Omega-3s. You’ve probably heard of them. However, do you know why they are so important and so different from any other type of fat? Let me clue you in: It’s because unlike most fats, which your body can make from other fats or from raw materials, your body can’t make Omega-3 fatty acids on its own. The only way to get them is to eat them. Food really is medicine!
So what? Well, getting enough of them is critical because they’re important to every single one of your cells. They’re involved in the formation of cell membranes throughout your body, and serve a lot of other important functions too. Let’s hit the highlights of their benefits, and then we’ll talk about the best sources of these essential fatty acids.
Benefits of Omega-3s
I discuss the many benefits of Omega-3s on your thyroid in this article, however, it bears repeating: Omega-3s are critical to a healthy thyroid. And that matters because your thyroid gland not only produces the hormones that regulate your metabolism, it also plays an important role in heart health and digestion.
Omega-3s Modulate Inflammatory Response
This Omega-3 benefit is a big one. Autoimmune diseases are a result of an inflammatory response in which your body attacks itself. In addition to creating healthy cell membranes, Omega-3s help you create prostaglandins all over your body. These lipids, or fats, are very similar to hormones. They are made at the site of tissue damage to help you deal with injury and illness. Without the appropriate levels of Omega-3s to create prostaglandins, your body’s inflammatory response cannot be properly modulated.
Your Gut and Immune System Health
Did you know your gut wall is only one cell layer thick? The health of that wall is critical to your overall health because about 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut. You not only want your immune system to stay put, but you also want to prevent your gut wall cells from pulling apart, and allowing food particles and bacteria into your bloodstream in a condition called leaky gut. As key components of your cell linings, an important benefit of Omega-3s is in helping you keep everything where it should be for optimal gut and immune system health.
Believe it or not, some blood clots are good! When a blood vessel is injured, the prostaglandins that Omega-3s help you produce create blood clots to seal off the damaged area. Just as importantly, they also stand guard to reduce blood clotting as you heal, and to take away clots that are no longer needed.
A flexible, strong blood vessel is a healthy blood vessel, and healthy blood vessels enable your heart to move blood around your body efficiently. We touched before on Omega-3s impact on your body’s inflammatory response (and that includes blood vessels), and their role in managing the blood clotting process. They are also thought to help support a healthy heart rhythm.
Recent studies have shown that just 1 gram a day of Omega-3s can be a mood lifter. To put that into perspective, that’s roughly the equivalent of eating three salmon meals per week. How does it work? Researchers are still studying this, however, they believe it’s linked to improving the body’s inflammatory response. Interestingly, one of the reasons that researchers even thought to study this is because cultures that tend to eat a lot of fish report a lower incidence of mood disorders.1
Once again, researchers turned to populations that eat a lot of oily fish. They found that people who ate the types of fish that are packed with Omega-3s at least once a week were less likely than those who don’t to develop something called “wet” macular degeneration. This is a condition in which vessels leak blood or fluid into the eye.2 Omega-3s also impact dry eyes. Women are more prone to dry eyes than men. Women who ate tuna at least twice per week were significantly less likely to experience eye dryness than women who ate tuna only once per week, or not at all.3
If you are concerned about getting a good night’s sleep, then you’ll want to know this: Omega-3 consumption has been linked to improved sleep. One of the most interesting things about this is that the improvements seem to cross all ages. That is, Omega-3s benefit a good night’s sleep for adults and children alike. And these groups have very different sleep patterns and issues.4 Here, too, researchers suspect cell membrane health may be involved.5
Pregnancy and Nursing
We all know nutrition plays a vital role in pregnancy and childbirth. Not only are Omega-3s used by your body to help produce breast milk after your baby is born, they’re thought to play a vital part in determining the length of gestation and in preventing perinatal mood imbalances.6 Even more importantly, Omega-3s also give rise to DHA, which is needed for the development of the human brain7 before and after birth.
Omega-3s benefit your bones as well! That same DHA that we just talked about in terms of infant development continues to be important throughout your life. It affects the calcium balance in your body8 and impacts membrane function. It also plays a role in bone strength.9
Sources of Omega-3s
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably figured out that oily fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, Atlantic herring, mussels, anchovies, swordfish, and Alaskan pollock all contain Omega-3s. Many people think that only ocean fish contain this essential fatty acid. However, you may be surprised to learn that trout is an excellent source as well. In fact, it, and the smaller fish like anchovies, herring, and mackerel, are among the best natural sources for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
That’s because the larger fish, including tuna and swordfish, eat the smaller fish. So while those big fish have higher concentrations of Omega-3s, they also have higher levels of heavy metals such as mercury in their flesh.10
You can also get Omega-3s from plants. Some of the best plant sources are chia seeds, flax seeds,11 walnuts, and their oils, as well as pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds.12 However, plants are actually sources of something called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which your body must convert to Omega-3s in your liver. This isn’t a very efficient process so it’s best not to rely on plant sources exclusively.
Fish Oil Supplements
Even though my family eats a lot of fish (often salmon fillets as in this delicious baked salmon recipe), my husband Xavier, our daughter Elle, and I all take a fish oil supplement every day. It’s the best way to ensure I’m getting the right amount of Omega-3s because the content in fish depends on what the fish ate.
The Complete Omega Softgels in my store are specially formulated by me to be a high-potency, emulsified fish oil with advanced bioavailability. My fish oil is non-GMO, antibiotic-free, and certified sustainable from the pristine Scandinavian arctic waters which I believe are the very best sources of fish oil.
I designed these Softgels with 1000mg of EPA/DHA in every capsule for even greater potency than before, and they don’t have any fishy aftertaste. EPA/DHA are the main beneficial components of Omega-3. No other fish oil capsule on the planet can claim to be of higher quality than this Nordic fish oil softgel.
The one thing I didn’t change is my patented lipid absorption technology that allows for three times greater EPA/DHA absorption rate than an equivalent dose of any other leading fish oil. My Omega-3 softgels are absorption-ready and directly assimilated in the intestinal tract for maximum benefit. This makes it a fantastic choice for anyone with digestive, gallbladder, or pancreatic challenges.
Whether you’re a fish fan or not, don’t skip getting the benefits of Omega-3s! They’re critical to every cell in your body and promote your optimal health overall. Give them a try!