Omega 3 - Everything you need to know

Omega 3 There are countless articles on the subject of omega 3 fatty acids. Google alone finds over three million of them in half a second. However, not all articles will provide answers to your questions.

We have put together an article that we once wished we had read. An article that contains all the comprehensive information you need to know about omega 3. An article that will stop you fumbling.

What are omega 3 fatty acids?

Omega 3 belongs to the group of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), referred to as essential fatty acids. They earned the label essential because the body cannot produce them on its own in most cases. We have to get them from our diet.

What do omega 3 contain?

There are several different omega 3s, but most scientific research focuses on only three types.

The main omega 3 fatty acids are:

  • - α-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • - docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

Of the three, EPA and DHA are the most important for our health.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is used in the body to produce EPA and DHA. However, the rate of conversion of ALA to EPA is poor, so it is necessary to increase the intake of EPA and DHA.

So if you care about your health (and we believe you do if you're reading these lines), focus on getting EPA and DHA directly from food and supplements. It is the only practical way to increase the level of omega 3 fatty acids in the body.

Why are omega 3 important?

Have you heard the saying: You are what you eat?

This also applies to cell membranes. DHA and EPA fatty acids are an essential component of the cell membranes of all cells in the body. When we consume dietary fat, much of it goes directly to building these membranes. In the absence of DHA and EPA in the diet, our cell membranes are made of saturated fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. This results in stiffer, less permeable cell membranes and slowed cell function.

Sounds like a big deal, don't you think? Indeed it is!

Omega 3

The ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is important

The difference between omega 6 and omega 3 is the chemical bond and the location of the first double bond. This is not a big deal for most people. The important point is that they are metabolically and functionally distinct and often have important opposing physiological effects. Therefore, their balance in the diet is important.

Currently, the intake of saturated fat and omega 6 is several times higher than the intake of omega 3, and this may contribute to higher levels of inflammatory molecules in the body. [1]

But this does not mean that saturated and omega 6 fatty acids are bad. All these fats perform necessary functions in the body. However, their consumed ratio is important.

It is estimated that in today's modern Western diet the ratio of ω-6 to ω-3 ranges from 10:1 to 20:1.

The key to healthy cells is an ideal ratio between 4:1 and 2:1.

The real ratio is indeed alarming. It is thought to be linked to the global increase in diseases related to chronic inflammation and promotes the rise of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. [2] [3]

The effects of omega 3

Omega 3 for brain and cognitive function

Omega 3 fatty acid consumption is one of the best-studied interactions between food and brain development. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential for synaptic transmission and cognitive abilities. [4]

Systematic reviews and randomized trials have found that omega 3 can positively influence memory, memory function and reaction times in young adults. [5] [6]

Omega 3 and athletes

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to affect the health and performance of athletes in many ways, including reducing inflammation, improving muscle recovery, and protecting brain health and function.

A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in healthy young men showed that DHA and EPA supplementation can accelerate recovery by reducing the time it takes for muscles to adapt to a training stimulus. Subjects who supplemented with DHA and EPA returned to maximal strength and full range of motion more quickly, and also reported less muscle soreness after exercise. [7]

In a systematic review of studies from 2020, omega 3 supplementation was shown to have a positive effect on aspects of sports performance such as reaction speed and better functionality of the cardiovascular system, including blood flow and oxygen consumption. [8]

EPA and DHA can influence many aspects of human physiology and metabolism, and this can in turn influence outcomes related to athletic performance, recovery, convalescence, illness and injury.

For most athletes, general recommendations should include EPA and DHA at about 1 to 2 g/day at a EPA:DHA ratio of 2:1.

Athletes

Other benefits

Joint health

EPA and DHA promote a healthy response to inflammation, which can positively impact swelling, pain and stiffness associated with joint problems. Omega 3s may be mildly helpful in relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. [9]


Improved triglyceride levels

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in human blood. They are a vital indicator of heart health. Excessive levels of triglycerides can increase the risk of heart disease.

High doses of DHA and EPA can have a positive effect on triglyceride levels. [10]

Skin health and UV protection

Omega 3 fatty acids show the potential to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation and reduce UV-induced inflammation. [11]

Omega 3 in food

The best sources of α-linolenic acid (ALA) are:

  • - flax seeds
  • - chia seeds
  • - hemp seeds
  • - walnuts

However, if you recall, the body is inefficient at converting ALA to EPA and DHA. For this reason, it is necessary to consume EPA and DHA directly from fish and seafood.

The best sources are:

  • - mackerel
  • - herring
  • - salmon
  • - anchovies
  • - sardines
  • - seafood and seaweed

However, Czechs are not known for their large consumption of fish and seafood. Therefore, we recommend increasing your intake of omega 3 through food supplements. High-quality food supplements with fish oil such as Flow Omega 3 can be an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acid supplementation.

Omega 3

Which foods are better to avoid?

Foods high in omega 6

  • - vegetable oils (sunflower oil, corn oil, margarine)
  • - industrially processed products (frozen ready meals)
  • - fried meals
  • - sausages
  • - salty snacks (corn flakes, chips)

How to take omega 3?

Fish oil is best absorbed by the body when consumed with food. The time of day doesn't seem to matter. Therefore, you can supplement omega 3 with any food that suits your lifestyle.

General guidelines recommend a dose of 250 mg per day, but most research shows that higher intakes provide greater benefits.

The intake of omega 3 fatty acids should range from 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day.

It is recommended not to exceed 3000 mg of omega 3 per day.

Conclusion

Now you know why omega 3 is so important. Healthy cells and a well-functioning brain require the consumption of the right essential fatty acids in an optimally balanced ratio. So if you want optimal body performance and a fast and sharp brain, limit foods with a high omega 6 content and supplement with more omega 3.

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