Omega-3 fatty acids: What you should know about the good-mood fat

Fat is known to be unhealthy. However, not when there are healthy fatty acids, e.g. Omega-3. But why are exactly these fatty acids so...



Fat is known to be unhealthy. However, not when there are healthy fatty acids, e.g. Omega-3. But why are exactly these fatty acids so healthy?

Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated compounds, which are essential for us humans, but can not be produced by the body itself. Before omega-3 fatty acids were named, they were called vitamin F. Some publications also mention n-3 fatty acids.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Fatty acids are components of fats. There are saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Which fatty acids predominate can be determined by consistency. Fats of animal origin, such as butter or partially hardened vegetable fats, are solid. Fats, the main constituents of which are unsaturated fatty acids, for example rapeseed oil or olive oil, are liquid. There are, however, other differences which can not be recognized externally. There are monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Omega-3 versus omega-6 fatty acids

The polyunsaturated fatty acids are to be distinguished from omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Group Contained Acids Occurrence
Omega-3 fatty acids Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Linolenic acid (ALA) Herring, salmon, mackerel,
Tuna, linseed oil, rapeseed oil,
walnut oil
Omega-6 fatty acids linoleic acid
Arachidonic acid sunflower oil, thistle oil,
Meat, eggs, milk
Both fatty acids are needed by the body because they can not produce them themselves. However, this should be done in a corresponding relationship. The recommendations for this are widely divergent. Some recommendations are 1: 1. Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of 7: 1 is often also used. In the US, the ratio has shifted to 25: 1. Numbers in Omega-6 have also been reported in Japan, which is far higher than recommended. This can be linked to the onset of depression or the rise of heart disease.

What do omega-3 fatty acids have in the body?

As components of the cell membrane, EPA and DHA have an effect on cell function. This results in a broad complex of tasks, which relates to many areas of the organism. Omega-3 fatty acids are e.g. important for:

Cell metabolism
hormonal balance
Immune system and defense
Healthy hair and pure skin
protein synthesis
joints
⇛ Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy heart

A whole lot of studies has now proven that omega-3 fatty acids can support the cardiovascular function. Thus, the targeted intake of omega-3 fatty acids according to a Swedish studies:

Relieve inflammation
Lower blood pressure
Reduce the blood fat levels
Improve blood flow
All these features can minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease in their complexity. Those who regularly eat enough omega-3 fatty acids can minimize the risk of a heart attack. The above-mentioned study carried out at the University of Lund has confirmed that the adequate supply of the body with omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of a heart attack by half.

⇛ Omega-3 fatty acids for inflammation

Many diseases are caused by chronic inflammation. This is the case, for example, in diseases such as:

high blood pressure
diabetes
periodontitis
tinnitus
Multiple Sclerosis
Not at first sight. Omega-3 fatty acids can act against inflammation by balancing on the immune system, the hormonal balance or the metabolism. The inflammatory values ​​in the blood can thereby be significantly reduced and thus also the risk of falling ill with one of the diseases mentioned, or an improvement occurs in already occurring diseases.

⇛ Omega-3 fatty acids in pregnancy

In pregnancy, an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids is particularly important, because the body has a higher demand for nutrients because the growing fetus must be supplied with. When premature omega-3 fatty acids are used, premature births can be reduced. Studies also suggest reduced weeks of bed depressions. Tests were also carried out on the brain development of the child. If the nut is adequately supplied with omega-3 fatty acids, it takes a positive course.

An adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids is also important during lactation. Studies have demonstrated that children who are fed with omega-3-rich mother's milk are more complex brain activities. Two portions of fish weekly are expected to provide pregnant women and breastfeeding with the necessary omega-3 fatty acids. Greasy fish such as mackerel or salmon are preferred. Whoever does not eat fish should resort to food supplements.

⇛ Omega-3 fatty acids for depression

The good-mood fat Omega-3 reaches the brain first. A sufficient omega-3 supply then leads to the formation of the natural antidepressant "dopamine" in the brain. The result is better concentration and physical and mental alertness. Studies have shown that omega-3 is able to slow down the MAO enzymes that can destroy dopamine. The research in this field has not yet been completed. The interest does not detract. There is hope that even severe depression can be treated with Omega-3.

How does a lack of omega-3 fatty acids manifest itself?

In our latitudes, a lack of omega-3 fatty acids is by no means rare. Many people take far less omega-3 to themselves than recommended. Instead, omega-6 fatty acids, which the body also needs, dominate but to a much lesser extent. A deficiency is caused, for example, by the frequent consumption of cereal products such as bread, pasta or pastries. A deficiency of omega-3 is then manifested by the following symptoms:

Tremble
muscle weakness
blurred vision
Scaly skin
sleep disorders
It is often difficult to make a clear diagnosis, because the symptoms of deficiency can appear particularly manifold and can be expressed in other complaints.

How can a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids be determined?

A blood sampling is necessary for the diagnosis. The relationship between omega-3 and omega-6 is investigated. This value should not move higher than 1: 4. If omega-3 dietary supplements are used for treatment, the symptoms should subside after a few weeks if a deficiency of omega-3 is the cause.

Too much of the good - what to do with over-supply?

As with almost all nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids can lead to an over-supply. It is recommended not to take more than three grams of omega-3 per day. Overdosing may cause side effects. First, a fishy taste will probably spread in the mouth. The complaints by means of an over-supply primarily concern the digestive system. There may be nausea and diarrhea.

Studies have shown that with an excess of omega-3, the LDL-cholesterol value also increases briefly. Anyone who has a strong tendency to bleeding can often get nasal bleeding during an overuse. The aggravations of manic-depressive moods or glaucoma formation have also been observed as side effects.

Omega-3 fatty acids in foods

If we are talking about omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosaherxenoic acid (DHA) are of particular interest. The acids are often found in micro-algae and are therefore often found in herring, tuna, salmon and other cold-water fish. Because these fish use these special microalgae as a food source. Rich in omega-3 are also some vegetable oil, such as linseed oil, rapeseed oil or walnut oil (Lesetipp: exclusive fat comparison: Which cooking oil is really healthy?).

Here the top 10 of the Omega 3-rich foods:

Chia seeds
haddock
linseed oil
walnuts
tuna
mackerel
salmon
Trout
Cannery
rapeseed oil
The following are some specific information on the omega-3 fatty acid content of various vegetable oils and fish.

Vegetable oil Omega-3 content in% Fish species Omega-3 content in%
Chia 64 Salmon 1.8
Linseed oil 55-70 anchovies 1.7
Walnut oil 12 1.2 herring
Rapeseed oil 9 mackerel 1
Soybean oil 8 White tuna 0.7
What is the daily requirement for omega-3 fatty acids?

In the daily requirement of omega-3 are no differences between age and gender. According to the German Society of Nutrition (DGE) the demand is 0.5% of the daily total energy requirement. In simple terms, 0.5% of omega-3 fatty acids should be taken from daily intake of calories. Also important is the ratio of the individual fatty acids to each other. The proportion of omega-6 fatty acids should not be more than three to five times higher than the amount of omega-3.

Omega-3 fatty acids as a dietary supplement

There are a number of dietary supplements that provide valuable omega-3s. A good example are fish oil capsules. Here, up to 45% of valuable EPA and DHA acids are contained. Since the fish oil would otherwise rapidly become rancid, the dosage form of the capsule is widely used. Some dietary supplements also have vitamin supplements. Fish oil capsules are also beneficial in combination with vitamin E, because when more omega-3 is taken, the body also reports an increased demand for vitamin E.

Food supplements made from long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are very suitable for prevention. These have a constant share of omega-3. In addition to food supplements in capsule form are also products in the trade enriched with Omega-3. It can be bread, margarine or oils. For example, people who find it difficult to take capsules can ensure adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Naturally, you can keep the need for Omega-3 constant by putting fish on the table several times a week.

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