levels
- Omega-3 can prevent blood clotting by preventing platelets from sticking to one another.
2) Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal physiological response whenever we are attacked by foreign particles or substances such as viruses. As long as the inflammation comes and goes – within the normal duration of sickness, wound or pain – then inflammation is considered normal and even healthy.
However, when inflammation lasts longer than it should be, then it can cause and contribute to major diseases we know such as heart disease and diabetes.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation by helping your body produce the molecule eicosanoids. These molecules can help reduce inflammation and it plays key roles in different physiological systems. Also, some studies had linked higher omega-3 consumption to reduced inflammation.
3) Reduce Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a term for different health conditions. Some of these conditions include high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and belly fat (central obesity).
As you can see, these conditions don’t sound well – because they don’t! If left untreated, these conditions can cause major diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to help reduce inflammation, insulin resistance, and risk of heart disease for people with metabolic syndrome.
4) Can Help With Depression And Anxiety
Some studies show that omega-3 fatty acids can help people with depression and anxiety.
For instance, studies found out that people who consume omega-3 regularly tend to be less depressed. In another study, it is found that taking omega-3 supplements helped people with depression or anxiety improve their symptoms.
Perhaps, EPA is to explain these. Among the 3 main types of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA appears to be the best when it comes to fighting depression. One study even shows that EPA is as effective as a common antidepressant drug.
5) Improve Mental Disorders
Aside from depression and anxiety, omega-3 fatty acid appears to be beneficial when against mental disorders in general.
For instance, studies suggest that omega-3 supplements can help reduce the frequency of mood swings for people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Also, omega-3 supplements may help decrease violent behavior as well.
6) Improve Eye Health
DHA is a major structural component of your eye’s retina. Therefore, it is important to get enough DHA to improve and promote your vision and overall eye health.
For early development, a good intake of DHA can help in the development of the child’s vision.
If you don’t get enough DHA, it may lead to problems with vision. So, getting DHA is necessary to promote and maintain your eye health.
Are Omega Supplements Safe?
Most of the side effects linked to omega-3 are usually mild. Some of these side effects include:
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste
- Bad-smelling sweat
- GI problems (i.e. nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, etc.)
Medication-wise: If you are taking medicines that are related to blood clotting, omega-3 supplements may interact with such drugs.
Allergy-wise: It is unclear if taking omega-3 supplements or fish oil supplements can affect people with seafood allergies.
Regardless, always take your supplements based on proper dosages. If you are pregnant or are undergoing a certain medical condition, consult your doctor first to ensure that your supplement will not affect your medication or pregnancy.
Best Omega Supplements
Before we begin, it should be noted that there is a major difference between fish oil supplements and omega-3 supplements, so don’t confuse the two. The major difference between the two is simply that, omega-3 supplements have higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids (mostly, DHA and EPA) compared to typical fish oil supplements.
However, some products that are labeled “fish oil supplements” have a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Concentration-wise, they may work well as well.
Below are some of the best omega-3 supplements you can add to your routine.
Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Supplement
Made from 100% wild-caught sardines and anchovies, Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Supplement is a great option for anyone who is comfortable swallowing pills.GET THE BEST PRICE ON NORDIC NATURALS OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENT
One of the more expensive products, OmegaVia Ultra Concentrated Omega-3 Fish Oil is a great option for anyone looking to increase their omega-3 levels. Made with 1105 mg Omega-3 in just one pill, it’s a great option.GET THE BEST PRICE ON OMEGAVIA
Antarctic Krill Oil
This Antarctic Krill Oil supplement from Sports Research is a popular choice. In fact, we liked it so much it can also be found in our best krill oil supplements guide! This supplement is made with Superba 2, which is a high-quality form of sustainable Krill Oil sourced from the Southern Ocean in the Antarctic. Krill oil is often a great choice because it comes attached to phospholipids, allowing for better assimilation into cell membranes.GET THE BEST PRICE ON SPORTS RESEARCH ANTARCTIC KRILL OIL
FreshField Vegan Omega-3
Made with omega-3’s alongside DHA and DPA, Vegan Omega-3 is awesome for vegans and non-vegans alike. The supplement promises to help your body store up to 3x more omega-3 than usual.GET THE BEST PRICE ON FRESHFIELD VEGAN OMEGA-3
Omega Supplements And Your Health
If you are thinking about adding omega supplements to your diet, now is a great time to try it out. omega supplements are easy and safe supplements to test that carry a variety of benefits with it. If you start taking omega supplements and experience any negative symptoms, contact a medical professional for help.