Omega-3 fatty acids are fats that are found in the human body as well as certain foods like oily fish. You’ve no doubt heard them called essential fatty acids because the body cannot make them on its own but must instead get these healthy fats from foods or supplementation.
Considering how essential these fats are to optimal human health, it’s a bit shocking how many people are deficient in omega-3s. In fact, a joint study by Harvard University and the Centre for Disease Control found that omega-3 deficiency is the sixth biggest killer of Americans resulting in 96,000 deaths each year. That makes an omega-3 deficiency more dangerous than eating too many trans fats!
You may be wondering why these essential fatty acids are so important that becoming deficient in them can lead to an early death? Well, omega-3s are needed for cardiovascular and neurological functioning as well as cell membrane maintenance, mood regulation and hormone production. And thanks to their ability to lower inflammation, omega-3s have been shown to reduce your risk of developing diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and even cancer.
Why are Omega-3 Levels Getting Lower?
I don’t think I have to tell you that the Standard American Diet is SAD! Much of the food we eat on a daily basis is manufactured and loaded with trans fats and other harmful chemicals.
But what’s worse is that many foods we commonly eat have high levels of omega-6. These fatty acids are generally found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. During the 1950s, when good old-fashioned butter was demonized, the food manufacturers extolled the benefits of vegetable oils.
What happened in the coming decades once we all switched to these “healthier” butter alternatives? Incidences of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer skyrocketed.
Health experts generally call omega-3s the good fatty acids and omega-6s the bad fatty acids. This is because while omega-3 reduces inflammation, omega-6s increase inflammation. It’s a bit more complicated than that and certainly a whole blog post could be dedicated, but the important thing to know is that your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is important. The ideal ratio would be anywhere from 1:1 to 4:1 omega-3 to omega-6. But many people are somewhere in the 1:16 to 1:25 area. A ratio like this is causing disease because too much omega-6 is increasing inflammation in the body.
Top 5 Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms
It’s important to note the difference between early symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency and ultimate results of that deficiency. As I mentioned earlier, studies have shown that an omega-3 deficiency is the 6th leading cause of death in America. While the following symptoms may not seem life-threatening, ignoring these symptoms can result in negative health outcomes.
A lack of omega-3 in the diet can result in learning and attention span difficulties as well as poor memory and concentration.
Changes in Mood
When a person’s mood becomes altered, it can be a sign of many things, an omega-3 deficiency being one of them. Sudden irritability, anxiety, depression and overall mood swings can be a sign that your levels need to be checked.
Changes in the texture of skin can be a sign that omega-3 levels may be low. Is your skin inflamed, red, flaky and/or sensitive? Hair may also become brittle and thinner and nails may break more easily. You may also notice your eyes become dry more frequently. Remember, omega-3s are essential fats and fats help moisten and lubricate the body.
And speaking of lubrication…
Most of us, when we get to be a certain age, experience joint pain and stiffness from arthritis. Omega-3s not only decrease inflammation but also help to lubricate our joints for ease of movement.
Omega-3s help to keep allergic reactions at bay. If you notice you are having more allergy symptoms such as eczema, asthma, hay fever, or hives, this could be a sign that your omega-3 levels need to be checked.
How to Overcome an Omega-3 Deficiency
Here are some simple ways you can ensure you are getting enough omega-3 into your diet each week:
Eat More Fish
Health experts are suggesting people eat cold water fatty fish several times each week. Fish that are rich sources of omega-3s include tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, halibut and anchovies. If at all possible, choose wild caught fish over farm-raised as wild-caught offers more omega-3s and other vital nutrients.
Incorporate Other Omega-3 Foods
I just mentioned that nuts and seeds tend to be high in omega-6s, and that’s NOT what we want. But there are some exceptions. Walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds are some excellent foods to get those omega-3s in. Egg yolks, especially from free-range eggs, are also an excellent source.
Having said that, many health experts agree that when it comes to getting omega-3s into the diet, you simply can’t beat eating fish. So what are people to do if they don’t like the taste of fish?
Fish oil supplements can be an excellent way of getting your daily dose of omega-3s for those who hate the taste of fish. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids are now among the most commonly prescribed supplements worldwide.
But not all fish oil supplements are created equal. Many contain mercury or other harmful contaminants. And some, quite frankly, taste awful. No one wants to take their fish oil pills only to start burping fishy burps a half hour later.
For these reasons, it’s important that you choose your fish oil supplement wisely to ensure it is not only potent but pure and tastes great.
Primal Health is pleased to offer our blog readers what we feel is the best omega-3 supplement on the market today. DuOmega 3&7 is not only pure and potent, it also tastes great (in that it has NO TASTE whatsoever!).
But what really sets our omega supplement apart is that we have combined omega-3 with powerful omega-7. Studies have shown that omega-7 is necessary for true heart health. While omega-3s are wonderful for decreasing inflammation, if you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, you must take omega-7s as well.
With DuOmega 3&7 you get two powerful ingredients in one. Try some today for your optimal health.