What are the benefits of Omega 3 for the body?

You are probably familiar with Omega 3 fatty acids; but do you know that they are a real gold mine for your health? Better cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, stronger brain... Sounds like a dream, right? And we're not the only ones who think so! Numerous scientific studies confirm the incredible benefits of Omega 3 for the overall well-being of the body. Present in food (fish oil, fatty fish) or in the form of food supplements, Omega 3 will become your best friends for a body in great shape. In this article, we tell you all about their benefits, and how they can (at least!) change your life.

Before talking about benefits, what are Omega 3 fatty acids?

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Omega 3s are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids which play a very important role in the normal functioning of the human body. They are divided into three types:

  • alpha-linolenic acid (ALA);
  • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA);
  • docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Omega 3 cannot be synthesized by our body in sufficient quantities, hence the importance of including them in your diet.

The first, ALA, is mainly present in plant sources such as:

  • flax seeds ;
  • nuts ;
  • vegetable oils (rapeseed oil, linseed oil).

EPA and DHA are mainly found in fish oils and fatty fish such as:

  • the salmon ;
  • mackerel ;
  • sardines ;
  • or herring.

These essential fatty acids are integrated into cell membranes (particularly in those of the brain and retina, we will come back to this later). And they play an essential role in their structure and functioning.

What are the benefits of Omega 3?

For the brain and its development

Among the benefits recognized by ANSES (= National Food Safety Agency), omega 3 fatty acids, in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), contribute to good brain development. And this, even from fetal life, because they contribute to the formation of the retina and the brain of the unborn child. During pregnancy and in breastfeeding women, sufficient intakes of DHA are therefore essential for the optimal neurological development of the baby. Because these unsaturated fatty acids accumulate quickly in the developing brain, and promote cognitive and visual abilities.

In adults, Omega 3 helps maintain mental and cognitive health. A nice little extra: they reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

For the cardiovascular system

Omega 3s are also well known for their protective effects on the cardiovascular system. They help reduce levels of triglycerides (a form of lipids) in the blood, which reduces the risk of heart disease. A good intake of Omega also supports the reduction of blood pressure and improves the function of blood vessels. And, therefore, helps prevent hypertension. And that's not all! These polyunsaturated fatty acids have anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties that help prevent the formation of blood clots. And can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

So, you will have understood: building up your daily intake of Omega 3 can really boost your cardiovascular health and that of your arteries.

During pregnancy

Consuming foods rich in Omega 3 during pregnancy is a must! Because unsurprisingly, the needs of pregnant women are increasing very significantly to support the development of the fetus. Pregnant women will especially need DHA, because it will contribute to the development of the baby's brain and eyes.

Omega 3 will also be your ally to help you reduce the risk of premature birth and preeclampsia. Really, when we tell you they are fantastic…

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For the eyes and sight

Omega 3 (and again, especially DHA) play a very important role in visual health. They are one of the essential constituents of the retina and participate in the renewal of photosensitive cells, which is vital for maintaining good vision. By adopting an adequate intake, you will further prevent eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

A good consumption of fatty acids also remains beneficial in preventing dry eyes. For what ? Because they provide essential lipids to tears, which prevents dry eye syndrome.

Finally, they play an important role in the maintenance and repair of the optic nerves. And therefore, reduce the risks of degeneration.

Did you know that other vitamins are essential for pregnant women? Our article on vitamin D during pregnancy should interest you!

For the skin

A fatty acid also plays an important role in maintaining the health and appearance of the skin. A good consumption of Omega helps to regulate the production of sebum... Rather beneficial for those who encounter problems with dry skin or acne.

The anti-inflammatory properties of Omega 3 also help reduce redness and irritation associated with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. In addition, they help strengthen the skin barrier and therefore help the skin retain moisture and stay hydrated.

They also protect against damage caused by UV rays. Fantastic ally to prevent premature aging of the skin, isn't it?

Your most frequently asked questions about the benefits of Omega 3

How do you know if you are lacking Omega 3?

The signs of an Omega 3 deficiency can vary from person to person. But overall, the most common symptoms include:

  • dry, irritated skin;
  • dull hair;
  • brittle nails;
  • mood disorders.

You may also feel:

  • fatigue;
  • joint pain;
  • a decrease in concentration.

Yes, it’s no laughing matter! Also note that if you are pregnant, insufficient nutritional intake of Omega 3 can affect the development of the fetus. To confirm or not a deficiency, we advise you to consult a healthcare professional directly. He will be able to recommend a complete nutritional assessment and possibly additional blood tests.

What precautions should you take when consuming Omega 3?

When consuming Omega 3, try to choose high-quality food sources. It is important to favor the consumption of fatty fish with a low concentration of mercury like those mentioned above, that is to say:

  • the salmon ;
  • mackerel ;
  • small fish (sardines for example).

If you are vegetarian, opt for consuming unrefined vegetable oils such as:

  • linseed oil;
  • Cod liver oil ;
  • walnut oil;
  • rapeseed oil.

Even though there are many beneficial effects of consuming Omega 3, certain undesirable effects remain to be taken into consideration.

So, if you choose to take food supplements, pay attention to their composition: most are based on fish oil. So, if you are allergic to it, choose a vegan supplement based on vegetable oil instead. The same if you are on anticoagulants: refrain from taking an Omega 3 food supplement at the same time, as this can increase the risk of bleeding.

How long before you see the benefits of Omega 3?

If you consume Omega 3 regularly, you will be able to feel the first positive effects after a few weeks. However, to really feel healthy thanks to their nutritional contributions (better cognitive functions, better heart function), you will have to wait several months. The key to getting there? Constant consumption, in sufficient quantity… And that’s it!

We can't tell you enough: omega 3s are essential for your health, because they offer many benefits, particularly for the brain, heart, eyesight and skin. And even more so if you are pregnant. So don't miss out and make sure to include food sources rich in omega 3. And, why not, add food supplements (after medical consultation) to boost all the benefits!

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