Omega-3 is a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that protect cell membranes and internal organs from destruction. Without these compounds, the full functioning of the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems, adequate synthesis of tissue hormones, prostaglandins, and the correct metabolism of essential substances are impossible. In addition, they suppress inflammatory processes, improve the condition of the joints, fight emotional disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome.
Let us consider in more detail what the acids of the omega-3 class are and what they contain.
Omega-3 class lipids belong to the group of essential fats, since the human body does not synthesize them on its own. Therefore, they should regularly come with food.
The main representatives of the omega-3 LCD:
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Included in the gray matter of the brain, cell membranes, retina, sperm, testicles. In addition, DHA plays a primary role in the formation of the nervous system of an infant.
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Stimulates the regeneration of cell membranes, normalizes the mechanisms of lipid transport along the bloodstream, activates the immune system, improves the absorption of fats in the digestive tract, increases the body’s antioxidant functions.
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Fats of this type help in the fight against stress, bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, skin problems, hair, nails (dryness, seborrhea, stratification). In addition, they are a construction substrate for the synthesis of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic fatty acids.
EPA and DHA lipids are found in marine tissue. They are most useful for the human body, since many enzymes are not required for their assimilation, unlike plant foods enriched with ALA.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated triglycerides are essential nutrients for humans because they perform bioregulatory, structural, energy, and storage functions.
- Potentiate the synthesis of tissue hormones (eicosanoids) involved in all biochemical reactions in the cell.
- Reduces the concentration of “bad” cholesterol, including low-density lipoprotein. As a result, the risk of atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and cerebral stroke is reduced.
- They are involved in the formation of male germ cells (spermatozoa), brain neuronal membranes, and retinal membranes.
- Regulate the synthesis of hormones and steroids, including testosterone.
- Participate in the transport of oxygen to the tissues.
- They improve the contractile function of the heart muscle.
- They regulate the metabolism of the hormone of joy (serotonin), reduce psycho-emotional stress, prevent the risk of depression.
- Maintain the elasticity of the joints, reduce the intensity of pain in arthritis or arthrosis.
- Increase insulin sensitivity (by slowing the progress of the lump in the intestinal tract).
- Reduce inflammation in the body, preventing the development of allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases.
- Increase cognitive functions of the brain (memory, attention, learning);
- Suppress excessive appetite.
- Improve the functional state of the dermis.
- Increase the immune status of the body.
- Potentiate the growth of lean muscle mass, accelerate the “leaving” of the fat layer.
- Increase neuro-muscular function, endurance, general muscle tone.
- Inhibit the synthesis of cortisol (stress hormone).
In addition, fish oil contains vitamins A, E, D, which improve the condition of the skin, support vision, reduce nervous excitability, improve the elasticity of cell membranes, and strengthen bone tissue.
The daily requirement for omega-3 acids is 1 – 2 grams, depending on gender, age, health, region of residence.
During pregnancy, menopause, bodybuilding, the daily norm increases to 2,5 – 3 grams, and with reduced body weight to 3 – 4 grams. The upper safe limit for compound consumption is 8 grams.
In addition, the need for healthy fats increases with:
- depressive and autoimmune conditions (thyroiditis, lupus erythematosus, Alzheimer’s disease);
- in the cold season;
- intense sports activities;
- oncological diseases;
- the threat of heart attack or stroke;
- in childhood and old age.
For the treatment of functional disorders, apply 2 – 4 grams of omega-3 per day. In this case, give preference to the use of concentrates of animal origin (EPA, DHA). Daily portion is distributed on 3 reception.
Benefit and harm
To complete the body’s work, it is important to consume at least – 0,65 omega gram per day. If the lipid rate per day is below the critical minimum, fatty deficiency develops.
Factors provoking a lack of essential triglycerides in the body:
- prolonged fasting;
- unbalanced diet, including vegetarianism and raw foods;
- adherence to rigid monodiets;
- digestive tract dysfunction.
Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency:
- constant thirst;
- dry skin;
- brittle nails;
- hair loss;
- prolonged depression, apathy;
- allergic skin rashes;
- violation of the chair, constipation;
- pains in the joints, muscles, tendons;
- slow healing of wounds, abrasions, scratches;
- increased blood pressure;
- deterioration of memory, attention;
- fatigue, weakness, loss of performance;
- mental retardation (in infants and preschoolers);
- decreased immunity, frequent colds.
Remember, the lack of omega-3 in the body threatens neuropsychiatric pathologies, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular dysfunctions, hormonal disorders.
However, despite the fact that overdose of polyunsaturated lipids is extremely rare, uncontrolled intake of fats can be harmful to health.
Signs of excess PUFA:
- prolonged diarrhea;
- low blood pressure;
- digestive tract dysfunctions;
- decrease in blood clotting, and as a result, hemorrhages in the joints (hemarthrosis), internal and external bleeding.
Contraindications to the reception of substances:
- tuberculosis (active phase).
In addition, the possibility of co-administration of essential fats with oral anticoagulants or fibrates, it is important to discuss with the family doctor.
Considering that omega-3 fats exhibit hypolipidemic, immunomodulating, anticoagulant (blood thinning) and antihypertensive actions, they are successfully used in pharmacological practice.
- obesity of any degree;
- chronic lesions of the joints;
- hypertonic disease;
- lack of body weight;
- brain vascular diseases;
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- allergic skin diseases (psoriasis, eczema);
- damage to the limb vessels;
- autoimmune diseases (nephropathy, thyroiditis, lupus erythematosus);
- cardiovascular pathologies (arrhythmia, ischemia, myocardial infarction);
- depressive conditions;
- short bowel syndrome.
In addition, these lipids are used for the prevention of cancer tumors (in complex therapy).
How to take omega-3 (in capsules)?
Fats of animal origin (DCG and EPA) are used to treat functional disorders. The therapeutic dosage of essential lipids is 2,5 – 3 grams per day. Capsules of fish oil are taken immediately after a meal, washed down with 100 milliliters of pure water. The daily portion is divided into three equivalent receptions.
Consider how to choose a high-quality concentrate of polyunsaturated fats.
Food biocomplexes with omega-3
On the labels of lipid preparations, the total amount of fish oil in the capsule is most often indicated. However, for the treatment of functional disorders, it is important to choose compounds that contain a high concentration of EPA and DHA.
- Omega-3, Triple Strength (Solgar). The drug contains a large portion of omega-3 fatty acids harvested from the muscles of cold-water fish species. The total volume of polyunsaturated lipids in a capsule is 882 milligram (504 milligram EPA and 378 milligram DHA).
- Omega-800 (Madre Labs). Organic fish oil is available in soft gelatin capsules. Biocomplex includes: docosahexaenoic acid (320 milligram) and eicosapentaenoic acid (480 milligram) acid.
- Ultra Omega-3 (Now Foods). The composition of this tool includes 750 milligrams of triglycerides omega-3 (500 milligrams EPA, 250 milligrams DKG). In addition, each capsule supplements enclosed in a special enteric coating (to prevent the appearance of an unpleasant aftertaste, belching, nausea).
- Omega-3 (Natural Factors). The gelatin capsule contains 600 milligrams of polyunsaturated lipids (200 milligrams of DHA, 400 milligrams of EPA) or in liquid form.
To maintain health, the duration of supplementation is 3 – 4 a month. The frequency of treatment – 1 – 2 once a year.
Considering that essential fats are not synthesized by the intestinal microflora, it is important to daily control the volume of their intake.
Table No. 1 “Food sources of” animal “omega-3”
|What is contained||The number of EPA and DHA in 100 grams of product, grams|
|Sardine fish oil||26-30|
|Salmon fish oil||10|
|Caviar black, red||6-7|
|Sardine, Atlantic herring||1,5-2,4|
|Salmon, Atlantic Salmon||1,2-2,4|
|Flounder, pollock, hake||0,5|
|Crayfish, crabs, clams, scallop||0,3-0,4|
Table “Products containing vegetable omega three”
|Source of alpha linolenic acid||The concentration of ALA in 100 grams of food, grams|
|Peanut Leaves (Fresh)||50|
|Flax seeds (fresh)||18|
|Oil of a walnut||11|
|Wheat germ oil||7|
|Seeds of chia||5|
|Raspberry, strawberry, avocado||0,15|
|Cabbage (cauliflower, broccoli)||0,1|
Remember, omega-3 compounds are easily destroyed by the action of the sun, oxygen, and high temperatures. Therefore, to replenish the daily needs of the body in essential fats, it is advisable to use lightly salted, pickled fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, vegetable oil, roasted nuts.
To preserve nutrients, products containing unsaturated fatty acids are stored in a cool place in a tightly closed container.
Omega-3 for children
Omega-3 fatty acids play a primary role in the formation of the nervous, immune and hormonal systems of the child, as well as the correct ontogenesis of the brain, maintaining the functionality of the visual apparatus, and laying the molars. Interestingly, in the first year of life, the baby receives all the essential nutrients, including triglycerides, together with the mother’s milk. However, in 90% women during lactation there is an acute shortage of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the body. As a consequence, a child from an early age is experiencing lipid deficiency.
Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency in childhood:
- diathesis, atopic dermatitis (due to impaired functioning of the immune system);
- decrease in cognitive abilities (performance, concentration, memory);
- dry skin;
- allergic reactions;
- deterioration of vision.
Interestingly, the brain of a child develops up to 14 years. Therefore, it is important for children from the first year of life to consume at least 1 a gram of omega-3 per day. For this, the daily menu of the crumbs is enriched with fruits, vegetables, seafood, linseed oil. In addition, the daily need for fats is filled with fish oil concentrates. However, for babies up to three years old it is difficult to swallow a large capsule. Therefore, the question arises: how to drink drugs? To solve these problems, manufacturers have created special mixtures, produced in the form of syrups, candies, chewing lozenges.
Popular children’s complexes with omega-3:
- Omega-3 for children from Oriflame (Wellness, Sweden). The preparation includes fish oil, vitamin E, lemon oil, antioxidants. The tool is produced in the form of a syrup.
- “Smart Omega-3 for children” (Delta Medical, Switzerland). The biocomplex contains fish oil, beeswax, vitamins A, C, D3. The composition is made in capsules that can be chewed.
- “Supradin Kids with Choline and Omega-3” (Bayer, Germany). The medicine includes: docosahexaenoic acid, nicotinamide, cholecalciferol, vitamins A, E, C, B4, B6, B12. Product release form – marmalade sweets.
- “Multi-tabs Intello Kids with Omega-3” (Ferrosan, Denmark). The drug consists of: fish oil concentrate, including EPA and DHA, tocopherol, vitamin C. The children’s composition is produced in the form of chewable capsules with the taste of black currant.
- “Pikovit Omega-3” (KRKA, Slovenia). The multivitamin complex contains fish oil, B vitamins (thiamine, folic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, cyanocobalamin), retinol, tocopherol, cholecalciferol, dexpanthenol, ascorbic acid. The release form of the additive is syrup.
Remember, the pediatrician determines the dosage and regimen of fat intake on the basis of the health of the baby.
Omega-3 for women
Given that polyunsaturated fats “responsible” for metabolic processes in the body, the elasticity of cell membranes and the correct operation of the brain, it is important for every woman to consume at least 1 – 1,5 grams of pure omega-3 per day. When pregnancy occurs, the daily need for triglycerides increases 2 times.
Consider the benefits of fish oil for women:
- Reduces menstrual pain, reduces the number of “tides”, improves mood in the “critical days”, has anti-inflammatory effect.
- Reduces anxiety, improves mood, increases the effectiveness of antidepressants.
- Slows down skin sagging and wrinkles.
- It prevents the development of osteoporosis, especially during menopause.
- Stabilizes “hormonal surges” during menopause.
- Reduces, by 30%, the risk of developing lumps in the breast, as well as the likelihood of the appearance of tumors and polyps in the colon (this effect does not apply to men).
In addition, fish oil is an indispensable nutritional factor for menopause. Given that menopause is accompanied by impaired mineral and fat metabolism, women after 55 have developed vascular pathologies, including endothelial dysfunction. At the same time, the rheological parameters of the blood change, as a result of which its coagulability increases.
To prevent the development of thrombosis, cardiovascular pathologies, metabolic disorders, as well as alleviate the unpleasant symptoms of menopause (heartbeat, hot flashes, night sweats), the daily food ration is enriched with foods rich in essential fats or organic biocomplexes.
It is especially important to take drugs containing omega-3 for overweight women who are planning a pregnancy, who are “on a diet” and are predisposed to cardiovascular diseases.
So, omega-3 is a class of essential lipids that exhibit pronounced anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, immunomodulatory, antioxidant and anti-lipid effects. Polyunsaturated lipids are not synthesized by the human body, so it is extremely important to obtain them from the outside. To do this, in the daily menu include oily sea fish or seafood, linseed oil, fresh herbs. In addition, 1 – 2 times a year, you need to drink biocomplexes that contain “animals” omega-3 (EPA and DHA).
The optimal rate of fat intake is – 1 grams per day. If dry skin, dandruff, acne, psoriasis or eczema are present, the daily portion of acids is increased to 2 – 3 grams.
Remember, before taking lipid concentrates, it is important to evaluate what are the benefits and harms of their use. People with congestive heart failure, hemorrhagic syndrome, unstable angina, allergies to seafood omega-3 drugs can be taken only under the supervision of a physician.