17 Science Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Article Courtesy of: Authority Nutrition
Omega-3 acids are an important part of your daily nutrient intake and they have a range of beneficial effects on your brain, body and eyes.
Did you know that Omega-3 fatty acids are one the most thoroughly studied nutrients and as a result a number of key benefits have been discovered:
1. May improve eye health, including lessen dry eye symptoms
DHA, a type of Omega-3, is a major structural component of the brain and retina of the eye. Vision problems may arise in people who do not have enough DHA. Getting enough omega-3 has been linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration which is one of the world’s leading causes of permanent eye damage and blindness.
(Research courtesy of National Center for Biotechnology Information)
The Bottom Line: An Omega-3 fatty acid called DHA is a major structural component of the retina of the eye. It may help prevent macular degeneration, which can cause vision impairment and blindness.
2. May promote brain health during pregnancy and early life
Omega-3s are crucial for brain growth and development in infants. DHA accounts for 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain, and 60% in the retina of the eye. Infants fed a DHA-fortified formula have better eyesight than infants fed a formula without it. Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy has also been associated with numerous benefits, including:
Better communication and social skills.
Less behavioral problems.
Decreased risk of developmental delay.
Decreased risk of ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy.
Bottom Line: Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy and early life is crucial for the development of the child. Deficiency is linked to low intelligence, poor eyesight and an increased risk of several health problems.
3. May improve heart disease risk factors
Heart attacks and strokes are the world’s leading causes of death. Many years ago researchers observed that fish-eating communities had very low rates of these diseases and 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.
Triglycerides: Omega-3s can cause a major reduction in triglycerides, usually in the range of 15–30%
Blood pressure: Omega-3s can reduce blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure
HDL-cholesterol: Omega-3s can raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol levels
Blood clots: Omega-3s can keep blood platelets from clumping together. This helps prevent the formation of harmful blood clots
Plaque: By keeping the arteries smooth and free from damage, omega-3s help prevent the plaque that can restrict and harden the arteries
Inflammation: Omega-3s reduce the production of some substances released during the inflammatory response
Bottom Line: Omega-3s have been found to improve numerous heart disease risk factors. However, omega-3 supplements do not reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
4. May help with anxiety and depression
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world. Interestingly, studies have found that people who consume omega-3s regularly are less likely to be depressed. What’s more, when people with depression or anxiety start taking omega-3 supplements, their symptoms get better.
Bottom Line: Omega-3 supplements may help prevent and treat depression and anxiety.
5. May reduce metabolic syndrome symptoms
Metabolic syndrome includes central obesity (belly fat), high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high triglycerides and low HDL levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, and improve heart disease risk factors in people with metabolic syndrome.
Bottom Line: Omega-3s can have numerous benefits for people with metabolic syndrome. They can reduce insulin resistance, fight inflammation and improve several heart disease risk factors.
To continue reading in more detail about the 17 benefits of Omega-3 please visit The Authority Nutrition website.
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Be sure to also check out previous articles in our blog such as “Did you know that NOT all Omega-3 fish oils are the same?“