We often hear that we should eat omega-3s because it is good for our health, but we are rarely told why or in what proportions! Therefore, this concept remains vague, and few people really pay attention to it.
If you are exercising or interested in nutrition, you may be trying to eat a little more oily fish. , use the best vegetable oils (sources of omega-3) or you already consume it daily in capsule form. In this article, I return to the importance of omega-3s, the interest in taking them as a dietary supplement, and their relationship to omega-6s.
Here is a list of useful effects.
For general health
- Omega-3 lowers blood triglyceride levels and slightly improves your HDL to LDL cholesterol ratio.
- They lower blood pressure slightly.
- They reduce inflammation.
- They promote They protect the eyes.
- They improve cardiovascular health.
- They prevent cognitive and visual impairment that occurs in old age.
For neurological health
- Omega-3s reduce the severity of severe depressive episodes.
- They also fight anxiety.
For sports and diet
- Omega-3 improves athletic performance and stimulates muscle growth.
- They prevent injury by reducing inflammation in the body.
- They can promote the use of stored fat for energy.
Close link between Omega 3 and Omega 6
To talk about the importance of omega-3, I must also say about omega-6, since it is the connection between these two fatty acids that is important.
Simply put, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids produce pro-inflammatory substances that improve clotting or cause fever and pain, for example. In contrast, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids produce anti-inflammatory substances that reduce pain and thin the blood.
➞ Two competitors
Now you understand that these substances have the opposite effect. But the problem is that the body uses the same enzymes to convert omega-3 and omega-6 . Therefore, these two substances are in competition.
If you consume a lot of omega-6, your body will be monopolized by converting these fatty acids with a pro-inflammatory effect and will have less capacity for transformation. omega-3, anti-inflammatory.
What is the connection between omega-3 and omega-6
To be healthy and your body can achieve a good balance in the conversion of these fatty acids, you must consume at least 1 g of omega-3 per 5 g of omega-6. This is the advice of the health authorities. But one can project further, because some believe that the Paleolithic people consumed 1 g of omega-3 for 1 g of omega-6. Therefore, the ratio is 1 to 1!
However, in the typical diet of the modern population, research shows that this ratio is 20 g omega-6 to 1 g omega-3. We are far from a favorable report!
The consequence of this imbalance is a state of chronic inflammation in the body, and therefore an increased risk of cancer, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and a whole host of other diseases, including the causes are inflammatory.
How to improve your omega-3 / omega-6 ratio?
Logically, this can be done in two ways:
- The first is to increase your omega-3 intake, especially by consuming oily fish. In fact, plant-based omega-3s are less easy to use. Consuming fish oil capsules is also a good alternative.
- The second solution, which can be implemented simultaneously with the first, is to reduce the consumption of omega 6 . To do this, you must control your lipid intake. Industrial foods tend to contain omega-6s. Many oils give a lot too.
So, should you supplement yourself with omega-3s?
If you understand what I was trying to explain above, you will understand that it depends on how much you already eat and how much omega-6 you have.
eat If you’ve already eaten a lot of fatty fish and your omega-6 fatty acid intake is decreasing, you don’t need to add yourself to your food.
But for most of us, YES, supplementation with omega-3 capsules is essential.
PS: As a reminder, the preferred fish are the smallest, such as mackerel, sardines, anchovies, herring and salmon. Since they are at the beginning of the food chain, they concentrate less toxic waste in their fat.
Omega 3: which brand to choose?
We find everything in trade and, unfortunately, a lot of bad things !! I advise you to read the labels carefully:
- How many omega-3s are in each capsule?
- What is EPA and DHA content? Namely, the EPA / DHA ratio in fish is usually 0.3 to 1, but the ideal ratio is 3: 2. Sometimes you will also find ALA (alpha linolenic acid), which is also an omega-3 but its plant origin makes it not very useful.
- What is the extraction method? Prefer cold-pressed oils
- What is the origin? Prefer omega-3s made in France
- Natural or synthetic? Many brands offer omega-3s in ethyl ester form (a mixture of fish oil, free fatty acids, and ethanol) because it is cheaper. But they have lower bioavailability. Ideally, if you consume omega-3 capsules in their original triglyceride form, you will find the same as what you would ingest if you ate fatty fish directly.
I’ve learned a lot of what different brands have to offer and the best value for money I’ve found is Nutri & Co’s Omega 3 available here.
What dose of omega-3 to consume?
Here are the dosages that can usually be consumed daily. It is best to distribute omega-3s to different meals. The ratio between EPA and DHA should be 2 to 1. Thus, the anti-inflammatory effects will be maximized.
Small dose of omega-3s
1 g EPA and DHA, which equals about 3 g fish oil.
The classic dose of omega-3
3 g EPA and DHA, which equates to about 9 g fish oil.
Large dose of omega-3
3 g and 8 g EPA and DHA, which corresponds to one dose 9 to 24 g fish oil
According to some studies, such doses have a greater effect on muscle growth. However, there are several studies that have tested this dose.
Side Effects of Omega-3 Supplements
Omega-3 is a very safe supplement. They have many beneficial effects, with the exception of a few negative effects.
Digestive upsets can occur if omega-3s are taken in too much, on an empty stomach or with meals especially high in fat.
At very high doses, omega-3s may have a prooxidant effect. However, this effect does not seem to be really significant according to current research.
Omega-3s cause blood thinning and therefore may reduce blood clotting.
For doses of 5 g EPA and DHA studies or less have not shown any problems, particularly on this side.
Warning: Poor sources of omega-3s can contain heavy metals such as mercury. To protect your health, you must choose a reliable supplier that prefers oils from small fish such as anchovies, mackerel or sardines.
Natural Form of Omega 3 Strong triglycerides do not appear to outperform the semi-synthetic form of ethyl ester. The vast majority of research focuses on omega-3 ethyl esters alone, with few vendors offering the triglyceride form.
You can choose other types of supplements that contain Omega-3s, like krill oil. The effects are roughly equivalent, but the price is much higher. One final important note: omega-3s can be stored in the refrigerator. Otherwise, they quickly deteriorate.