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 omega-3 acids are and what they contain.
Lipids of the omega-3 class 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). It is part of the gray matter of the brain, cell membranes, ocular retina, sperm, testicles. In addition, DHA plays a paramount role in the formation of the nervous system of the infant.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It stimulates the regeneration of cell membranes, normalizes the mechanisms of lipid transport in the bloodstream, activates the immune system, improves the absorption of fats in the digestive tract, and increases the antioxidant functions of the body.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Fats of this type help in the fight against stress, bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, problems with skin, hair, nails (dryness, seborrhea, stratification). In addition, they are a building substrate for the synthesis of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic fatty acids.
EPA and DHA lipids are contained in the tissues of marine inhabitants. They are most useful for the human body, because their absorption does not require many enzymes, unlike plant foods enriched with ALA.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated triglycerides are the most important 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.
- Reduce the concentration of "bad" cholesterol, including low-density lipoproteins. As a result, the risk of developing atherosclerosis of the vessels, myocardial infarction, and cerebral stroke decreases.
- Participate in the formation of male germ cells (sperm), membranes of neurons in the brain, and membranes of the retina.
- Regulate the synthesis of hormones and steroids, including testosterone.
- Participate in the transport of oxygen to tissues.
- Improve the contractile function of the heart muscle.
- They regulate the metabolism of the hormone of joy (serotonin), reduce psycho-emotional stress, and prevent the risk of depression.
- They maintain joint elasticity and reduce the intensity of pain in arthritis or arthrosis.
- Increase insulin sensitivity (by slowing the progression of the lump in the intestinal tract).
- Reduce inflammatory processes 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 dry muscle mass, accelerate the "departure" of the fat layer.
- They increase neuro-muscular function, endurance, and the general tone of muscles.
- Suppress 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 to 2 grams, depending on gender, age, health, region of residence. During pregnancy, menopause, bodybuilding, the daily norm rises 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;
- atherosclerosis of blood vessels;
- oncological diseases;
- the threat of a heart attack or stroke;
- in childhood and old age.
For the treatment of functional disorders, apply 2 to 4 grams of omega-3 per day. In this case, give preference to the use of concentrates of animal origin (EPA, DHA). The daily portion is divided into 3 doses.
Benefit and harm
For proper functioning of the body, it is important to consume at least 0.65 grams of omega per day. If the lipid norm per day is below a critical minimum, fatty deficiency develops.
Factors that provoke a lack of essential triglycerides in the body:
- prolonged fasting;
- an unbalanced diet, including vegetarianism and a raw food diet;
- compliance with rigid mono-diets;
- digestive tract dysfunction.
Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency:
- constant thirst;
- dry skin;
- fragility of nails;
- hair loss;
- prolonged depression, apathy;
- allergic skin rashes;
- violation of the stool, constipation;
- pain in the joints, muscles, tendons;
- slow healing of wounds, abrasions, scratches;
- increase in blood pressure;
- memory impairment, attention;
- fatigue, weakness, loss of working capacity;
- mental retardation (in infants and preschoolers);
- decreased immunity, frequent colds.
Remember, the lack of omega-3 in the body threatens with neuropsychiatric pathologies, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular dysfunctions, hormonal disorders.
However, despite the fact that an overdose of polyunsaturated lipids is extremely rare, uncontrolled intake of fats can be harmful to health.
Signs of an excess of PUFA:
- prolonged diarrhea;
- low blood pressure;
- digestive tract dysfunction;
- a decrease in blood coagulability, and as a result, hemorrhages in the joints (hemarthrosis), internal and external bleeding.
Contraindications to the intake of substances:
- individual intolerance;
- tuberculosis (in the active phase).
In addition, the possibility of co-administration of essential fats with oral anticoagulants or fibrates is important to discuss with your family doctor.
Given that omega-3 fats exhibit lipid-lowering, immunomodulating, anticoagulant (blood thinning) and antihypertensive effects, they are successfully used in pharmacological practice.
Indications for use:
- obesity of any degree;
- chronic joint damage;
- hypertonic disease;
- lack of body weight;
- cerebrovascular disease;
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- allergic skin diseases (psoriasis, eczema);
- damage to the vessels of the limbs;
- autoimmune diseases (nephropathy, thyroiditis, lupus erythematosus);
- cardiovascular pathologies (arrhythmia, ischemia, myocardial infarction);
- depressive states;
- short bowel syndrome.
In addition, these lipids are used for the prevention of cancer (in combination therapy).
How to take omega-3 (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 polyunsaturated fat concentrate.
Food Biocomplexes with Omega-3
On the labels of lipid-containing 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 formulations that contain a high concentration of EPA and DHA.
- Omega 3, Triple Strength (Solgar). The preparation contains a large portion of omega-3 fatty acids extracted from the muscles of cold-water fish species. The total volume of polyunsaturated lipids in the capsule is 882 milligrams (504 milligrams of EPA and 378 milligrams of DHA).
- Omega-800 (Madre Labs). Organic fish oil is available in soft gelatine capsules. The biocomplex includes: docosahexaenoic (320 milligrams) and eicosapentaenoic (480 milligrams) acids.
- Ultra Omega 3 (Now Foods). The composition of this tool includes 750 milligrams of omega-3 triglycerides (500 milligrams of EPA, 250 milligrams of DCG). In addition, each capsule of the dietary supplement is 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).
To maintain health, the duration of the course of taking supplements is 3-4 months. The frequency of therapy is 1 to 2 times a year.
Considering that essential fats are not synthesized by intestinal microflora, it is important to control the amount of their intake into the body every day.
|What contains||The amount of EPA and DHA in 100 grams of product, grams|
|Sardine fish oil||26 - 30|
|Salmon fish oil||10|
|Black, red caviar||6 - 7|
|Sardine, atlantic herring||1,5 - 2,4|
|Salmon, Atlantic Salmon||1,2 - 2,4|
|Halibut, trout||0,7 - 1,3|
|Flounder, Pollock, hake||0,5|
|Crayfish, crabs, shellfish, scallop||0,3 - 0,4|
|Catfish||0,25 - 0,35|
|Source of alpha-linolenic acid||ALA concentration in 100 grams of food, grams|
|Peanut Leaves (Fresh)||50|
|Flax Seeds (Fresh)||18|
|Rapeseed oil||9 - 12|
|Wheat germ oil||7|
|Mustard oil||5 - 6|
|Raspberries, strawberries, avocados||0,15|
|Cabbage (cauliflower, broccoli)||0,1|
Remember, compounds of the omega-3 group are easily destroyed by the action of the sun, oxygen, and high temperatures. Therefore, to meet the daily needs of the body for essential fats, it is advisable to use lightly salted, pickled fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, vegetable oil, unroasted nuts.
To preserve nutrients, products containing unsaturated fatty acids are stored in a cool place in tightly sealed containers.
Omega 3 for children
Omega-3 fatty acids play a paramount role in the formation of the child’s nervous, immune and hormonal systems, as well as the proper ontogenesis of the brain, maintaining the functionality of the visual apparatus, and the laying of molars. Interestingly, in the first year of life, the baby receives all the essential nutrients, including triglycerides, together with mother's milk. However, in 90% of women during lactation there is an acute shortage of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the body. As a result, a child from an early age experiences lipid deficiency.
Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency in childhood:
- diathesis, atopic dermatitis (due to disruption of the immune system);
- decreased cognitive abilities (academic performance, concentration of attention, memory);
- dry skin;
- allergic reactions;
- visual impairment.
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 gram of omega-3 per day. To do this, the crumbs are enriched with a daily menu of fruits, vegetables, seafood, linseed oil. In addition, the daily requirement for fats is supplemented with fish oil concentrates. However, it is difficult for children under three 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, sweets, chewable pastilles.
Popular children's complexes with omega-3:
- "Omega-3 for children" from Oriflame (Wellness, Sweden). The composition of the drug includes fish oil, vitamin E, lemon oil, antioxidants. The product is released 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 baby composition is produced in the form of chewing capsules with blackcurrant flavor.
- "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 form of the additive is syrup.
Remember, the dosage and regimen of fat intake is determined by the pediatrician based on the health status of the baby.
Omega 3 for women
Considering that PNZh are "responsible" for metabolic processes in the body, the elasticity of cell membranes and the proper functioning 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 by 2 times.
Consider the benefits of fish oil for women:
- Reduces menstrual pain, reduces the number of “hot flashes”, improves mood on “critical days”, and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Reduces anxiety, improves mood, increases the effectiveness of antidepressants.
- Slows down sagging skin and wrinkles.
- Prevents the development of osteoporosis, especially during menopause.
- Stabilizes the "hormonal bursts" in the menopause.
- It reduces, by 30%, the risk of developing seals in the mammary gland, as well as the likelihood of tumors and polyps in the colon (this effect does not apply to men).
In addition, fish oil is an indispensable nutritional factor in menopause. Given that menopause is accompanied by a violation of mineral and fat metabolism, women over 55 develop vascular pathologies, including endothelial dysfunction. In this case, 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 to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms of menopause (palpitations, flushing, night sweats), the daily diet is enriched with foods rich in essential fats or organic bio-complexes.
It is especially important to take drugs containing omega-3s for overweight women planning a pregnancy, dieting, and prone to cardiovascular diseases.
So, omega-3 is a class of essential lipids that exhibit pronounced anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, immunomodulatory, antioxidant and antilipid actions. Polyunsaturated lipids are not synthesized by the human body, so it is extremely important to get them from the outside. To do this, the daily menu includes 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 gram per day. If dry skin, dandruff, acne, psoriasis or eczema are present, the daily dose of acids is increased to 2-3 grams.
Remember, before taking lipid concentrates, it is important to assess what are the benefits and harms of using them. People with congestive heart failure, hemorrhagic syndrome, unstable angina pectoris, allergies to seafood can take omega-3 drugs only under the supervision of a doctor.