What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids [https://tastyganics.com/blogs/tastyganics/top-omega-3-benefits-for-your-health] are nutrients that can be found naturally in food sources. These are essential to the body but not manufactured naturally, so you need to receive them from food and drink or dietary supplements.
There are three major types of omega-3 fatty acids that you need to produce cell membranes and contribute to multiple organ systems:
- alpha-linolenic acid (ALA),
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA is more commonly found in plants, while EPA and DHA exist mostly in seafood, like fish. The human body is able to convert trace amounts of ALA into the other two types of omega-3 fatty acids. These same enzymes also feature in the metabolic pathways of omega-6 fatty acids.
Fish Oil Capsules and Other Omega-3 Fatty Acid Sources
Since the body does not produce essential fatty acids naturally, humans have to consume these substances intentionally to benefit from the effects. Also called N-3 fatty acids, omega-3 is most common in seafood, especially fatty fish. You can also find it in plant oils, nuts, and seeds, and added into fortified foods, such as eggs or milk.
You can also benefit from omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements, including fish oil [https://tastyganics.com/collections/nordic-naturals-omega-3-fish-oils], cod liver oil, and algal oil. The federal government recommends that you get most of your nutrients from food, especially if you want to benefit from vitamins and minerals as supplements.
Despite this, fish oil and omega-3 supplements are useful in providing nutrients that you would otherwise not consume in recommended daily amounts.
Fish oil supplementation also makes it easy to control the amount of omega-3 that you consume with a wide variety of doses and forms for common conditions. Resources are widely available, and your doctor can provide you with health information about which prescription fish oil supplements best suit your needs.
The Effect of Fish Oil Supplements
Taking fish oil omega-3 fatty acid supplements can provide you with myriad health benefits, from improved blood pressure to a boosted immune system.
Fish Oil Supplements and Your Immune System
While there are years of evidence that the omega-3 acids in a fish oil supplement reduce inflammation, recent studies show that fish oil helps both the adaptive and the innate immune systems to function properly.
An experiment with mice proved that diets rich in DHA enhanced the production and activation of white blood cells (called B cells). It allows the body to effectively clear pathogens and to produce antibodies against specific threats.
Taking fish oil supplements is also positively associated with preventing viral entry into cells. It changes the composition of fats in the lipid membranes, regulating cell membrane properties. Omega-3 fatty acids then facilitate changes to a membrane's fluidity or allow the assembly of complex lipid rafts.
Studies also discovered the role of omega-3 fatty acids and the molecules into which your body breaks them down. These are signaling molecules with different effects, depending on the type of cell.
EPA, ALA, and DHA typically inhibit immune system functions from both branches. However, the omega-3 fatty acids promote functions in specific cells, such as phagocytosis in neutrophils and macrophages.
These interactions with your immune system also show that a fish oil supplement may lower inflammation without immunosuppressive effects. The lack of nonspecific immune system repression makes this fish oil exciting for its potential in treating individuals with compromised immunity.
Other Effects of Fish Oil Supplements
Fatty fish, other seafood, and dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation are beneficial for maintaining your eyes, joints, brain, skin, and heart health. These nutritional particles give your body calories (for energy) and play a major role in maintaining the cells in the retina, brain, and sperm cells.
Fish oil may reduce the chance of suffering from cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and levels of triglycerides. Regular fish consumption also lowers the risk of coronary heart disease that may arise from the absorption of trans fats.
The American Heart Association urges sufferers of heart disease, high blood pressure, or high risk of heart disease to consume one gram of combined acids daily.
The World Health Organization also recognizes that fish oil supplements positively influence maternal and neonatal health when taken during pregnancies. In their study [https://www.who.int/elena/titles/commentary/fish_oil_pregnancy/en/], women with regular oily fish intake had longer gestation periods and heavier babies. They also noticed that pre-eclampsia occurred at lower rates among the pregnant women who were eating fish.
Some studies assert that people who regularly consume foods and supplements with omega-3s are at a lower risk of cancer. However, there is also a large clinical study showing that fish oil supplements do not reduce risk factors for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or prostate cancer.
How Much Fish Oil Should I Take?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that you get omega-3s from two servings of fish per week, but you can also use dietary supplements. Adults generally only need one gram of EPA, DHA, and ALA combined every day, but you may need a higher or lower amount, depending on your health needs. For example, pregnant or breastfeeding women benefit from slightly higher amounts of fish oil supplements.
Consult with a doctor or other medical professional to make sure you are using a beneficial dosage.
Side effects associated with normal levels of fish oil are mild, including a fishy aftertaste, nausea, and bad breath. Combined omega-3 fatty acid intake of over three grams per day can be dangerous to your health. It may even cause severe side effects, such as bleeding when taken with anticoagulant medicines.
You should only take large doses to reduce triglycerides with the supervision of your doctor.
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