Food is information, not just calories. Food influences gene function, hormones, your immune system, and even your gut flora. Literally, food controls every function within your body. This is especially true with the omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 comes from both animal and plant sources. The primary animal sources are krill oil and fish oil. The primary plant sources are flaxseed, chia and hemp, and walnut.
When it comes to omega-3 benefits, there are rarely nutrients that pack this many positive health outcomes into one compound. The most commonly known benefit of omega-3s is a reduced risk of heart disease, but that’s not the only studied plus of getting lots of omega-3s in your diet. In fact, omega-3 benefits everything from fetal development to retinal function, weight management, and a lot more in between. These acids support and promote optimal health for anyone.
Types of Omega-3 Fats
Marine animals such as fish and krill provide eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are mostly promoted for their protective effects on your heart. Flaxseed, chia, hemp, and a few other foods, on the other hand, offer alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).
Furthermore, ALA is converted into EPA and DHA in your body at a very low ratio. What this means is that even if you consume large amounts of ALA, your body can only convert a relatively small amount into EPA and DHA, and only when there are sufficient enzymes. YOU NEED ALL 3 TYPES OF OMEGA 3 IN YOUR DIET OR SUPPLEMENTS.
Why Omega-3 Fats are Important
Simply put these extraordinary fats affect every part of your biochemistry. They control gene function, regulate your immune system, impact the speed and efficacy of your metabolism, and they are a vital component of the cell membrane that covers every one of the 100 trillion cells in your body. This means when you don’t get enough omega-3 fats, messages can’t properly communicate from one cell to another. If you’re not getting enough omega-3s, your body — including your brain — just can’t work to its optimum potential!
Dietary Sources for Omega-3 Fats
Today the only real sources of omega-3 fats are:
- Wild fish
- Grass-fed and finished animals and animal products
- Omega-3 eggs
- Chia seed
Finding a High-quality Omega-3 Supplement
The limited sources for omega-3 fats and the fact that most people don’t eat enough foods that contain them leads me to recommend a high-quality fish oil supplement as part of a daily workhorse team of vitamins and minerals needed to help you optimize your health. However, finding quality fish oil is key. You want to locate something that is free of mercury and other contaminants. Look for reputable companies that certify their products are free from heavy metals and pesticides. I typically recommend taking 1000 mg of omega-3 twice a day. There are some good sources of fish oil on the market. You can compare yourself.