Weight Loss Knowledge

Everything About Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

omega-3 fatty acids

The body is capable of synthesizing fats from a variety of food sources. However, omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats for human survival. You can only get these fatty acids from specific foods. Sources of this incredibly essential fat include vegetable oils, fish, walnuts, green leafy vegetables, etc.

However, most people don’t know what they are. This article explains everything you need to know about omega-3 fatty acids, including the various types they are and how they work.

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3s are a specific type of polyunsaturated fatty acid. This means that they contain more than one double bond in their chemical structure. The “3” refers to the position in the chemical structure where the first double bond occurs.

Why do you need omega-3 fatty acids? Your body is capable of synthesizing saturated fatty acids, but you don’t have an enzyme that allows you to stick a double bond in the right place to create omega-3s on your own.

In other words, your body can’t make these fats on its own, so you need to get them from your diet or from omega-3 supplements such as omega-3 fish oil or capsules.

Your body also needs omega-6s, another type of fatty acid, to function properly and prevent disease. Omega-6s are found in some form in linoleic acid. They are found in vegetable oils, safflower oil, meat, poultry and eggs.

The 3 Types of Omega-3

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids — ALA, DHA, and EPA.


Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in your diet.

Your body uses it primarily for energy, but it can also be converted to biologically active forms of omega-3, EPA and DHA.

However, this conversion process is inefficient. Only a small percentage of ALA is converted into the active form.

ALA is found in foods such as flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and soybeans.


Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is mainly found in animal products, such as fatty fish and fish oil. However, some microalgae also contain EPA.

It has several functions in your body. A portion of it can be converted into DHA.


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the most important omega-3 fatty acid in your body.

It is a key structural component of your brain, the retina of your eyes and many other body parts.

Like EPA, it is found primarily in animal products, such as fatty fish and fish oil. Meat, eggs and dairy products from herbivores also tend to contain high levels of this substance.

Vegetarians and vegans tend to be deficient in DHA and should take microalgae supplements to ensure they get enough of this omega 3.

What Omega-3 Fatty Acids Do

Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, are essential for your brain and retina.

It is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women to get enough DHA because it can affect the health and intelligence of their babies.

In addition, adequate intake of omega-3s can have powerful health benefits for adults. This is especially true for the long-chain forms of EPA and DHA.

While the evidence is mixed, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can prevent a variety of diseases, including breast cancer, depression, ADHD and various inflammatory diseases.

If you don’t eat fish or other food sources of omega-3s, consider taking a supplement. These are both inexpensive and effective.

What are the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids have many potential benefits for your cardiovascular health. One key benefit is that they help lower your triglyceride levels. Too many triglycerides in your blood (hypertriglyceridemia) can raise your risk of atherosclerosis and through it increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, it is important to keep triglyceride levels under control. In addition, omega-3s may help by raising your HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering your blood pressure.

Some studies have shown that omega-3s may reduce your risk of:

  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • Death, if you have CVD.
  • Sudden death caused by an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
  • Blood clots.

Beyond heart health, omega-3s may help lower your risk of developing:

  • Some forms of cancer, including breast cancer.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Research continues to investigate these and other possible benefits.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Possible Side Effects

Excessive consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can lower your blood pressure and cause blood thinning. If you have recently had surgery, consuming them in large amounts can exaggerate bleeding or increase bruising. Try to consume them in small amounts to prevent harmful effects on your body. Other risk factors associated with overconsumption are:

Weight Gain

Many people begin to consume excessive amounts of fatty acids to burn stored fat. Unfortunately, when these fatty acids are taken in excess, it leads to weight gain due to the presence of large amounts of fat and calories. Therefore, overconsumption may increase your weight in a short period of time.

Brain Development Issues

Omega-3 fatty acids include substances known as mercury that can hinder brain development in the unborn child. Therefore, natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids are preferable to supplemental forms.


Problems such as diarrhea or irritable bowel movements are often faced by people who take large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, if you are experiencing diarrhea, it is time to reduce the fatty acids in your diet.

The Bottom Line

Omega-3 fatty acids have many benefits and help achieve optimal health. However, make sure you include the right amount in your diet. Excessive amounts of omega-3s can lead to adverse health effects. You can get them from food sources such as fish or plant-based foods, or take them as a health supplement. You can also take advice from a health professional about how much omega-3 fatty acids to include in your diet and in what form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *