Essential Fatty Acids Health Benefits
Fatty acids are an essential part of our diet to help smooth our organ systems. Our bodies cannot make essential fatty acids, so we must depend on food sources or take supplements.
There are two types of fatty acids, namely essential and non-essential. The body can make non-essential fatty acids when it converts amino acids from food sources.
Essential fatty acids are vital for regulating hormones that our body needs for the normal functioning of the immune system and the central nervous system.
Read more to see essential fatty acids, their types, food sources, and how they benefit our body.
What are essential fatty acids?
Essential fatty acids are a class of lipids that our body cannot synthesize, so we have to get them through the food we eat. The two essential fatty acids we humans require are Linoleic acid (Omega-6) and Alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). These are polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Both omega 3 and 6 are crucial for the healthy functioning of our body and its various systems. These essential fatty acids make hormones called eicosanoids that act as nutrients for the body’s nervous system, immune system, and other hormones (1).
Even though both the essential fatty acids make the same compound, it facilitates different functions. The eicosanoids from Omega-3 fatty acids keep the heart healthy, whereas the same compound from Omega-6 can manage inflammation and blood pressure.
There should always be a balance in the amount of Omega 3 and 6 in our diet. Any excess of these fatty acids may not be suitable for our health.
Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
Here is a list of food sources that helps our body to synthesize Omega 3 and 6.
- Safflower oil.
- Sunflower seeds and oil.
- Pine nuts.
- Corn oil.
- Soybean oil.
- Sesame oil.
- Brazil nuts.
- Flaxseed oil.
- Dried Chia seeds.
- Walnut oil.
- Canola oil.
- Firm tofu.
- Soybean oil.
- Canola oil.
- Ground flaxseeds.
- Black walnuts
- Mackerel, Salmon, Herring.
- Oysters, Sardines, anchovies.
- Cod liver oil.
Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids
Helps to fight depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental disorders that affect millions. Studies show that people who take Omega-3 supplements see improvements in their condition.
Improves eye health.
A type of Omega-3 known as DHA is a significant component of our retina and promotes better vision. A deficiency in DHA may affect the quality of our vision and, in the long run, lead to permanent eye damage.
Promotes brain health in infants.
Omega-3 is a vital nutrient for the development of brain tissues during pregnancy and early childhood. Enough DHA taken during pregnancy will benefit the child, such as higher intelligence and better communication skills, to name a few. It decreases the risk of autism, ADHD, and Cerebral Palsy.
Protect against heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by controlling blood pressure and triglycerides. It can also increase the level of good HDL cholesterol. It also keeps the arteries clean from plague and reduces inflammation.
Controls high blood pressure.
Omega-6 alone or taken with Omega-3 can help reduce hypertension or high blood pressure.
Improves symptoms in Attention Deficit Hyperactive Syndrome (ADHD).
Studies have shown that supplements of Omega-3 and Omega-6 can help reduce the symptoms in those diagnosed with ADHD. Essential fatty acids are crucial for brain development and growth, even though more research in this area would benefit everyone.
Those who don’t get enough Omega-3 and Omega-6 may suffer from weak bones, leading to osteoporosis. A well-balanced diet of essential fatty acids will also help increase bone density.
Treats Multiple sclerosis
In some instances, essential fatty acids helped treat multiple sclerosis when used with other conventional treatments.
Easing symptoms of Menopause.
It is becoming a popular way to consume essential fatty acids to ease the symptoms women face during and after Menopause. But make sure that you consult with your doctor before you start consuming them.
There is no fixed age when you can take essential fatty acids as supplements. The factors that will affect the dosage are the user’s age, health status, and other conditions like illness or disorders.
It will be wrong to think that essential fatty acids are completely safe even though it is a natural supplements. That is why correct dosage and your doctor’s suggestion are critical.
Some potential side effects of essential fatty acids can be as follows:
If you are suffering from an underlying condition or on medication for a chronic illness. Always consult your doctor before you start taking supplements of essential fatty acids.
Here are a few essential points to keep in mind:
- High-Triglycerides: If you have high triglycerides, it is better not to take Omega-6 supplements as they raise triglyceride levels.
- Seizures: If you suffer from seizures, avoid taking Omega-6 sources as they may worsen the condition.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is safe to take Omega-6 supplements for adults and children if it covers 5% to 10% of their daily calories. But there is no evidence to prove it is safe to take during pregnancy or breastfeeding. So, to be safe, it is better not to take Omega-6 supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Essential fatty acids are vital for the healthy development of our body, and we can’t synthesize them. But we can get these fatty acids from the food sources that we eat or from supplements.
Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 are crucial for brain development from the early stages of pregnancy and infancy. They also promote healthy hair, skin, and strong bones. If you cannot eat food sources with essential fatty acids, you can take supplements containing omega-3 and omega-6.
Your diet should have a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 for overall nutrition. In case of over consumption of any of these fatty acids, it may lead to more inflammation and other diseases.
So, while taking Omega-3 and 6, either through food or supplements, ensure you don’t exceed the appropriate dosage for your age.
Best Essential Fatty Acids Supplements
Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids crucial for our body’s normal functioning. The two primary essential fatty acids are Omega-3 and Omega-6. We can get these fatty acids from food sources and supplements because our bodies cannot make any of these fatty acids.
These essential fatty acids are responsible for making a compound called eicosanoids which we need for the healthy functioning of the immune system and nervous system.
They also promote cardiovascular and digestive health. Taking essential fatty acids through supplements is an excellent way to compensate for their deficiency in our diets.
Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids Supplements
Essential fatty acids are vital because our body cannot produce them, and we need to depend on food sources and supplements to maintain their balance in our body. We need essential fatty acids for the completion of the following processes:
- The average working of thyroid and adrenal glands.
- Forming healthy cell membranes.
- Production of certain hormones.
- For breakdown and transport of cholesterol.
- Healthy functioning of the nervous system.
- Regulation of immune system, liver function, and blood pressure.
- Healthy hair and skin.
- Helps in blood clotting.
Here we have listed the best essential fatty acids that are of high quality and have numerous benefits for the body.
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
The supplement to top our list is the Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega. This supplement has a high concentration of 1280 mg of omega-3 in the form of soft gels. It is the perfect dosage the American Heart Association suggests for any individual to maintain good heart health.
All the soft gel capsules are in the form of triglyceride form, the natural way as these fatty acids are found in fish. It allows the supplement to be easily absorbed, and the lemon flavor makes it easy to consume.
Only wild and freshly caught fish such as sardines and anchovies is used to craft the omega-3 fatty acid for this supplement.
It is non-GMO, dairy, and gluten-free with no artificial flavors. Nordic natural is a pioneer in the healthcare sector, and their website states that this product is suitable for heart, brain, and immune health.
NOW Supplements Omega 3-6-9
If you are looking for a blend of essential fatty acids, then this product by NOW Supplements is the right choice.
It also combines five nutritional oils Canola, Flax seeds, Black currant, Evening Primrose, and pumpkin seed oil. All these oils contribute to the blend of essential fatty acids of Omega 3-6-9 that promote healthy skin and strong immunity.
This supplement, in the form of a soft gel, promotes cardiovascular health and vital functions and encourages healthy cognitive function.
It is a non-GMO product, soy, dairy, and egg free, but it contains bovine gelatin, making it non-vegan. It is a unique product because it does not have any form of fish derivative, which means it is suitable for those who don’t like fish or are allergic to it. Two
Nature Made Triple Omega with Omega 3-6-9
For anyone who limits the intake of fish or certain types of oil like olive or flaxseed, this supplement from Nature Made is perfect for maintaining the balance of essential fatty acids. Since our body cannot make these fatty acids, we need to use supplements to get them.
Nature Made Triple Omega follows the suggestions of the leading health experts who say that we should have two servings of fatty fish per week to get Omega 3-6-9.
In place of that, you can have this triple omega supplement. It has Fish oil, olive, safflower, and olive oil, which support a healthy heart and strong immunity.
The fish used in this supplement are wild, freshly caught, and not farm-bred. It contains no artificial flavors, yeast, colors, starch, or gluten.
Vegan Omega 3-6-9 by Purity Products
If you are vegan and looking for a plant-based supplement that can give you all the essential fatty acids, then the Vegan Omega 3-6-9 by Purity Products is a perfect choice. Since it does not use any fish derivative, it is an excellent alternative for vegans and vegetarians.
It improves cardiovascular health, strengthens the immune system, and promotes better skin. This formula uses non-GMO seeds and plants which are organic. It has a distinctive blend of five nutritional oils Olive, Borage, Flaxseed, Sacha Inchi, and Pomegranate.
This supplement is in the form of soft gels and provides the benefits of three essential fatty acids, Omega 3, 6, and 9. The soft gels use Lemon Lock technology, sealing them with an antioxidant complex.
Antarctic Krill Oil 500 mg, by MegaRed
By the name itself, this supplement seems to be a non-vegetarian product. Antarctic Krill is its main ingredient, one of the most abundant organisms, and the company MegaRed sources Krill only from the Antarctic region because they are available over there.
MegaRed krill oil is three times more potent than regular krill oil after removing salts and other impurities.
It is easily absorbed and utilized by the body since it is carried in phospholipid form, the same way as our cell membranes (1). It is the form of soft gels that dissolve in our stomach without leaving any fish aftertaste.
This supplement promotes good heart health and overall immunity. It is not suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Things to consider before buying a supplement
If you look for supplements for essential fatty acids, you will find thousands of options that promise different benefits.
Not all of them turn out to be genuine or of good quality. So, before you buy any supplement for Omega-3 and Omega-6, here are a few things that you need to consider:
- Cost of the product.
- Dosage of the product
- Nature of supplement, as in pill or gummy
- Certificates from the third party assuring the quality of the product
- Whether the product is vegan and free of gluten or soy.
- Your underlying health issues, if any.
Essential fatty acids should be an important part of our everyday diet because of the numerous benefits.
Whether you are vegan or vegetarian, some products cater to every preference. Taking Omega 3-6-9 supplements will form a barrier for your body and its organs against diseases.