Omega-3s can reduce the decline of mental function, fight depression, and much more. Learn more about the 13 health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids…
1. Omega-3s Help Fight Depression & Anxiety
Depression is both a brain disorder and a state of mind. The brain is unique – it is the only organ whose function we consciously experience because the brain is the organ of the mind.
Illnesses of the mind-brain affect tens of millions of people in the United States, and depression is the most prevalent, representing 99% of all mind-brain illness.
Symptoms include sadness, lethargy, and a general loss of interest in life.
Anxiety, also a common disorder, is characterized by constant worry and nervousness.
However, studies have found that people who consume omega-3s regularly are less likely to be depressed and when people with depression or anxiety start taking omega-3 supplements their symptoms actually improve.
Of the three types of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA appears to be the most beneficial omega-3 for fighting depression.
One study even found EPA as effective against depression as a common antidepressant drug.
2. Omega-3s Can Improve Eye Health
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: DHA, ALA, and EPA.
DHA is a major structural component of the retina in your eye, and when you don’t get enough DHA in your diet, vision problems may start to occur.
If you are making sure to get enough omega-3s in your diet, you can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of permanent visual impairment and blindness.
3. Omega-3s Are Good For Your Skin
DHA is also an important structural component of your skin, as it is responsible for the health of cell membranes. A healthy cell membrane results in soft, moist, supple, and wrinkle-free skin.
EPA, another omega-3 fatty acid, benefits your skin by managing oil production and hydration your skin, preventing little red bumps on your upper arms, reducing premature aging of your skin, and reducing the risk of acne.
EPA can also help protect your skin from sun damage by blocking the release of substances that eat away at the collagen in your skin after sun exposure.
4. Omega-3s May Improve Sleep
Getting the right amount of good sleep is one key to optimal health.
Studies have tied sleep deprivation to many diseases, including obesity, depression, and diabetes. Sleep deprivation can also lead to decreased performance and alertness, cognitive impairment, stressed relationships, poor quality of life, and accidents.
Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are linked to sleep problems in children and sleep apnea in adults. Also, low levels of DHA leads to decreased levels of melatonin production – a hormone which helps you fall asleep.
By adding an omega-3 supplement to your diet you can increase the length and quality of sleep.
5. Omega-3s May Improve Bone & Joint Health
Two common disorders that affect the skeletal system are osteoporosis and arthritis, and studies indicate that omega-3s can reduce the risk of both by boosting the amount of calcium in your bones, reducing joint pain, and increasing grip strength.
Both EPA and DHA benefit your bones by producing anti-inflammatory compounds, which aid in protecting you from chronic inflammation and harmful, bone-removing effects.
Through inflammation regulation, your body will be able to create new bone to replace the damaged and brittle bone that was once prevalent.
6. Omega-3s May Help Prevent Cancer
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been claimed to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Studies have found that people who consume the most omega-3s have up to a 55% lower risk of colon cancer, and a reduced risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
The lower risk comes largely in part from the reduced inflammation in the body. However, diet and cancer studies show mixed results, and certain studies show no benefit.
7. Omega-3s Can Fight Mental Decline
More than a dozen epidemiological studies have reported that reduced levels or intake of omega-3 fatty acids or fish consumption is associated with increased risk for age-related cognitive decline or dementia.
Mental decline is one of the unavoidable consequences that comes with older age, but by increasing omega-3 intake you can decrease age-related mental decline and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Fatty acids are vital for the maintenance of normal brain function by helping to preserve cell membrane health and facilitating communication between brain cells. In older adults, lower levels of DHA in the blood can be a sign of accelerated brain aging.
8. Omega-3s Can Improve Mental Disorders
Mental disorders are often connected with low blood levels of omega-3 fats, and improving omega 3 intakes can improve symptoms.
Omega-3 supplements can reduce the frequency of mood swings and relapses in people with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
9. Omega-3s Can Aid In Fighting Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune disease is when your system mistakes healthy cells as foreign invaders and begins attacking them. A few examples are celiac disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and more.
Omega-3s are linked to a reduced risk of many autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
These fatty acids can also help treat ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and lupus.
10. Omega-3s Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural body process that responds to infections and damage in your body, such as bacteria and viruses.
However, sometimes the bodies defense system triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. Creating chronic, or long-term, inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can contribute to almost every Western illness, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.
Studies have consistently observed a connection between higher omega-3 intake and reduced inflammation by effectively reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation, such as inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines.
11. Omega-3s Can Reduce Symptoms Of ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
Many studies find that omega-3 supplements can reduce the symptoms of ADHD, and several more studies note that children with ADHD have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids than their healthy peers.
Researchers have found recently that fish oil supplements are one of the most promising treatments for ADHD.
12. Omega-3s Can Decrease Risk For Heart Disease
The two leading causes of death in the world are heart attacks and strokes, and decades ago, researchers observed that fish-eating communities – later linked to omega-3 consumption.
There have been numerous heart health benefits linked to omega-3s since then including:
- Decreased Inflammation
- Preventing Arterial Plaque
- Keeping Blood Platelets From Clotting
- Raising “Good” Cholesterol (HDL)
- Reducing Blood Pressure Levels
- Reducing Triglycerides
13. Omega-3s Can Promote Healthier Brain In Infants
Omega-3s are crucial for brain development and growth in infants.
DHA accounts for 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in your brain, so it’s no surprise that most infants fed DHA-fortified formula have better eyesight than those without.
Making sure to get enough omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy can result in a child with higher intelligence, better communication, improved social skills, fewer behavioral problems, and a decreased risk of developmental delay.