Omega-3 fatty acids (typically thought of as ‘fish oil’) is one of the most important nutrients in the human diet. Fish don’t make these omega-3s, they have to consume them in their diet. So you’re probably wondering what is the best source, right? If you answered ‘algae,’ then you are exactly right!
The effects of omega-3 fats are quite robust and healthful. For instance, observational studies have linked lower omega-3 and higher omega-6 fats with inflammation and depression. In fact, a recent study suggested that omega33 supplementation can reduce inflammation and anxiety even among healthy young adults.
- Human clinical trials further suggest benefits of omega 3 supplementation, especially when combined with energy-restricted diets or exercise.
- A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition looked at 44 men and women who supplemented with either omega 3 fats or safflower oil daily. Compared to safflower oil, the omega-3 supplemented group experienced an increase in fat free mass with a decrease in body fat after 6 weeks of supplementation. These changes were significantly correlated with a reduction in salivary cortisol (the stress hormone) according to the study.
- Another investigation found that consuming omega-3 fats during intensive wrestling training can improve lung function of athletes during and in post-exercise.
- Omega-3 fats can also improve heart function during exercise.
- What about side effects? According to the current data, omega-3 fats are consistently safe. A six week study found that omega-3 fat supplementation had no effect on blood pressure.
- Folks often wonder if you can take ‘too much’ of these fats. If you are taking medications that prevent clotting, then perhaps consult with your primary care physician about how much omega-3’s you should consume. Currently, there are no federal guidelines for omega-3 consumption. Nonetheless, the preponderance of the data suggests that you consume approximately 2,000 mg per day of EPA and DHA (eicospantanoic and docosahexanoic acid, respectively).