The Importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

The Importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

walnutsA 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.

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Joint pain

Excellent Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

  • Salmon
  • Flax seeds and hemp seeds
  • Walnuts

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.

References:

Harvard School of Public Health

The World’s Healthiest Foods

The Sunfood Diet Success System

 

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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About the Author

Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

13 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Michelle says:

    Can you believe I don’t like any of those? Salmon is way too fishy for me even with lemon added. I love Tilapia though.

  2. Amanda says:

    It is actually difficult to find an Omega 3 blood panel, so doctors will typically look at your past diet and symptoms. Most of us can use more. 🙂

  3. Tatianna says:

    Hi Evelyn,
    I recently read that Macadamia Nuts are a very good source for Omega 3. It also has a great ratio between Omega 3 and Omega 6.

  4. Opal says:

    Hi Evelyn,

    Lots of great information. My main source is flax seeds, although I’ll occasionally get it from walnuts too. I incorporate flax seeds into so many things, which makes it easy. I make a raw vegan chip that uses flax seeds. Those chips never last long in our house. They’re delicious and nutritious.

  5. Hi Hannah,

    I didn’t know there was a vegetarian option for for Krill Oil. I’ll definitely check it out on google.

    Lovely name…my daughter’s name is Hannah. 😉

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Evelyn

  6. kathy says:

    Hi Evelyn,

    Great post! I had no idea that omega 3 fatty acids help to maintain cell membrane. Am I correct in saying this is important for healthy cell function and the transporting of nutrients?

    I fell in love with flax seed last winter and have been adding it to lots of recipes on a regular basis. I’m happy to learn the benefits.

    Have a superb weekend.

    • Hi Kathy,

      Yes, the reference that I used for this article says, “maintains the fluidity of cell membranes.” Omega 3 fatty acids aid in the transportation of biochemicals crossing the cell membrane.

      Cool, flax seeds are really good and they are not very expensive.

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend!

      Evelyn

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