If you have ever wondered what supplements you should be taking and found yourself overwhelmed by the choices, you’re not alone. Undoubtedly, it would be hard to research each supplement on your local supermarket shelf.  However, research suggests that there is one we should be considering especially if our diet is lacking in food sources containing it.  Omega-3’s have been linked to numerous health benefits and could help you as well.

What is an Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are fats that are essential to our bodies, but our bodies do not make them.  We need them for many body functions including blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain. In addition to the normal bodily functions they are needed for, Omega-3 fatty acids have been recognized for health benefits including protection against heart disease and stroke.  The three members of the Omega-3 group are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

What food sources are Omega-3 fatty acids found in?

People get Omega-3 fatty acids from foods rich in EPA and DHA including seafood such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel or shellfish.  As for ALA, it can be found in walnuts, flaxseed, and canola and soybean oils.  Some green vegetables such as brussel sprouts, spinach, salad greens and kale also contain ALA.   The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people with no history of heart disease eat fish twice per week.  The AHA encourages eating oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout.

Why should it be taken as supplement?

If your diet is lacking in sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, taking it as a supplement could be the right choice for you.  Research indicates that Omega-3s have many health benefits in addition to those most commonly known.  Some of those benefits are specific to women.  According to an article published by the University of Maryland Medical Center, Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to the following health benefits:

  • Lowering high cholesterol
  • Reducing high blood pressure
  • Reducing risk factors for heart disease
  • Reducing risk of heart attack and stroke
  • May improve symptoms of attention deficit  hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • May protect against Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia
  • May help lessen menstrual pain

Is it safe for everyone?

Because of the risk of bleeding, don’t take more than 3 grams per day without first consulting your doctor.  It is advisable though to consult your physician before beginning any supplement.  Children should not take the supplements without asking a doctor first.  Omega-3 fatty acids should also be used with precaution by those with bleeding disorders or on medications that thin the blood (including aspirin).

Dr. Hessel can help you decide if an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement, and others may be right for you. Call today to schedule an appointment and find out more about boosting your Omega-3 health.

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