What are omega-3 fatty acids used for?

Omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial for our hearts. It has been found to help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-blood clotting benefits. These essential fatty acids have also been found to help reduce the risk and symptoms associated with diabetes, stroke, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, mental decline, ulcerative colitis, and some types of cancer. It is thought that they can also reduce the chance of sudden cardiac arrest.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Omega-3 fatty acids can improve and protect vital aspects of your body's daily functioning by:

Lubricates joints Helps provide the lubrication joints need to function at an effective level. By keeping joints lubed, you experience less grinding and less overall wear and tear, and thereby, less pain as you age.

Decreases inflammation in inflamed joints.

Fights wrinkles As we age, fat cells in our skin's third layer thin out and tend to get a bit bumpier; omega-3s help make that layer thicker and smooth. The effect? Wrinkles go away and skin becomes fuller.

Protects vision Our eyes' retinas are membranous structures. The whole eye is covered in a soft double layer of membranes, making your eyes' health dependent on the liver. The liver helps metabolize fat-soluble vitamins that feed and maintain those membranes. If you're deficient in DHA, it affects how you see by delaying the system that converts light into neural energy in the retina.

Pumps the heart Where to begin? Omega-3s reduce triglycerides, stabilize your heartbeat, make platelets "less sticky" and can even lower blood pressure. The EPA you get with your daily DHA dose helps prevent artery-blocking clots. In the Iowa Nurses Study (and 3 others), 1 ounce of nuts a day decreased the incidence of heart disease between 20% and 60%.

Attacks acne Inadequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids contributes to breakout-prone skin. Trade sugar (and meat) for avocados, walnuts, salmon, or trout to help control acne.

Clears cholesterol Boosts levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and helps clear your arteries.

Boosts the brain In keeping your arteries clear, you're immediately improving brain function. They also alter your neurotransmitters to help reduce depression.

Enhances fertility Improves fertility rates in both males and females by improving sperm's swimming ability and the environment forimplantation in women.

A pregnancy prerequisite Omega-3 fatty acids directly affect brain development, making it crucial for expectant mothers. Additionally, research indicates they decrease a mother's risk of depression. When the mother doesn't have enough of these essential fatty acids, the baby borrows from her. Some prenatal vitamins now include omega-3s, so be sure to check the label or grab a handful of walnuts each day.

Continue Learning about Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s Protect Against Skin Cancer
Omega-3s Protect Against Skin Cancer
Clams, shrimp, salmon . . . which one can do nice things for your skin? Salmon has the edge. Research suggests that dining on fish high in omega-3 fa...
Read More
How does cooking or storage affect omega-3 fatty acids?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Polyunsaturated oils, which include omega-3 fatty acids, are very sensitive to heat, light, and air....
More Answers
What are the risks of taking fatty acid supplements, like Omega-3?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Risks of taking fatty acid supplements (including Omega-3) include: excessive bleeding (especially...
More Answers
What Should I Know About Odd Omega Fatty Acids 3, 5, 7 and 9?
What Should I Know About Odd Omega Fatty Acids 3, 5, 7 and 9?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.