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The Pros and Cons of Omega-3


When looking into supplements that you can take to support your health, you’ve probably come across omega-3s. While the name might sound quite futuristic, like a spaceship from the next Star Wars movie, omega-3s are fatty acids derived from fish oil, or algae oil, in the case of vegan omega-3 supplements. But what are omega-3 supplements? And where do they come from? We’re here to answer all your burning omega-3 questions about this incredible health supplement.

What are Omega-3s? 

Omega-3s are fatty acids essential for a variety of proper bodily functions. Our bodies can’t make omega-3s on their own, so we have to get them externally through foods and/or supplements. Foods known to contain omega-3s include: cold-water fatty fish (like salmon, tuna, and mackerel), you can also buy fish jerky online, various seeds and nuts (like flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts), and fish and seed oils (including cod liver oil and flaxseed oil).

While some people are able to get the proper amount of omega-3 fatty acids that they need through the food they eat, many individuals require extra omega-3s, depending on their health needs. As such, omega-3 fatty acid supplements are essential to maintain omega-3 levels in the body. 

There are three main types of Omega-3s: 

  • ALA - (aka ​​alpha-linolenic acid) ALA is an essential fatty acid that acts as a precursor to the other two fatty acids, EPA and DHA. The body can actually convert some ALA into EPA and DHA, but not as much as we need daily. As such, we need to supplement our diet with omega-3 intake. ALA is mainly found in plant-based foods like flaxseeds.

  • EPA - (aka eicosapentaenoic acid) EPA fatty acids help produce molecules that reduce inflammation in the body. EPA is primarily derived from fish products, as well as algae.

  • DHA - (aka docosahexaenoic acid) DHA is essential for healthy brain development early on in life. It also aids in proper vision, and has shown to support heart health and lower cholesterol levels. DHA is also primarily found in fatty fish and algae products. 

Where do Omega-3 Supplements Come From?

As mentioned above, omega-3 is often naturally derived through eating various fish, seeds, and oils. Omega-3 supplements are sourced from fish oils and algae oils. Common fish oils include: cod liver oil and krill oil. Plant-based algae oil is a popular alternative for vegetarians and vegans who don’t eat meat. In some ways, taking algae oil supplements can be seen as getting your omega-3s directly from the source: the fish that are being used for fish oil get their omega-3s by consuming algae!

Pros of Omega-3 Supplements

Omega-3 supplements support our overall health in a variety of ways. Some of them include: 

Supports Heart Health

Omega-3 fatty acids aid in many different heart conditions. Studies have shown omega-3s to lower blood pressure and help to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system overall. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to support lower cholesterol levels in those who struggle with high levels of triglycerides, fats that can cause blockages in the arteries.

Aids In Proper Vision

As mentioned above, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the development and maintenance of healthy eye function. DHA is a major component in the upkeep of our retinas, the light-sensitive layer of our eye tissue that creates the images we see. As such, omega-3s are paramount in maintaining proper vision, ensuring that the cells that make up our eyes stay strong, and our sight stays on point!

Manages Your Mood

Studies have shown omega-3s, particularly those of the EPA variety, have a supportive effect on mood, particularly in those struggling with depression and anxiety. Doctors often recommend Omega-3 supplements to aid in diminishing the symptoms of postpartum depression in new mothers. 

Better Your Baby’s Development

Speaking of babies, omega-3 fatty acids are key to healthy development in early life. Omega-3s support infants’ growth by aiding in proper retinal and brain development. As such, doctors can recommend expectant mothers take omega-3 supplements during pregnancy to ensure their baby gets enough for proper development. 

Potential Omega-3 Cons to Consider

As with any supplement, it’s important to take into account any side effects you could encounter while taking them. Most documented side effects of omega-3’s are mlld. Some people have reported experiencing heartburn and gastrointestinal distress when taking fish oil omega-3s; algae oil omega-3 supplements are a great alternative to take to avoid this. If you have low blood pressure, avoid taking omega-3 supplements as they may cause issues in reducing your already low blood pressure. Of course, be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy bodily function. As our bodies cannot make omega-3s on their own, we need to supplement our diets with omega-3 rich foods and omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 supplements are an easy way to add fatty acids to your day. How do you plan to supplement your diet with Omega-3?

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