The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Updated: Aug 17

Keep reading to learn what you need to know about Omega-3 fatty acids, and how they can help improve your overall wellbeing.

Surely you have heard of Omega-3 fatty acids. They are incredibly important, but have you ever wondered why? Perhaps you are curious about why they are necessary and how you can be sure you are getting the adequate amount in your diet?


Keep reading to learn what you need to know about Omega-3 fatty acids, and how they can help improve your overall well being.


What are Omega-3 fatty acids?


Omega-3 fatty acids are not something our body naturally creates, emphasizing the importance of eating a well balanced diet, or exploring supplement options (especially if you are vegetarian or vegan). Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in plants, animals and algae. There are three types of Omega-3 fatty acids-- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA); and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).


Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in the health of your eyes, brain and skin.


Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA)


This Omega-3 fatty acid helps energy levels. ALA can be found in chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, canola oil, and soybeans. Working with little to no energy certainly takes a toll on the quality of day to day life.


This bread not only tastes delicious with a little butter, or your favorite nut butter, it can help boost the amount of ALA in your diet.


Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)


This Omega-3 fatty aid can help to decrease inflammation. EPA can be found in oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring; and some edible algae.


Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)


This Omega-3 fatty acid is the primary “structural component of the brain.” It is also a structural component of your eyes and skin. DHA is found in fatty fish, fish oil, and grass fed animal products.


All of the aforementioned foods are a great way to be sure you are getting the ample amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. ALA, EPA, and DHA all work together and each play a vital role in the Omega-3 fatty acid health benefits.


Other Omega-3 Fatty Acid Benefits


As mentioned above, Omega-3 fatty acids can help battle inflammation. Chronic inflammation is quite common. In athletes there is often times an overload of Omega-6 fatty acids but Omega-3 fatty acids help nourish joints and tissues while also improving immune system function.


Another benefit of using Omega-3 fatty acids is to help children struggling with ADHD. While the research is new, studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids may improve the symptoms of ADHD in children. The results from using Omega-3 acids as a treatment for ADHD vary and it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to find out if this is an appropriate alternative to other ADHD medication.


Other benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids include fighting anxiety and depression, promoting brain health during pregnancy and early life, reducing symptoms of metabolic syndrome, fighting autoimmune diseases, preventing cancer, along with many other benefits.

© 2020 by Markesha Miller, Ph.D.