1. What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids, often referred to as Omega-3s, are a type of polyunsaturated fats that play crucial roles in the body. Our body cannot produce enough Omega-3s, therefore Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential nutrients, which means we have to obtain them from the foods we consume (1).

2. What are Fatty Acids?

Fatty acids are molecular compounds made up of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms arranged in a chain-like structure. Carbon atoms serve as the central backbone of this chain, while oxygen and hydrogen atoms bond at specific positions along it.

There are two main categories of fatty acids: saturated fat and unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat is further divided into polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat, terms commonly found on nutrition labels. In a saturated fat molecule, there are no vacant positions along the carbon chain.

In contrast, a monounsaturated fat has an open position, and a polyunsaturated fat has multiple spaces available. Saturated fats are sometimes labeled "bad" or "unhealthy" fats because they are associated with a higher risk of certain diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, unsaturated fats, encompassing both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, are considered "good" or "healthy" fats when consumed in moderation. Omega-3s, which fall into the polyunsaturated fat category, represent a healthier dietary choice compared to saturated fats, benefiting heart health (2).

3. What types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids are there?

There are three main types of Omega-3 fatty acids, each with its own unique characteristics:

  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid): EPA is categorized as a "marine Omega-3" as it is mainly present in fish.
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid): Similar to EPA, DHA is another marine Omega-3 fatty acid predominantly found in fish.
  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid): ALA represents the plant form of Omega-3 and is derived from several plant sources.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that the body acquires through dietary intake. Although the body can convert some ALA to EPA and subsequently DHA, this conversion process only produces a limited amount of EPA and DHA. Therefore, it remains crucial to incorporate dietary sources of EPA and DHA, such as fish, into nutrition to ensure adequate intake of these essential compounds (3,4).

4. What are the health benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in facilitating the proper functioning of all cells in the body (5). They serve as integral components of cell membranes, providing structural support and facilitating interactions between cells. Although Omega-3s are vital to all cells, they are particularly concentrated at high levels within cells located in both the eyes and brain (6).

Studies show that Omega-3s may be beneficial in:

  • Reduced Cardiovascular Risk : Recent clinical studies suggest that Omega-3s result in a 28% reduced risk of heart attack, 50% reduced risk of fatal heart attack, and 17% reduced risk of coronary heart disease (7,8,9 ,10). A meta-analysis of the use of Omega-3s for the prevention of cardiovascular disease showed a statistically significant reduction in mortality due to cardiovascular problems (11). Recent studies also show that the Omega-3 index is a more sensitive predictor of increased risk of cardiovascular disease than serum cholesterol (12,13).
  • Reducing Autoimmunity: Omega-3 fatty acids have demonstrated potential in both the treatment and prevention of several autoimmune conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and psoriasis (14,15).
  • Preventing Cognitive Decline: Multiple studies have established a connection between increased Omega-3 intake and a lower risk of age-related cognitive decline, as well as a lower likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease (16,17).
  • Reduction of Certain Types of Cancer: Consuming Omega-3 has the potential to reduce the risk of specific types of cancer, such as colon, prostate and breast cancer; however, more studies are needed to corroborate these results (18,19).
  • Reducing Joint Pain and Inflammation : Based on a review of six studies, Omega-3 supplements were found to have a remarkable ability to reduce pain in individuals affected by osteoarthritis that affects synovial joints (20).
  • Supports Skin and Eye Health : DHA serves as a structural component in the skin and retina of the eye, playing a crucial role in maintaining the well-being of cell membranes. On the skin, it protects against premature aging, reduces the risk of acne and promotes skin hydration (21). In the eyes, Omega-3 is also linked to a lower risk of macular degeneration (22).
  • Reducing General Body Inflammation: Chronic inflammation can be a contributing factor to the development of numerous chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the production of molecules and substances associated with inflammation (23,24).

5. What are the food sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Fish is the best source of omega-3s (EPA and DHA): mackerel, salmon (wild, farmed, Atlantic), herring (Atlantic), anchovies, white fish, tuna, halibut, sardines (Atlantic, canned in oil) and trout (wild). This list of fish includes fish with low levels of mercury, therefore, with less risk of developing mercury poisoning. If a person is allergic to fish or follows a vegetarian or vegan diet, the alternative is to consume plant-based sources of Omega-3 (DHA or ALA). The plant source of DHA is through the consumption of algae. One of the best sources of ALA is crushed flaxseed. Other sources include algae oil, canola oil, chia seeds, edamame, soybean oil, and walnuts (25).

6. Who should take Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplements?

This supplement is recommended for individuals who want to:

  • Reduce your cardiovascular risk
  • Reduce the risk of certain types of cancer (colon, prostate and breast cancer)
  • Help improve joint, eye and skin health
  • Help cognitive function
  • Reduce the inflammatory state of the body as a whole
  • Reduce the severity of autoimmune diseases
7. What is the recommended dosage of Omega-3 Fatty Acids supplement?

The appropriate dosage of Omega-3 fatty acids can actually vary based on specific health goals and underlying conditions. To reduce general inflammation throughout the body, higher doses in the range of 3 to 6 grams of EPA/DHA per day are typically recommended. However, when the goal is the prevention of cardiovascular disease, lower doses in the range of 1 to 3 grams of EPA/DHA per day are generally considered sufficient. It is important for individuals to consult a healthcare professional or nutritionist to determine the most appropriate Omega-3 dosage based on their individual needs and circumstances (26).

8. What are the side effects of taking Omega-3 Fatty Acids ?

Serious adverse reactions to fish oil or EPA and DHA supplements are uncommon. The most common adverse effects are mild and include a fishy taste in the mouth, heartburn and, in some cases, nausea and loose stools or diarrhea. These side effects are generally mild and often disappear with continued use or when taking the supplements with meals (25).

Omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA, can have a mild anticoagulant effect, which means they can potentially prolong bleeding times, especially when taken in high daily doses (>6g/day). This property may contribute to its cardioprotective effects. However, recent studies have shown no impact of consuming fish oil supplements and increased risk of bleeding (27,28,29,30). Omega-3 dietary supplements, such as fish oil, have the potential to interact with medications, especially blood thinners (blood thinners), antiplatelet medications, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). People taking these medications should consult their doctor before adding fish oil supplements to their routine.

9. Can pregnant and breastfeeding women take this supplement?

Some studies suggest that adequate Omega-3 intake during pregnancy is associated with several benefits for offspring, including better cognitive development, better communication and social skills, fewer behavioral problems, and a lower risk of developmental delays (28,29). . It is important to note that while some studies support these associations, there are also mixed results in the research, indicating that further investigation is needed to fully understand the precise impact of Omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy and early childhood on child development. We recommend that you consult a doctor before using this product.


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