Learn more about the biggest benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, including support for healthy aging, heart health, and cognitive function, plus how to get enough with fish oil or vegetarian sources.
The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Could there be one nutrient that supports heart, mood, joints, and intestinal health? The answer is yes and the nutrient is omega-3 fatty acid. And unfortunately, most Americans are deficient in it.
While many Americans have boosted their omega fat intake by following healthier versions of keto or paleo diets, the majority of us are at risk of not getting enough omega-3.
Here’s why you need omega-3 fatty acids in your diet:
- They make up 8 percent of the brain and are the building block for 100 billion neurons.
- They may increase beneficial brain activity, especially in areas responsible for happiness and mental health.
- The support memory and cognitive health.
- They support intestinal health and the gut-brain connection.
- They support heart health.
- They support joint health.
- A deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to lower IQ scores in children.
Omega-3s and Your Lymphatic System
One of the best ways to care for aging lymphatic channels—which support healthy cellular detoxification, the delivery of healthy fats for cellular energy, and a robust immune response—is to feed the body with high-quality, lymph-moving omega-3 fats.
In a handful of recent studies, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil showed significant support for healthy lymphatic function.
Studies have also found that omega-3 fats help flush toxic material from the intestinal tract, via lymphatic channels—a process that can help maintain intestinal health and integrity. Lack of intestinal integrity is directly linked to many common health concerns, including food intolerances and digestive imbalances.
As the body ages, less omega-3 fatty acids are found in the brain. New research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil support healthy lymph circulation in the brain, which may help explain some of the longevity and cognitive benefits associated with fish oil supplementation.
See also Fish Oils Boost Lymphatic Flow
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fats
While the awareness of eating good fats has increased over the last three decades, intake of processed fats has changed for the worse, resulting in an increased risk of weight and metabolic health concerns.
There are two common kinds of essential fatty acids: omega-6 and omega-3.
Omega-6 fats, which are often found in seed oils and highly processed vegetable cooking oils, are not inherently bad until they are bleached, boiled, and deodorized during processing. Processing renders them more stable, which makes them useful as a preservative to extend the shelf-life of food.
Omega-3 is naturally found in fish and algae, as well as in many seeds.
Research tell us that we used to get omega-6 to omega-3 in a ratio of 1:1. Today that ratio is a dangerous 20:1, suggesting the need to reduce the intake of processed vegetable oils and increase the intake of healthy omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flax, or chia seeds.
Additionally, modern digestive health, which tends to be pretty poor, may compromise the breakdown of good essential fatty acids.
A poor digestive system may also affect absorption of omega-3-fatty acids.
See also How Fish Oil Helps You Live Longer
Access the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fish Oil vs. Vegetarian Sources
Research in favor of fish oil supplementation continues to mount.
The benefits of ingesting omega-3s from fish for cardiovascular health, mood stability, stress management, blood sugar regulation, weight balancing, and longevity (to name just a few) are well documented. For example, omega-3 fatty acids can inhibit excessive production of the stress hormone adrenaline.
In terms of brain health, omega-3s are essential components of brain cell membranes, which support healthy nerve transmission. People with mood and cognitive concerns may have low levels of omega-3s in the brain.
Top Five Vegetarian Sources of Omega-3s
The following vegetarian sources of omega-3s contain ALA, a known precursor to DHA and EPA. But vegetarians seem to have overall good cardiovascular health, indicating that the benefits vegetarians receive from converting ALA to DHA and EPA is enough.
- Flax seeds and flax seed oil
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
Seasonal Eating and Omega-3s
Each fall and winter, nature attempts to restore proteins and fats to cold-weather diets, supporting heart, joint, and mental health, while rebuilding our endurance reserves.
In winter, the amount of dietary omega-3 fatty acids available naturally increases with the harvest of nuts and seeds, as well as with the migration of many omega-3-rich Arctic fish that move south each winter. This migration brings cold-water fish to southern shores, providing a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids in the cold winters when they are needed the most for insulation, endurance, and energy reserves.
See also Vegetarian Omega-3 Sources
What to Look for in a Fish Oil Supplement
There are a few basics to be aware of when shopping for healthy fish oil supplements:
Avoid Heavy Metals
All fish oil supplements must be tested for heavy metals, due to heavy metal toxicity in our oceans.
Eating fish used to be a great source of omega-3s, but today, we must limit the amount of fish we eat and be careful that the source of the fish is heavy-metal free.
If you rely on eating fish, instead of taking supplements, to get your omega-3s, it may be difficult to ensure you are getting heavy-metal free fish. There is no testing performed and no way to know where that fish fed and on what. Fish farms have other issues like antibiotics, chemical exposure, and unnatural food.
On the other hand, optimal fish oils are sourced from small cold-water fish, including wild-caught sardines and anchovies, and are molecularly distilled to remove all heavy metals, rancid fats, bacteria, molds, and yeast.
At LifeSpa, every batch of our Mini Omega 3X is individually tested and certified.
Look for Fish Oils that are Easier to Absorb
After five decades of mass consumption of processed foods and refined and cooked vegetable oils, many Americans have compromised pancreatic and gallbladder function and overall weakened digestive strength. Consequently, many have difficulty breaking down traditional fish oils, requiring them to take massive dosages to achieve clinical results.
The patented delivery system that LifeSpa uses for EPA and DHA fish oils has increased absorption by a heavy-hitting 300 percent. This delivery system allows for significantly lower dosages, smaller capsules, and no fish taste.
Mini Omega 3X also uses monoglyceride instead of triglyceride fish oil molecules, which are, by nature, in a readily absorbable form and bypass the body’s normal fat digestion process in the liver and pancreas. Meaning, LifeSpa’s Mini Omega 3X fish oil soft gels deliver EPA and DHA directly into the bloodstream at three times the absorption rate.
Experiment with Mini Omega 3X and foods naturally rich in omega-3, and let us know what you think!