We are often under the impression that fat consumption is harmful to the body and can lead to weight gain, which is the root cause of a lot of health problems but that’s not true. Not all fats are bad, there are some that are good for the body and they are known as essential fats. For the uninitiated, the term essential fatty acids (EFA) are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which cannot be synthesized in the body and are therefore provided by the food you consume. They are essential for the body to function and survive. There are two families of EFA, omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3) and omega-6 fatty acids (ω-6).
Your diet must comprise a healthy mix of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, however, omega-3 is considered to be the healthier one, especially for the heart. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 is neutral. A diet with excess omega-6 and less amount of omega-3 will aggravate inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are found in common food sources such as vegetable oils, nuts, flax seeds, niger seeds, green leafy vegetables, fish, and the like. But what are the main types of omega-3 fatty acids? Which one is better-virgin omega or fish omega? How does virgin omega 3 benefit the body? And what type of omega-3 supplement should you look out for while selecting one for yourself and your loved ones? Well, to know all that and more, read along.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of polyunsaturated fats that are associated with myriad health benefits, right from reducing inflammation in the body, producing hormones that regulate blood clotting, improving heart health, to helping control auto-immune diseases like eczema, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, among other things.
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids, namely alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are vital for the body.
- DHA and EPA are obtained mainly from fish and that’s why they are most of the time referred to as marine omega-3 fatty acids. In short, this is easily obtained from fish omega.
- On the other hand, ALA is the most common form of omega-3 fatty acid that’s prevalent in most Western diets. It’s most commonly found in nuts (particularly walnuts), vegetable oils, flaxseeds, green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oil, and some fat obtained out of grass-fed animals. In short, this can be easily obtained from vegan omega.
Fish Omega Vs Vegan Omega: Which One Is Better?
While the definition of both of them has been explained above, the two are essentially different from one another for more than one. Firstly, as the name suggests fish omega is basically omega-3 fatty acids that come from fishes like salmon, cod, herring, mackerel, and the like, whereas vegan omega contains omega-three fatty acids extracted from plant sources such as seaweed, chia seeds, algae, Brussels sprouts, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, etc.
Secondly, vegan omega or plant-based omega primarily provides ALA and is not aplenty in EPA and DHA except in Algae and Seaweed. When one consumes vegan omega, the body organically transforms ALA into longer chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are EPA and DHA, which is vital for cognitive function. On the other hand, fish omega provides EPA and DHA. In short vegan omega contains only ALA, which works in reducing or preventing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, but fish omega contains both EPA and DHA, which offer a lot more benefits like providing enhanced recovery, vision support, reduced inflammation, anticoagulation, improved heart health, growth and development of the foetus as well as kids when they consume it daily.
Needless to say, opting for fish omega is ideally the best option as it provides 2 out of 3 omega-3 fatty acids, unlike vegan omega that provides only 1, along with the body’s poor ability to convert it into DHA and EPA.
What Are The Benefits of Omega 3-Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient that must be consumed by everyone across all age groups. Some of the omega 3 benefits include:
- Improving heart health: As per a report published by the American Heart Association (AHA), foods and supplements containing omega-3s are effective in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 and clinical trials show its efficacy in helping individuals lessen the risk of heart diseases and other cardiovascular abnormalities. It also aids in bringing down raised levels of LDL cholesterol (bad), while increasing the levels of HDL (good cholesterol). Fish omega, primarily, helps prevent the accumulation of triglycerides in the arteries, thereby preventing incidents of atherosclerosis.
- Reducing Inflammation and Bolstering Immunity: Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory in nature. They reduce pro-inflammatory cytokine overproduction in the body. They are known to strengthen the immune system, primarily because of their anti-inflammatory potential. EPA prevents inflammation from getting out of hand quickly, while DHA aids the body in healing from the after-effects of inflammation in the body. Both EPA and DHA work symbiotically in antibody production that helps to improve the body’s immune response linked with pathogen clearance.
- Improving cognitive function: Sufficient consumption of foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids or supplements helps support proper blood flow in the brain. There are several brain imaging studies that showcase how higher blood flow in certain parts of the brain are linked with enhanced performance of cognition, thereby bolstering memory, retention powers, concentration, productivity, and even mood. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids regularly may also have the potential to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. It also helps in the brain development of kids, which is why children are advised to take these fats regularly in their diet either in the form of foods or supplements.
- Aids in Vision Development: Omega-3 fatty acids also aid in warding off different kinds of eye diseases, including the most common -dry eye syndrome that most people experience due to prolonged exposure to the screen. Studies show consuming omega-3 fatty acids has the potential to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and glaucoma in the long run.
Omega 3 uses also include managing Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) symptoms among kids, improving skin and hair health, promoting the development of the foetus, improving metabolism, and therefore promoting weight loss, regulating the hormones in the body, and the like.
What Should One Look For While Selecting The Right Omega-3 Supplement?
As omega-3 tablets or supplements are vital for people across all age groups- right from kids to older adults. That is why go for foods that are rich in this vital nutrient or opt for supplements if your regular diet fails to meet your daily recommended requirement. While selecting the right omega-3 supplement for you, look out for the following features.
- Opt for Virgin Omega 3 capsules providing 3x more Omega 3, sourced from pristine deep-sea salmon, molecularly distilled for ultra-purity, preserving its optimal wholefood 3:2 ratio of EPA: DHA. Ensure that the capsules you choose combine the most powerful nutriscience with fast absorbing fish oil & slow release plant-based curcumin beadlets, known for their anti-inflammatory properties that will help curb inflammation, and enhance muscle recovery post-workout & reduce muscle soreness. Opt for capsules that are enteric coated and enhanced with mint, thus eliminating the fishy aftertaste and burps.
- For kids, go in for easy-to-dissolve vegan omega oral thin strips that will easily melt in your mouth when they are placed on the tip of your tongue. These strips embody the sublingual delivery mechanism that takes the nutrients directly to the bloodstream, making them 95% more effective in absorption and bioavailability.
- Given that these oral thin strips you opt for are vegan, ensure the strips contain Natural EPA + Natural DHA, derived from sustainably grown microalgae. It is necessary that these supplements contain the combined goodness of EPA & DHA as they are crucial for neural and visual development, brain development, and enhanced cognitive performance. Ensure that these supplements also contain ingredients like Vitamin E and natural Alpha GPC and Lutein that will play a crucial role in improving children’s brain development, strengthening their vision, and boosting their immunity.
- Lastly, ensure that the supplements you choose do not contain sugar or any other allergens like gluten, soy, etc. Go for one with all-natural ingredients, so that you can be sure that you’re safe and healthy when using them.
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