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Why should I take an Omega 3 Fish Oil?

Why should I take an Omega 3 Fish Oil?

A good question!  And the answer is, ‘For many reasons’!  Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer tell us why!

Firstly, what are Omega-3’s?

Omega-3’s are good fats known as ‘unsaturated’ fatty acids, due to their chemical structure.  However, it’s this specific structure that makes them so essential for human health; they are, in fact, an intrinsic part of the cell structure.  However, they can’t be made in the body, so they need to be eaten regularly, or taken in supplement form.  They’re not called essential for nothing!

Why do we need Omega-3’s?

They fulfil so many different functions in the body; they’re super-hot nutrients!  They are essential for the health of the heart, brain, eyes, joints and for hormone production.  Omega-3’s even help with metabolism, energy and growth. 

Where are they found?

They are mainly found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines with a small amount in tinned and fresh tuna.  The Department of Health recommends eating at least two portions of oily fish per week (for example, two salmon fillets).  However, Nutritionists recommend an intake far higher, which may only be achieved through supplementation, particularly if fish isn’t your favourite food!

Now let’s look at what they do in more detail ……..

Omega-3’s are good for the heart!

This is because they help to keep the blood thin; for this reason they help to prevent blood clots which can cause heart attacks.  Additionally, Omega-3’s help to reduce blood pressure, another risk factor for heart-related problems.

Omega-3’s are good for the brain!

Did you know that your brain is actually your fattiest organ?  Around 60% of the brain is made up of fat and a large percentage being Omega-3’s.  They form a key part of the brain and are essential for cognitive development and keeping your nerves firing correctly.  They are especially important during pregnancy and childhood when the brain is developing; deficiencies in children have been linked to behavioural problems and learning difficulties.

Omega-3’s are good for the eyes too!

The Omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, is concentrated in the retina of the eye, and you should look for high levels in your chosen fish oil supplement.   Indeed, having sufficient DHA  is essential for good vision.  Additionally, it’s really important for pregnant women to get sufficient DHA,  particularly during the third trimester, so that their baby’s vision develops properly.  Indeed, DHA is also concentrated in breast milk, so nursing mothers need to consume more.  And, of course, it makes absolute sense for everyone to protect their precious eyes by consuming more DHA; it might even be helpful for the condition of dry eyes.

Omega-3’s are needed for your hormones!

It’s not just women that have hormones!  Both men and women need proper hormone balance, and the Omega-3’s are essential for their production.  When in balance, Omega-3’s will help produce prostaglandins, which are similar to hormones, and fulfil so many different functions.  Additionally, the sex hormones won’t work without them, so they’re essential for this function too!

So, Omega-3’s are clearly essential for optimal health.  However, whilst many people do have fish in their diet, it’s only oily fish that contains Omega-3’s and the body actually needs and benefits from having much more than is normally obtained from the average diet.