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Omega 3

Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid with a specific chemical structure. In the human body, 3 of these fatty acids have an effect:

  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

Unsaturated fatty acids are distinguished from saturated fatty acids by the presence of a double bond. Because of the double bond, unsaturated fatty acids have a looser structure than saturated fatty acids and therefore less adhesion to the vascular wall, giving unsaturated fatty acids (such as Omega 3) cholesterol-lowering and vascular wall-protective properties.

Omega 3 is used by our body to produce anti-inflammatory molecules (eicosanoids). This has been confirmed by numerous studies reporting the anti-inflammatory effects of Omega 3. 

In contrast, the Omega 6 fatty acid - arachidonic acid (ARA) - plays a role in the inflammation process, and thus has an anti-inflammatory effect in large quantities. However, small amounts are essential for healthy healing processes.

It's all in the balance (hence Omega 3-6-9) supplements.

Unfortunately, this balance has been upset in today's world. Today, the ratio of Omega 3:6 in the West is 1:16 in favour of Omega 6 - this is due to poor diet and lifestyle. Conversely, if we look back to the evolution of individuals, the ratio was probably 1:1 (because they ate a lot of algae and marine fish). To compensate, consume high levels of Omega 3 from both food and supplements.

The cell wall of nerve cells is high in Omega 3 (mostly DHA), Omega 3 plays a role in communication between nerve cells, supporting brain health, memory, concentration and adaptability. Therefore, adequate intake of DHA  is also important for children, as it stimulates brain development (memory, concentration, vision) and can improve ADHD in children. 

Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, it plays a role in the prevention of many chronic diseases - cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, high cholesterol, STROKE, heart attacks), autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatism, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, etc.)

Omega 3 rich foods:

  • 1 tbsp linseed oil: 7 g ALA
  • 30 g chia seeds: 5 g ALA
  • 90 g salamon: 1.2 g DHA and 0,5 g EPA
  • 90 g herring: 0.9 g DHA and 0.7 g EPA
  • 90 g sardines: 0.7 g DHA and 0.45 g EPA
  • 90 g mackerel: 0.6 g DHA and 0.43 g EPA
  • 90 g tuna: 0.17 g DHA 
  • 90 g tilapia: 0.04 g DHA

As you can see, unless you eat salamon every day, DHA and EPA difficult to get from food alone, so Omega 3 supplementation is highly recommended. 

No upper tolerable liit of Omega 3 has been established, it is considered safe even at higher doses. Studies have used an overall intake og 5 grams and no significant side effects have been observed at these doses.