Omega-3's and Me?
We have been sifting through the research and listening to podcasts with experts, and Omega-3 supplementation has become a top contender for "easy ways to increase your life expectancy", so we figured we should share this with you.
Omega-3 fatty acids come in three different forms: DHA, EPA, and ALA. DHA and EPA are commonly found in cold water marine life (salmon, cod, sardines, etc.), where as ALA is found in various nuts, seeds, and oils (flax, chia, walnuts, vegetable oil, etc.).
These are considered "essential" fatty acids, and our body cannot make these anti-inflammatory gems, so we need to consume them in order to use them. It is recommended to eat at least two meals a week containing 4oz of fish or seafood that is high in Omega-3's to get the minimal amount of the fatty acids through diet alone. To some, it may seem like a stretch to eat even two Omega-3 dense meals a week, in that case, supplementation is the suggested course of action.
Why would you put so much effort into ingesting these fatty acids?
They have a laundry list of health benefits:
To name a few, they can reduce inflammation, lower elevated triglycerides, increase mood, assist with infant brain development, reduce arthritis, and possibly decrease the symptoms of ADHD and Alzheimer's.
I could spend a good deal of time explaining why and how they help in all these area's but the gist of the story is, they are exceptionally good at reducing inflammation and providing ways for your body to heal itself.
"What makes omega-3 fats special? They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation." (Harvard.edu/ Nutrition Source)
So if you are considering supplementing with Omega 3's how much should you take and what type of supplement is best? This isn't as cut and dry as one would hope. There are many contradicting opinions about both dosage and delivery methods of Omega 3's.
I can tell you what we take and I will provide several links to this post that lay out different recommendations. The general recommendation is to take 2-4 grams of combined DHA and EPA a day.
Both Myles and I try to take 4 g of Omega 3's per day. We currently use a high potency oil and take a tsp per day. Pills are also effective but you have to make sure you get a quality supplement that has high levels of DHA and EPA per serving.
A nutritionist/dietician friend of mine once told me, if you buy the supplement at Costco, it probably isn't the best option.
You can also be prescribed Omega 3 supplements by your doctor if you have high triglycerides and commonly your insurance will cover the cost of the prescription. This is a great option because it saves you the out of pocket expense and the prescribed supplements are very good quality. Some common prescribed supplements are Epanova, Lovaza, Omtryg, and Vacepa.
There is very little risk involved in adding Omega 3's to your daily vitamin regime, however there isn't 0 risk. Therefore, it goes without saying, check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
Links for more information:
Info about Omega 3's:
Info about picking supplements: