I am sure you have all heard about omega 3 fatty acids. Everyone tells you eat a lot of fatty fish or take fish oil supplements. Do you know why? And what do you do if you are a vegetarian or vegan?
Let’s start with the name. Omega 3 fatty acids are often called essential omega 3 fatty acids. The word essential means you must get the fatty acids from your diet because your body can NOT synthesize them.
What is Omega 3 fatty acids helpful with? Please remember/think Brain, Heart and Inflammation.
Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. This means the chemical structure has many double bonds (of carbon). Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 refers to the location on the chemical structure of the double bonds. Saturated fats, on the other hand, have only single bonds. Saturated means each carbon bond has a hydrogen attached to it and it is saturated with hydrogen atoms. This is important because there is a difference in the melting point, is it solid or liquid at room temperature. Think butter vs. olive oil.
THREE MAIN TYPES OF OMEGA 3’s
- ALA alpha Linoleic acid
- DHA – docosahexaenoic acid
- EPA – Eicosapentaenoic acid
WHERE IS THIS HELPFUL?
- BRAIN – DHA makes up 40% of the polyunsaturated fats in the brain. DHA makes up 60% of the retina. DHA is in the cell membrane of nerve cells.EPA is known to help both depression and anxiety.
- HEART – Omega3 fatty acids reduce triglycerides and possibly LDL, which are the problematic parts of cholesterol. It also raises HDL (the ‘happy’ or good cholesterol) and it helps platelets (part of your blood) from forming clots.
- INFLAMMATION – Omega 3’s reduces the inflammatory response/cascade in the body. We know inflammation fuels just about every disease including dementia, heart disease, and even cancer.
The 3 primary Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Dr. Laurie Goldman is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms.