Omega-3 fatty acids
- Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils.
- Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease.
- The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.
- Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
- It is important to have a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 - 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.
How to Take It:
- For healthy adults with no history of heart disease: The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least 2 times per week.
- For adults with coronary heart disease: The American Heart Association recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 1 gram daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 - 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen.
- For adults with high cholesterol levels: The American Heart Association recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 2 - 4 grams daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 - 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen.
- Glipizide (Glucotrol and Glucotrol XL)
- Glyburide (Micronase or Diabeta)
- Metformin (Glucophage)
- Atorvastatin (Liptor)
- Lovastatin (Mevacor)
- Simvastatin (Zocor)
- Reviewed last on: 6/25/2009
- Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.