The human body is an amazing thing – but it can not make all of its nutrients on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids are among those nutrients we can only get from the food we eat.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death around the world, representing 32% of deaths across the globe. Omega-3s play a crucial role in lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease – unfortunately, 68% of adults do not consume enough omega-3 fatty acids.
Where do Omega-3 fatty Acids Come From?
In a simple sense, omega-3s are most commonly found in the fish we eat.
But the omega-3s do not start with the fish we eat. The three most common types of DHA, EPA, DPA start their journey to us in the food chain via being synthesized by algae, phytoplankton, and other marine organisms. From there, those smaller organisms are consumed by larger fish. The fatty acid is then stored in their body fat, liver, and blubber that make up the fish we eat.
For this reason, fatty fish (most commonly salmon) are among the leading sources of salmon.
There is another type of omega-3, ALA, that is found in nuts and seeds. The body can convert these ALA omega-3s to DHA and EPA, but the conversion process decreases their nutritional value and as a result, makes them inferior to the fish-based omega-3s.
What Benefits Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Provide?
Chronic inflammation can cause your body a lot of trouble. One of your best tools to fight inflammation is omega-3s because of how they aid in lowering C-reactive protein and interleukin-6.
If you need to lower your cholesterol level, omega-3s can help lower “bad cholesterol.” Though omega-3s can promote lower cholesterol, recent research has not indicated that consumption of omega-3 supplements decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. The important point of distinction here is that the study followed supplements and not fish or other natural sources of omega-3s.
Your blood vessels will also thank you as omega-3s can increase your bioavailability of nitric oxide – a fancy way of saying it can help reduce blood pressure.
What is the Difference Between Omega-3 Supplements and Natural Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Food?
You should talk to your provider to see if an Omega-3 supplement is right for you. Ultimately, it is always best to get your nutrients through your diet rather than supplements when possible.
Keep in mind that not all supplements are created equal. We carry supplements at Integracare from brands our staff trust and personally use. We hand-pick our supplements because each supplement brand can vary in effectiveness as supplement brands are not held to the same FDA requirements as drug companies.