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18 Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and side effects

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Discover the 18 shocking health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and side effects.

Omega-3 acids are incredibly important, they have been proven to have many properties, uses, and benefits that help the body develop full health.

Few nutrients have been studied as extensively as omega-3 fatty acids.

18 shocking health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids


This is a family of essential omega-3 acids that play an important role in the human body, we cannot produce them on our own, so we must remove them from the diet.

Omega-3 acids are polyunsaturated, which means that they have several double bonds in the chemical structure.


The three most important types are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

ALA is mainly found in plants, while DHA and EPA are mainly found in animal foods and algae.

Omega-3 acids are necessary for the optimal function of the human body, and they can also provide numerous powerful health benefits.

Common foods that are rich in omega-3 acids include fatty fish, fish oils, flax seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts, to name a few.

For people who do not consume much of these foods, an omega-3 supplement, such as fish oil, is often recommended.

Types of omega-3 acids


There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, DHA, and EPA.

1.- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

• Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in the diet.

• It is 18 carbons long (3).

• It is not active in the human body and needs to be converted into active forms, EPA and DHA.

• However, this conversion process is inefficient. Only a small percentage of ALA is converted to the active forms (4, 5, 6).

• ALA is found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and soybeans, to name a few.


2.- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

• Eicosapentaenoic acid is a 20-carbon long omega-3 fatty acid.

• It is mainly found in animal products, such as fatty fish and fish oil.

• However, some microalgae also contain EPA.

• It has several functions in the human body. Some of this can be converted to DHA.

3.- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

• Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the most important omega-3 fatty acid in the human body. It is 22 carbons long.

• It is a key structural component of the brain, the retina of the eyes, and many important parts of the body.


• Like EPA, it is found primarily in animal products such as fatty fish and fish oil.

• Grass-fed meat, eggs, and dairy products also tend to contain significant amounts.

• Vegetarians and vegans often lack DHA and must take microalgae supplements, which contain DHA (8, 9).

12 Foods That Contain Omega-3 Acids

1.- Mackerel (4107 mg per serving)

2.- Salmon (4023 mg per serving)

3.- Cod liver oil (2664 mg per serving)


4.- Herring (3181 mg per serving)

5.- Oysters (565 mg per serving)

6.- Sardines (2205 mg per serving)

7.- Anchovies (951 mg per serving)

8.- Caviar (1086 mg per serving)

9.- Flaxseeds (2338 mg per serving)


10.-Chia seeds (4915 mg per serving)

11.- Walnuts (2542 mg per serving)

12.- Soy (1241 mg per serving)

18 healthy benefits of omega-3 acids


1.- Fight depression and anxiety

• Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world.

• Symptoms include sadness, lethargy, and a general loss of interest in life.


• Anxiety is also a very common disorder and is characterized by constant worry and nervousness.

• Interestingly, studies have found that people who regularly consume omega-3s are less likely to be depressed.

• Also, when people with depression or anxiety start taking omega-3 supplements, their symptoms improve.

• There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA, and DHA. Of the three, EPA appears to be the best for fighting depression.

• One study even found EPA to be as effective against depression as Procaz, an antidepressant drug.

• Omega-3 supplements can help prevent and treat depression and anxiety.


• EPA appears to be the most effective in fighting depression.

2.- Benefits of omega-3 for eyes

• DHA, a type of omega-3, is a major structural component of the brain and the retina of the eye.

• When you don’t get enough DHA, vision problems can arise.

• Interestingly, getting enough omega-3s has been linked to a lower risk of macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of permanent damage and blindness in the world.

3.- Benefits of omega-3 for brain

• Omega-3s May Promote Brain Health During Pregnancy and Early Life

• Omega-3s are crucial for brain growth and development in babies.


• DHA represents 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain and 60% in the retina of the eye.

• Therefore, it is not surprising that babies fed a formula fortified with DHA have better vision than babies fed a formula without it.

4.-Benefits of omega-3 during pregnancy

Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy has been associated with numerous benefits for the child in terms of:

• Higher intelligence

• Better communication and social skills

• fewer behavior problems


• Decreased risk of developmental delay

• Decreased risk of ADHD, autism, and cerebral palsy

• Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy and early life is crucial for a child’s development.

• The deficiency is related to low intelligence, vision problems, and an increased risk of various health problems.

5.- Fight heart disease

• Omega-3s May Improve Heart Disease Risk Factors

• Heart attacks and strokes are the leading causes of death in the world.


• Decades ago, researchers observed that communities that ate fish had very low rates of these diseases.

• This was later found to be partially due to omega-3 consumption.

• Since then, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have numerous benefits for heart health.

6.- Reduces the risk of various diseases

• Omega-3 acids can cause a significant reduction in triglycerides, generally in the 15-30% range.

• They can also lower blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure.

• Omega-3s can raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol levels.


• They can prevent platelets from clumping together.

• This helps prevent harmful blood clots from forming.

• Helps keep arteries smooth and free from damage, omega-3s help prevent plaque that can constrict and harden the arteries.

• They reduce the production of some substances released during the inflammatory response.


• For some people, omega-3s can also lower LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol.

7.- Reduces ADHD symptoms in children


• Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

• Several studies have found that children with ADHD have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, compared to their healthy peers.

• Additionally, numerous studies have found that omega-3 supplements can reduce ADHD symptoms.

• Omega-3s help improve inattention and the ability to complete tasks.

• They also decrease hyperactivity, impulsivity, restlessness, and aggression.

• Researchers recently evaluated the evidence behind different treatments for ADHD.


• They considered fish oil supplements to be one of the most promising treatments.

• Omega-3 supplements can reduce ADHD symptoms in children.

8.- Helps reduce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome

• Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions.

• It includes central obesity (belly fat), high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, and low HDL levels.

• It is a major public health problem, as it increases the risk of developing many other diseases. These include heart disease and diabetes.

• Omega-3 acids can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, and improve risk factors for heart disease in people with metabolic syndrome.


9.- Fight diseases

• In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakes healthy cells for foreign cells and begins to attack them.

• Type 1 diabetes is a good example. In this disease, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

• Omega-3 acids can help fight some of these diseases, and they can be especially important during the first few years of life.

• Studies show that getting enough omega-3s during the first year of life is linked to a reduced risk of many autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diabetes in adults, and multiple sclerosis.

• Omega-3 acids have also been shown to help treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis.

10.- Improve mental disorders

• Omega-3s can improve mental disorders


• Low levels of omega-3s have been reported in people with psychiatric disorders.

• Studies have shown that omega-3 supplements can reduce the frequency of mood swings and relapses in people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

• It can also decrease violent behavior.

12.- Benefits of omega-3 for cancer

• Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the Western world, and omega-3 fatty acids have been said to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

• Interestingly, studies have shown that people who consume the most omega-3s have up to a 55% lower risk of colon cancer.

• Additionally, omega-3 consumption has been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. However, not all studies agree on this.


13.- Reduces asthma in children

• Omega-3s May Reduce Asthma in Children

• Asthma is a chronic lung disease with symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing.

• Severe asthma attacks can be very dangerous.

• They are caused by inflammation and swelling in the airways of the lungs.

• Omega-3 intake has been associated with a lower risk of asthma in both children and young adults.

14.-Benefits of omega-3 for fatty liver

• Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is more common than you think.


• It has increased with the obesity epidemic and is now the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the Western world.

• Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has been shown to reduce liver fat and inflammation in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

15.- Improve bone and joint health

• Osteoporosis and arthritis are two common disorders that affect the skeletal system.

• Studies indicate that omega-3s can improve bone strength by increasing the amount of calcium in the bones.

• This should lead to a reduced risk of osteoporosis.

• Omega-3 acids can also help with arthritis.


• Patients taking omega-3 acid supplements have reported reduced joint pain and increased grip strength.

16.- Relieves menstrual pain

• Period pain occurs in the lower abdomen and pelvis and often radiates to the lower back and thighs.

• It can have significant negative effects on a person’s quality of life.

• However, studies have repeatedly shown that women who consume the most omega-3s have milder menstrual pain.

• One study even found that an omega-3 acid supplement was more effective than ibuprofen in treating severe pain during menstruation.

17.- Benefits of omega-3 for sleep

• Good sleep is one of the foundations of optimal health.


• Studies show that lack of sleep is linked to many diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and depression.

• Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with sleep problems in children and obstructive sleep apnea in adults.

• Low levels of DHA have also been linked to lower levels of the hormone melatonin, which helps you fall asleep.

• Studies in children and adults have shown that supplementing with omega-3s increases the duration and quality of sleep.

18.- Benefits of omega-3 for skin

• Omega-3 fats are good for your skin.

• DHA is a structural component of the skin.


• It is responsible for the health of cell membranes, which make up a large part of the skin.

• A healthy cell membrane results in smooth, moist, supple, and wrinkle-free skin.

• Managing oil production in the skin.

• Managing hydration of the skin.

• Preventing hyperkeratinization of hair follicles (the small red bumps that are often seen on the upper arms).

• Preventing premature aging of the skin.


• Preventing acne.

• Excellent sunscreen.

Side effects of omega-3 acids

Omega 3 fatty acids can cause side effects, you must tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

• burps

• acidity

• stomach pain or discomfort


• articulations pain

• vomiting

• constipation

• diarrhea

• sickness

• change in taste


Frequent questions

What are Omega-3 acids?

• Omega-3 fatty acids are very important facts that we must obtain from the diet.

• However, most people don’t know what they are.

• Omega-3 is short for omega-3 fatty acids.

• Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of important facts that we must obtain from the diet.

• The three main types are ALA, EPA, and DHA.


• The naming convention “omega” has to do with the placement of double bonds in the fatty acid chain.


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