it’s time for the second installment of supplements 101!
the first topic was multivitamins – the basic supplement that i believe everyone should be taking!
today’s topic is another supplement that is extremely well-known: omega-3 fatty acids.
we’ve all heard the buzz about omega-3 fatty acids and how important they are. however, i don’t think people really get how important omega-3’s are. if they did, everyone would be taking them!
omega-3’s and omega-6’s are essential fatty acids. they are considered essential because our body cannot produce them, so we have to consume them in our diet or in supplement form.
omega-3’s perform many important roles in the body. they play a role in reducing inflammation in the body, particularly in joints and blood vessels. they are also important in heart health, they can lower triglyceride levels, and may also help with rheumatoid arthritis or depression.
while omega-6’s are also necessary, the standard american diet contains far too many of them and far too few omega-3’s. the ideal ratio of omega-6’s to omega-3’s is 4 to 1 or even lower, but the average ratio in the average american’s diet is 16 to 1 or higher. we need to increase our consumption of omega-3’s to get to the correct ratio.
good dietary sources of omega-3’s are cold-water oily fish like salmon and sardines or flax and chia seeds. similar to many other nutrients, most people don’t get enough omega-3’s from their diet. we need as many omega-3’s as we can get from 2 servings of salmon per week. i know some people eat that much, but i definitely don’t.
that’s why i turn to supplements to make sure i’m getting enough omega-3’s. even if i eat salmon, chia, and flax somewhat regularly, i take supplements as a safe-guard to make sure my bases are covered.
for more information on omega-3 fatty acid supplements, you can check out the nih fact sheet. the nih also has tons of resources if you want to do your own research on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for conditions like asthma, heart disease, cancer, mental function, child and maternal health, diabetes, colitis, arthritis, and more!
again, supplements are generally considered safe. however, it is very important to keep a couple things in mind.
- supplements will not take the place of a good diet. think of them as something additional you do to full the gaps in your healthy diet.
- always discuss your supplement use with your doctor.
- don’t overdose on your supplements! do your research and find out what the upper limit is for your nutrient of interest. if you take your supplements as directed on the label, you should not overdose.
- when it comes to supplements, you get what you pay for. please choose a good-quality brand from a health-foods store or other specialty store. those options that are 2 for $6 at target/walgreens/etc., while tempting and budget-friendly, are likely not manufactured well, absorbed well, or providing any health benefits.
all information presented here is what i have learned in my own research. i am not a licensed health professional and this information is not meant to take the place of medical advice. always speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.
next up in the series: probiotics, antioxidants, and finally – what i take!
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how do you get your omega-3’s?
i use a combination of omega-3 supplement and whole food sources like salmon, flax, and chia seeds!Pin It