60% of four brain is made up of fat and around half of these fat contain Omega-3 fatty acid. According to estimates made by scientists, our brain matter contains 8% of omega-3 fatty acid. These fatty acids are considered very important for proper functioning of the brain.
Different cells of the brain communicate with each other and omega-3 fatty acids assist this communication. The cells communicate each other with help of nerve impulses through a cell membrane. This cell membrane is around neuron and omega-3 fatty acids help to make this membrane flexible and the signal easily pass through cells. When there is injury to brain cells, these fatty acids release neurotransmitters which minimize the inflammatory damage to the brain cells.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is well known omega-3 fatty acid and is found in cerebral cortex of brain. It is main component of brain and eye and consists of 97% of omega-3 fatty acid. This portion of brain is responsible for memory, emotional and creative functions of the brain. The people having low level of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have low volume of brains and they also suffer from vision problems. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is another vital omega-3 fatty acid which promotes sufficient blood flow to the brain.
Omega-3 fatty acid is also very important for older people. It prevents from age related mental problems. If levels of omega-3 fatty acid are low, it leads to brain aging and affects its functions. As a result, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and other neurological conditions develop.
Due to its association with brain development, the women who frequently use omega-3 fatty acid supplements, there are higher chances that their children will be highly intelligent and intellectual. It reduces hyperactivity and violence in children and improves attention.
The infants who intake DHA-fortified formula milk, have better brain health as compared to others. It also reduces the menstrual pain in the women. Both fish oil supplements (DHA & EPA) are helpful in relieving joint pain. The persons who are in constant depression are advised to use omega-e supplements. These two fatty acids are referred as marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids because they are richly found in certain species of fish.
interaction of Omega-3 with cardiac memberane; CC image by ThaddeusB
It is also very helpful for heart’s health. According to scientists, the people who frequently eat fish, have limited chances of heart attack and stroke due to presence of omega 3 fatty acid. For cardio protection, it is recommended to take one gram per day of eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid. In case of elevated triglyceride levels, higher doses (2 to 4 gm per day) are required and in case of tender joints, 3 gm per day is recommended.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that, "Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."
These also prevents the risk of different types of cancer including prostate cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. These also protect our skin from direct sunlight by blocking the harmful substances that damage the collagen in our skin.
Omega-3 fish oil is vital part of a balanced diet. Without it, we are not getting what we need in order for our body to be running at optimal performance. We may suffer from high LDL cholesterol levels, low HDL cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart diseases. Therefore it is very important to include omega-3 fish oil in our diet.These fatty acids can’t be produced by our body and we have to take them by food.
Fish, fish oil and seafood are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The general rule of thumb is; the oilier the fish, the more omega-3 fatty acid it contains. The oilier type fish are normally found in deep, cold ocean waters. These are also found in natural plant oils like flaxseed, canola oil and soybean. Walnuts are also main source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are easily available in the form of softgels and capsules.
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