Omega 3

Omega-3 (or omega-3) is a group of essential fatty acids, which means that man must resort to food to supply himself with this nutrient, since he himself cannot synthesize it.
We can find omega-3s in numerous foods (read below), as well as in the form of food supplements. According to recent studies, fatty acids would be beneficial for treating and, above all, preventing various diseases.

chemical definition

Omega-3 molecules have a long carbon chain with hydrogen with several double bonds (we also speak of polyunsaturated fatty acids: which means that the chain is not entirely saturated with H hydrogen atoms). The notion of omega-3 is a generic term that encompasses different fatty acids:
alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) with 18 C and 3 double bonds, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) with 20 C and 5 double bonds, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with 22 C and 6 double bonds and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) with 22 C and 5 double bonds.
As we can see, the number 3 in the term omega-3 strictly means 3 unsaturated bonds, however, some fatty acids that are part of this family have more than 3 bonds (5,…), so it is a group of fatty acids in the broad sense.

Where to find omega-3s?

In food, omega-3s can be found mainly in vegetable oils and fish.

Vegetable oils containing omega-3s:
– rapeseed
oil – wheat germ
oil – chestnut
oil – linseed
oil – soy
oil – olive oil ( olive oil )
– chia oil (and chia seeds )

Attention, regarding vegetable oils, it is always preferable to feed with a cold-pressed oil.

Fish rich in omega-3s:
– Cold water fish: salmon, tuna, anchovies

You can also find omega 3 food supplements in pharmacies (in the form of fish oil capsules, salmon, etc.) to complete the absorption of these precious fatty acids.

nutritional recommendation

According to the AFSSA (French health agency), it is recommended to consume five servings of omega-6 for an amount of omega-3. This dosage is unfortunately not respected in industrialized countries, in fact, due to a bad eating habit, characterized above all by an increase in ingested calories, the tendency ends up being the abundant consumption of omega-6 and a low intake of omega-3.
In these countries, an average person ingests up to 8 servings of omega-6 and one serving of omega-3. In the United States, the rate is particularly alarming as the ratio between these two essential fatty acids can reach 40: 1
. nutritionists.

Recommended maximum daily dose

If you take omega-3s as a dietary supplement, in capsule, tablet or liquid form (including fish oil), do not exceed 3 grams per day. Taking a higher dose can lead to bleeding and weaken your immune system (source: Mayo Clinic ).

omega-3 effects

– Fatty acids (not just omega-3) play a key role in the human body, they act like hormones that deliver different messages. Example: after an injury, the body emits signs characteristic of inflammation, various fatty acids (such as prostaglandins) intervene in this mechanism of inflammation.

– Omega-3 has an anti-inflammatory role. However, it is assumed that omega-6 has a pro-inflammatory action (promoting inflammation). In general, Western diets are very high in omega-6 fatty acids and are suspected of contributing to chronic disease.

– It is assumed that the omega-3s stored in the cell membrane, thanks to their transformation into other molecules, may also intervene beneficially and play a role in protecting against bad cholesterol and inhibiting the formation of atheromatous plaques.

Indications, uses in medicine

– As we saw in the effects mentioned above, omega-3 would have a very beneficial role against various inflammatory diseases such as arthritis (including rheumatoid polyarthritis), stress, acne or cancer (in prevention). on the existence of a possible effect against depression (omega-3 and depression: if we assume that depression has an anti-inflammatory compound). Omega-3s are also highly recommended for preventing different cardiovascular diseases, such as excess cholesterol, hypertension and stroke . It is also estimated that omega-3s can improve brain capabilities (concentration, memory,…), and prevent endometriosis .

– A French study published in February 2013 showed that omega-3 intake (especially docosahexaenoic acid or DHA) reduces the risk of developing wet AMD by 68% . DHA can be found in oily fish, canola oil, walnuts and flaxseeds.

– We note that as with all medications, there are some contraindications (in case of surgery) and side effects (risk of bleeding) that must be taken into account, as is the case with nutritional supplements rich in omega-3. Consult a specialist and read the leaflet.

– An American study published in April 2013 showed that omega-3 intake increases life expectancy by 2.2 years for the elderly. In fact, people with high blood levels of omega-3s lived longer. This study was carried out by the American universities of Harvard (Massachusetts) and Washington State. Read: Eating fish increases life expectancy in older people

– Consuming omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines once or twice a week may reduce the risk of breast cancer . In fact, according to a Chinese study published in June 2013 in the “British Medical Journal”, consumption of one to two servings of fatty fish (rich in omega-3) per week is associated with a 14% reduction in breast cancer risk.

– Omega-3s are essential fatty acids for the development and proper functioning of the human body. There are four acids that are known by their initials, EPA, DHA and DPA, which are found primarily in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies) and ALA, found in vegetable oils (walnuts, rapeseed oil, soy, flax) and, to a lesser extent, meat, dairy products and eggs.

– In their study, published in the British Medical Journal , the Chinese researchers note, however, that only omega-3s of marine origin have been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, no “significant association” was observed with the other omega-3s.

– In August 2015, a study published in the specialized journal Nature Communications carried out by researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia and the University of Vienna (MediUni Wien) in Austria, showed that daily intake of omega-3 (in particular from fish oil) ) for 12 weeks a year allowed a reduction from 40% to 10% in the number of cases of psychoses (eg schizophrenia ), among young people aged 13 to 25 years. This study involved 81 participants who were at high risk for psychosis, had mostly mild symptoms of mental disorders or a genetic risk such as psychosis in their family.

– According to a study published in June 2016 in the specialized journal  Scientific Reports , the administration of omega-3s, especially EPA and DHA omega-3s, reduced the mortality rate. More precisely, high-dose administration of n-3 LCPUFA (a form of omega-3) reduced the all-cause mortality rate by 9% compared to a less substantial dose of this substance. Furthermore, an increase in the dose of EPH/DHA of the order of 300 mg daily was associated with a 6% reduction in risk of all-cause mortality. This research work, a meta-analysis, involved 11 studies gathering more than 370,000 patients and about 31,000 deaths. Soochow University, in Suzhou, China, actively participated in this study.

Sleep and IQ in children
– Children who eat fish at least once a week sleep better and have an average IQ score of 4 points higher compared to those who eat less or not at all, according to a University of Pennsylvania study published online. on December 21, 2017 in the scientific journal Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-17520-w). Everything indicates that it is the omega-3 found in fish that is responsible for these health benefits. More than 500 Chinese children aged 9 to 11 years participated in this questionnaire cohort study.

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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