Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Immune Support and So Much More!
Omega-3s are essential for your health. Your body and brain both rely on them for proper function. Without them, all of your internal systems start to suffer, break down, and degenerate. But with enough daily intake of Omega-3s, you will see big improvements in your health.
There are two Omega-3s—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—and both offer some pretty amazing benefits.
Get ready, because here comes a great big list of everything Omega-3s have been scientifically proven to improve:
– Several epidemiological studies discovered an inverse correlation between the intake of pure DHA/pure EPA fish oil and both bipolar disorders and depression1. The anti-inflammatory effects of EPA in particular2 help to prevent the structural changing of the brain that contributes to anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Even those suffering from such disorders have been known to see visible improvement in their symptoms shortly after they started taking Omega-3s3.
– One study4 found that Greenland Eskimos who historically ate a diet rich in fatty fish have lower cardiovascular disease-related mortality rates than both Americans and Danes (who eat less fish). A study from 1989 actually found people who consume pure EPA and DHA fish oil following a myocardial infarction were 29% less likely to develop fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Omega-3s can also improve cardiovascular health in a number of ways5, including lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, elevating “good” HDL cholesterol, and preventing the formation of blood clots and the build-up of arterial plaque.
– DHA, one of the two Omega-3 fatty acids, are building blocks of your eyes, specifically your retina6. Increasing Omega-3 intake can protect against both macular degeneration and vision loss common with age7.
– If you want to know how to reduce inflammation, look no further than Omega-3s. These fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory properties and can even decrease the production of inflammatory substances8 (like C-reactive proteins) while increasing the formation of anti-inflammatory chemicals (like leukotriene B5).
As I’ve said before so many times, chronic inflammation is one of the main contributors to a wide range of health problems—everything from cancer to heart disease to thyroid conditions. Combatting this systemic inflammation is one of the most effective ways to protect your health for the long-term.
– Metabolic syndrome is a collection of health conditions including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and central obesity (belly fat) that is known to increase the risk of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Omega-3s can help to reduce the cardiovascular risk factors9 and improve insulin sensitivity, protecting you from metabolic syndrome.
– Studies have linked Omega-3 intake to prevention of Type 1 Diabetes10, Type 2 Diabetes11, multiple sclerosis12, lupus13, rheumatoid arthritis14, ulcerative colitis15, and even skin conditions like psoriasis16. It’s largely thanks to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune support properties of these fatty acids.
– There is a lot of science linking Omega-3 supplementation with better cognitive health and brain function. Pure EPA and DHA fish oil can slow cognitive decline in individuals without dementia/Alzheimer’s17, prevent the build-up of amyloids in the brain that contributes to degeneration18, and even protect against decline at the onset of dementia/Alzheimer’s19.
– Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a serious threat in the Western world. In fact, it’s estimated to affect up to 25% of U.S. adults20! Preliminary research into using Omega-3s to treat chronic liver conditions have shown a lot of promise, proving to ameliorate the damage caused by the buildup of fats21 and even helping the liver to eliminate the fats responsible for the damage22.
– There has been a lot of research linking Omega-3s to improved thyroid health! One study23 found that these fatty acids improved cognitive function among hypothyroid rats, protecting against memory deficits and decreasing the structural changes to their brains caused by hypothyroidism.
They can also prevent the inflammation that triggers your immune response and releases antibodies that attack your thyroid24, which can lead to Hashimoto’s Disease. That’s why I recommend Omega-3s as one of the best choices in my article (Read: What are the Absolute Best Supplements for Hashimoto’s Disease?)
Omega-3s can also help to normalize thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)25, combatting Graves’ Disease, and maintain healthy thyroid function26.