Omega 3 Benefits and Side effects
What is Omega 3?
Omega 3 is considered as essential fatty acids, which are necessary for human health. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish, such as halibut, salmon, tuna and other seafood that includes algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. The human body does not have these essential fatty acids and have to obtain them through food. These essential fatty acids are also known as Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which aids to play a vital role in proper brain functioning, reducing the risk of heart diseases and works for the normal growth and development of human body.
Types of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
There are 2 types of essential fatty acids – Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), which are primarily found in certain types of fish and offers protective effects on your heart. Flaxseed, chia, nuts, seeds, hemp, and a few other foods, on the other hand, offer Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which helps to deliver some of the big health benefits.
Also, ALA is converted into EPA and DHA in the human body at a very low ratio. In other words, even after consuming large amounts of ALA, the human body can only convert a relatively small amount into EPA and DHA, only when there are sufficient enzymes.
Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids come with a variety of health benefits related to their anti-inflammatory properties including a lower risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in cholesterol. The health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids are immense and help in the effective treatment and prevention of several medical conditions. Due to such potential health benefits, fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, has become a popular supplement. Here are some of the most common omega 3 benefits, which provide help to some serious medical conditions.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world. Its symptoms include sadness, general loss of interest in life, anxiety and lethargy, which is triggered by constant worry and nervousness. Several studies show that people who consumed omega 3 fatty acids regularly are less likely to be depressed. Also, according to the studies, people suffering from depression consuming omega 3 fatty acids in addition to their antidepressants noticed a greater improvement in symptoms than those consuming only antidepressants.
- High cholesterol
Omega 3 helps to normalize and regulate your cholesterol triglyceride levels. People who follow a specific diet tend to have higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which promote heart health. Several studies show that fish oil supplements reduce triglyceride levels (fats in the blood). Walnuts are also rich in ALA that can convert to omega 3 in the body and lower the total cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high cholesterol levels.
- High blood pressure
Several studies suggest that omega 3 fatty acids benefit to lower blood pressure in people having hypertension. As per several studies, consuming omega 3 capsules with 3 or more grams of fish oil regularly may help to reduce blood pressure in people suffering from untreated hypertension. However, any such dosage should only be taken under the direction of a physician.
- Improve Eye Health
DHA is a type of omega 3 and a major structural component of the brain and retina of the eye. Lack of DHA can cause vision problems. So, an omega 3 fatty acid called DHA is a structural component of the retina of the eye. It may aid to prevent macular degeneration and can cause vision impairment and blindness.
- May Improve Bone and Joint Health
Studies show that omega-3 can improve bone strength by increasing the amount of calcium in bones. This lead to a reduced risk of the two common disorders – osteoporosis and arthritis, the two common disorders that affect the skeletal system. Omega 3 fatty acids may also help with arthritis and assist in reducing joint pain and increasing grip strength.
Omega 3 Side Effects
Omega 3 is safe for most people if consumed in low doses (3 grams or less per day). Taking more than 3 grams per day might increase the chance of bleeding. If someone wants to take higher doses of omega 3 capsules, one should visit the doctor first. The doctor will be able to guide you with omega 3 supplements in your diet. Following are some other side effects of consuming Omega 3.
- A fishy taste in your mouth
- Fishy breath
- Stomach upset
- Loose stools
High doses of omega 3 might even reduce the immune system’s activity, which reduces the body’s ability to fight infection. It can cause side effects including bleeding, bad breath, heartburn, nausea. So, it is highly advisable to take omega 3 more than 3 grams per day only after consulting with your health care specialist.