A recent post written by Dr. Chakma (Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Omega 3 Fatty Acids Deficiencies in Vegans) piqued my curiosity about omega 3 fatty acids, so I did a little research.
I know we should make sure we get omega 3 fatty acids in our diet, but knowing more will help me understand more about omega 3 fatty acids. Here are my questions:
1. What are omega 3 fatty acids?
2. Why are omega 3 fatty acids so important?
3. What are the symptoms of omega 3 fatty acids deficiency?
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for our health. The body cannot make omega 3 fatty acids, these are essential fatty acids that are obtained from food.
The Importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are important for many reasons. Here are a few reasons listed below:
- helps reduce inflammation
- controls blood clotting
- maintains the cell membrane
- helps lower the amount of lipids (fats) in the bloodstream
Symptoms of Omega 3 Deficiency
The only true way you can tell if you have an omega 3 fatty acids deficiency is to have a blood test. Even then, it is hard for the doctor to pin point exactly what is causing the symptoms. Because there are other deficiencies that have the same symptoms.
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Dry, itchy skin
- Brittle hair and nails
- Inability to concentrate
- Joint pain
Excellent Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Flax seeds and hemp seeds
Important: Some people will not convert the medium-chain omega 3 fatty acids to long-chain when consuming flax seeds and hemp seeds and this is due to health challenges, genetics and metabolism.
If you are a vegetarian and you have this issue, you can try consuming coconut oil along with hemp seed or flax seed oil.
You can also try algae, which is the same place that fish get their omega 3 fatty acids. Purslane (a wild herb) and blue-green algae from Klamath Lake contain long-chain omega 3 fatty acids.