Omega 3 supplements are made using fish oil extracts from oily fish like salmon, tuna, anchovies, trout, herring, sardines, etc. These fish oils are rich in Omega fatty acids and Vitamins A and D.
Omega 3, also known as 'the good fat' is found in the brain, retina and sperm cells of the human body. However, we cannot produce Omega 3 on our own and must rely upon external sources to meet our required daily intake. Omega 3 fatty acids are naturally found in algae, the food for fish and other sea creatures. This is why these fatty acids are also referred to as marine source Omega 3 or fish oils. Fish oil contains Omega 3, known as Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), which is proved to be more effective than alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) — the Omega 3 found in plant sources.
Consuming fish twice a week is not feasible for everyone, and hence Omega 3 capsules became an essential addition to the daily nutritional intake. They help prevent cardiovascular diseases, improve vision, strengthen the immune system, help treat joint pains, and offer several other benefits.
You can also get Omega 3 fatty acids from various other dietary sources. These are:
- Nuts and Seeds (Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds and Walnuts)
- Plant Oils (Flaxseed Oil, Canola Oil, Soybean Oil)
- Fortified Foods (Eggs, Milk, Cereals and Orange Juice)
- Smaller Cold Water Fish (Herring, Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines)
Benefits of Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements
Omega 3 is also known as the super supplement for the extensive range of benefits that it offers. Some of these are listed below in detail:
Supports Heart Health
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood, and their high levels can lead to fatty build up around the artery walls that induces heart attack and strokes. Omega 3 is scientifically proven to minimize triglyceride levels in the blood and thus support optimum heart health. Apart from this, Omega 3 also reduces the rate of plaque build-up, which prevents oxygen-rich blood from flowing throughout the body when gathered around the arteries. The Omega 3 supplements also help in lowering blood pressure levels and decrease the risk of arrhythmia.
Aids in Mental Health
Omega 3 is vital for proper mental health functioning and is also proven to improve cognitive functions. The EPA and DHA help treat several neuropsychiatric conditions such as depression, dementia, schizophrenia, postpartum depression, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, etc.
Adding Omega 3 supplements to your daily diet may promote serotonin release, a chemical that controls mood and cognition. Adequate serotonin levels help in improving cognition that supports decision-making ability and helps to uplift the mood.
Some medical research also shows that Omega 3 can prevent the development of full psychotic illness in teenagers and young adults with mild symptoms.
Improves Eye Health
Ophthalmologists recommend Omega 3 supplements to treat dry eyes and for improving vision. Retinal photoreceptors contain DHA as a significant component. The photoreceptors are responsible for the absorption of light and transduction in the eye. Several research types have proven that people who do not consume Omega 3 are at higher risk of eye diseases.
Helps in Weight Management
Besides consuming the right foods and exercising regularly, health experts say that Omega 3 supplements help curb hunger that prevents one from binge eating. Over some time, it helps with weight management through reduced body fat storage. Intake of Omega 3 also assists in reducing liver fat that contributes to the weight gain process. The entire functioning and metabolism of the body is improved and leads to a practical workout session.
Improves Bone Health
The EPA and DHA aid in strengthening the joints and reduce stiffness. Increasing intake of Omega 3 helps in improved bone mineral density and prevents cartilage destruction. Fish oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help patients with rheumatoid arthritis that causes painful joints.
Leads to Healthy Skin
Skin is the largest organ of the body, and vast amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in it. Health experts recommend consuming Omega 3 fatty acids to prevent various skin disorders such as dermatitis and psoriasis. The anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil also soothe redness and minimize irritation of the skin.
Helps in Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea) are painful muscle cramps that women face during their periods. Studies show that when Omega 3 supplements, when taken alone or combined with vitamin B 12 or Vitamin E, they can help women in their period days.
Aids Liver Health
Omega 3 Supplements are often advised to people with build-up liver fat, commonly seen in those who drink little or no alcohol (Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease or NAFLD). Scientific researches show that Omega 3 helps in reducing liver fat levels and supports liver health for people suffering from NAFLD.
May Contribute to Infant Health
A study shows that children of mothers who took high doses of fish oil supplements were less likely to develop asthma than children of mothers who didn't consume the same. However, few findings oppose this conclusion as well, and it is not scientifically proven entirely.
Improves Kidney Function
Taking fish oil is said to reduce kidney damage caused by drug cyclosporine. Cyclosporine is the medication that reduces the chance of organ rejection after an organ transplant. Many doctors advise Omega 3 capsules to patients that have undergone an organ transplant process to boost the recovery process.
Possible Side Effects
Omega 3 supplements are considered to be a low-risk supplement and are widely popular among the masses. However, this supplement comes with minor possible side effects when consumed in high dosage (more than 3 grams per day).
The most common side effects that are observed are:
- Abdominal Pain
- Acid Reflux
- Bad Breath
- Belching or fishy-aftertaste
In other words, exceeding the recommended dosage can lead to the side-effects mentioned above. Thus, it is advisable to consult a doctor before including Omega 3 supplements in your diet.
Precautions to be Observed
Although plant-based Omega 3 supplements are safer to use, certain combinations do not work well with the fish oil-based Omega 3 supplements. These are mentioned below in detail:
Birth Control Pills (Contraceptive Pills)
Fish oils help reduce triglycerides fat levels in the blood, and birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of fish oil capsules. Therefore, it is best to avoid taking the two together.
Blood Pressure Control Medicines
Fish oils based Omega 3 supplements help in reducing blood pressure. When combined with medicines for high blood pressure, Omega-3 supplements may result in causing extremely low blood pressure in the body.
Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
This is the medication used for weight loss which prevents absorption of dietary fats from the gut. Some studies show that Orlistat when combined with Omega 3 supplements, can reduce the absorption of fish oils in the body as well.
Anticoagulant/ Antiplatelet Drugs
Blood-thinning medications should not be combined with fish oil supplements, as fish oil also prevents blood clotting. Some studies show that when these two are taken together, it increases bruising and bleeding chances.
Several factors, such as age, sex, specific health condition, etc., should be considered when deciding the required amount of fish oil for the body. It is therefore recommended to consult a medical practitioner before adding Omega 3 supplements to your daily diet. These supplements should be taken whole-form with food and water. The Capsules should not be broken and sprinkled over food or liquids.
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) advises that not more than 3 grams of fish oil per day (3000 mg) of EPA and DHA combined, including 2 grams (2000mg) per day from dietary supplements. A higher dosage is used to lower triglycerides in the body and should only be taken under a healthcare professional's guidance.
Also, people allergic to fish and seafood should consult a doctor before consuming Omega 3 supplements to prevent allergic reactions.
Omega 3 supplements offer tremendous benefits and are even advised to pregnant ladies as they aid in fetal development and are essential in the child's early growth and development. Fish oil is also given to patients with HIV/AIDS as they have abnormal blood fats levels, reducing the total cholesterol levels in the patients.
The health industry is flooded with Omega 3 supplements; however, one must choose the best when spending on healthcare. HealthKart is a reputed brand that produces supplements that are scientifically formulated and clinically tested. HealthKart Omega-3 Supplements are enriched with EPA and DHA that supports the optimum overall health of the body. The brand is food grade safe, and all the supplements are FSSAI certified. So go ahead and pick the Omega 3 supplement that works best for you and meets your health needs.