You’ve probably heard about omega-3 fatty acids and how they can benefit your health. But what happens when you have omega-3 deficiency? And what can you do to overcome this issue?
Keep reading to learn more about omega-3 fatty acids, their benefits, and signs of a deficiency.
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fat that your body can’t make on its own. However, we need these fatty acids to survive, which means that we need to get them from the foods we eat or from supplements.
There are different types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic (ALA). EPA, DPA, and DHA can be found in fish, while ALA is present in plants.
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of cell membranes in your body, and as a result, they can affect cell function in different ways. These fatty acids have a lot of benefits for your health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these benefits include:
As we mentioned above, omega-3 fatty acids are present in the cell membrane of many different types of cells throughout your body. That means that if you’re not taking enough omega-3, it could lead to a variety of EPA, ALA, DPA, and DHA deficiency symptoms.
According to the National Institutes of Health, some of the side effects of omega-3 deficiency can include:
According to a study published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease, there’s also research that suggests that low EPA, DPA, and DHA could be linked to a higher risk of psychiatric disorders. The study found that, on average, patients with mood and anxiety disorders had lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood.
The good news is that you can get plenty of omega-3 from your daily diet or from high-quality supplements. According to The Association of UK Dietitians, dietary sources of ALA include nuts, seeds, and rapeseed oil.
EPA and DHA, on the other hand, are mostly found in oily fish, such as:
White fish and shellfish also contain omega-3 fatty acids, but at a much lower level than oily fish. Some of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may be removed during the canning process, so it’s a good idea to include fresh fish in your diet.
If you’re not getting enough omega-3 from your diet, you can try a daily supplement. However, not all omega-3 supplements are the same, and you should seek medical advice in order to choose a high-quality supplement.
Just like with many other micronutrients, taking excess omega-3 could have harmful effects.
According to Oregon State University, very high levels of omega-3 fatty acids could impact your immune function and affect the way your body responds to infections. However, we still don’t know the exact cut-off values for omega-3. These findings were made using concentrations that are much higher than what you would typically consume through your diet or regular supplements.
Although it’s uncommon, some people can develop an allergic reaction to fish oil. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include a rash, hives, redness, swelling, and red bumps on your skin.
Tiredness and fatigue aren’t known side effects of fish oil.
Yes. As we mentioned above, the cut-off values for omega-3 haven’t been established. However, taking too much omega-3 could cause adverse reactions and side effects.
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Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution - hsph.harvard.edu
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - my.clevelandclinic.org
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - ods.od.nih.gov
Omega-3 fatty acids - mountsinai.org
Omega-3: Food Fact Sheet - bda.uk.com
Excess omega-3 fatty acids could lead to negative health effects - today.oregonstate.edu