Omega 3s Essential Fatty Acid Supplements: Health Benefits, Sources, and Types

essential fatty acid supplement

If you’re looking for a way to boost your overall health, you may want to consider taking omega-3 supplements. These essential fatty acids are vital for our bodies to function properly, yet many people are deficient in them.

Omega-3s are found in foods like fish and nuts, but getting enough through diet alone can be challenging. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of omega-3 supplements and how they can improve your health and well-being.

Whether you want to improve your heart health, brain function, or joint mobility, omega-3s may be just what you need. So, let’s discover the many benefits of essential fatty acid supplements.

What Are Omega 3s?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that are essential for good health. They play a crucial role in brain function, growth and development, and reducing inflammation.

Omega-3s are found in certain types of fish, such as salmon and tuna, as well as in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. They can also be taken in supplement form. Consuming at least 2 servings of fatty fish per week is recommended to meet the daily recommended intake of omega-3s.

Types of Omega 3s – DHA, ALA and EPA

There are three main types of omega-3s: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), each with its unique health benefits. DHA and EPA are in fatty fish and seafood, while ALA is in plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

Here’s a table summarizing their sources, benefits, and recommended intake:

TypeSources of Omega 3sBenefits
ALAPlant oils (flaxseed, soybean, canola), walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seedsPrecursor to EPA and DHA, cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory properties
DHAFish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), algae, fish oil supplementsBrain health and development, vision, heart health, may reduce risk of chronic diseases
EPAFish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), fish oil, algae oilReduces inflammation, supports heart health, may benefit mental health
Sources, Benefits, and Recommended Intake of Types of Omega 3s – Dha, Ala, and EPA

It’s Important to Note:

1. ALA is a precursor to EPA and DHA, but the conversion rate in the body is quite low. Thus, consuming EPA and DHA directly from sources or supplements is often recommended.
2. DHA is particularly important for brain and eye health, especially during pregnancy and early childhood.
3. EPA is more involved in reducing inflammation and has been linked to benefits in mental health and heart disease prevention.

For individuals who do not consume fish, algae-based supplements are available that provide DHA and EPA. It’s also important for vegetarians and vegans to ensure they get enough ALA from plant sources, which the body can partially convert to EPA and DHA.

How Much Omega-3 Per Day?

The recommended daily amounts of omega-3 fatty acids vary depending on life stage and gender.

Refer to the table for the adequate intake of Omega-3s as per age and gender:

Birth to 6 months*0.5 g0.5 g
7–12 months*0.5 g0.5 g
1–3 years**0.7 g0.7 g
4–8 years**0.9 g0.9 g
9–13 years**1.2 g1.0 g
14–18 years**1.6 g1.1 g1.4 g1.3 g
19–50 years**1.6 g1.1 g1.4 g1.3 g
51+ years**1.6 g1.1 g
The Adequate Intake of Omega-3s as per Age and Gender ( *As total omega-3s, ** As ALA)

It’s important to note that individual needs may vary. It’s always best to consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice based on your medical history. Certain health conditions, medications, and dietary restrictions can impact the recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Food Source of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

Plant oils that contain ALA include flaxseed (linseed), soybean, and canola oils. Chia seeds and walnuts are also good sources of ALA.

The amount of omega-3s in fish varies greatly. Cold-water fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines contain high amounts of long-chain omega-3s, while fish with lower fat content, such as bass, tilapia, and cod, as well as shellfish, contain lower levels.

The omega-3 content of fish also depends on the food the fish consumes. Farmed fish usually have higher levels of EPA and DHA than wild-caught fish, but this depends on the food they are given. Refer to the table below for the several food sources of ALA, DHA, and/or EPA.

ALA, EPA, and DHA Content of Selected Foods

Refer to the table below for the amount of ALA, EPA, and DHA content in various foods –

FoodGrams per serving
Flaxseed oil, 1 tbsp7.26  
Chia seeds, 1 ounce5.06  
English walnuts, 1 ounce2.57  
Flaxseed, whole, 1 tbsp2.35  
Salmon, Atlantic, farmed, cooked, 3 ounces 1.240.59
Salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked, 3 ounces 1.220.35
Herring, Atlantic, cooked, 3 ounces* 0.940.77
Canola oil, 1 tbsp1.28  
Sardines, canned in tomato sauce, drained, 3 ounces* 0.740.45
Mackerel, Atlantic, cooked, 3 ounces* 0.590.43
Salmon, pink, canned, drained, 3 ounces*0.040.630.28
Soybean oil, 1 tbsp0.92  
Trout, rainbow, wild, cooked, 3 ounces 0.440.40
Black walnuts, 1 ounce0.76  
Mayonnaise, 1 tbsp0.74  
Oysters, eastern, wild, cooked, 3 ounces0.140.230.30
Sea bass, cooked, 3 ounces* 0.470.18
Edamame, frozen, prepared, ½ cup0.28  
Shrimp, cooked, 3 ounces* 0.120.12
Refried beans, canned, vegetarian, ½ cup0.21  
Lobster, cooked, 3 ounces*
Tuna, light, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces* 0.170.02
Tilapia, cooked, 3 ounces*0.040.11 
Scallops, cooked, 3 ounces* 0.090.06
Cod, Pacific, cooked, 3 ounces* 0.100.04
Tuna, yellowfin, cooked 3 ounces* 0.090.01
Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup0.10  
Baked beans, canned, vegetarian, ½ cup0.07  
Ground beef, 85% lean, cooked, 3 ounces**0.04  
Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice0.04  
Egg, cooked, 1 0.03 
Chicken, breast, roasted, 3 ounces 0.020.01
Milk, low-fat (1%), 1 cup0.01  
Amount of Ala, EPA, and Dha Content in Various Foods

Importance of Essential Fatty Acids in the Diet

Omega-3 fatty acids are important nutrients for overall health. These essential fatty acids are involved in a wide range of bodily functions, including brain function, heart health, and immune system function.

Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough omega-3s in their diet, which can lead to a range of health problems. In this regard, it’s important to understand the benefits of omega-3s and how to incorporate them into your diet to maintain good health.

1. Improved Cardiovascular Health

When it comes to maintaining good health, cardiovascular health plays a vital role in ensuring our overall well-being. It involves the proper functioning of the heart and blood vessels, which are essential for supplying oxygen and nutrients to the body.

This section will delve into the first benefit of improved cardiovascular health and how it positively impacts our lives. From preventing heart disease to promoting better circulation, improving cardiovascular health offers a wide array of benefits that can significantly improve our quality of life.

a. Omega 3s and Heart Disease

Omega 3 fatty acids have been studied extensively for their potential role in preventing heart disease. One of the key ways in which omega 3s may benefit heart health is through their impact on cholesterol levels.

Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly those found in fish oil, can help reduce levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood that can increase the risk of heart disease. Also, omega 3s may help increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which can further protect against heart disease.

b. Lowering Blood Pressure with Omega 3s

Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to have potential benefits in lowering blood pressure, particularly in individuals with hypertension or prehypertension.

Omega 3s can help reduce inflammation, improve endothelial function, and decrease the constriction of blood vessels, all of which can contribute to lower blood pressure levels.

2. Reducing Triglyceride Levels with Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids, specifically omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and flaxseed oil, play a crucial role in reducing triglyceride levels. These fatty acids increase the body’s ability to break down and eliminate fats, thus aiding in the reduction of triglycerides.

Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties, which further contribute to their ability to lower triglyceride levels.

3. Reduced Risk of Inflammation-Related Diseases

Reducing the risk of inflammation-related diseases is crucial to taking proactive steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of various diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer.

Individuals can significantly reduce their risk of developing these inflammation-related diseases by making healthy choices such as eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and managing stress.

These proactive measures can help to keep the body in a state of balanced inflammation, promoting overall health and well-being for the long term.

a. Omega 3s and Chronic Inflammatory Conditions

Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to be beneficial in managing chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.

The anti-inflammatory properties of Omega 3s can help reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms associated with these conditions. One of the key ways Omega 3s help manage chronic inflammatory conditions is by regulating cytokine production.

Cytokines are small proteins that play a crucial role in inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which helps to decrease inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms of chronic inflammatory conditions.

b. Alleviating Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, have been shown to help alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness.

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil and flaxseeds have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce joint swelling and pain. They can also help improve overall joint function and mobility.

4. Cognitive Function Enhancement

People are always looking for ways to enhance their cognitive function, whether it’s to improve focus, memory, or overall mental performance. One of the benefits of certain activities and practices is their ability to enhance cognitive function.

This can lead to improved problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and overall mental clarity. In this section, we will explore the various ways in which cognitive function can be enhanced and how these enhancements can positively impact daily life.

Whether it’s through exercises, dietary changes, or mental activities, there are various methods available for individuals looking to improve their cognitive abilities.

a. Role of Omega 3s in Brain Development and Function

Omega 3s play a crucial role in brain development and function. They are important for neurogenesis, which is the process of generating new neurons in the brain.

Omega 3s also contribute to synaptic plasticity, which is the ability of neurons to form new connections and adapt to changes in the environment. This, in turn, enhances cognitive function, including learning and memory.

Omega 3s may have a significant impact on conditions such as ADHD, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease, highlighting their role in maintaining optimal brain health. In individuals with ADHD, Omega 3 supplementation has been shown to improve attention and behavior.

For those with depression, Omega 3s may reduce symptoms and improve mood. Additionally, Omega 3s have been found to have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease, potentially delaying its onset and reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

b. Preventing Age-Related Cognitive Decline with Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids play a crucial role in preventing age-related cognitive decline by promoting brain health. They help reduce inflammation in the brain, which is linked to cognitive impairments.

Essential fatty acids also support synaptic function, the connections between brain cells that are essential for learning and memory.

Furthermore, they aid in neurotransmitter signaling, which is important for communication between brain cells. Sources of essential fatty acids include fish oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and other nuts and seeds.

5. Mood Regulation and Mental Health Support

Achieving and maintaining good mental health is essential for overall well-being. Mood regulation plays a crucial role in managing stress, anxiety, and depression.

This section will explore how certain activities, habits, and techniques can contribute to a more balanced and stable mood, leading to better mental health. We will discuss the impact of exercise, sleep, nutrition, mindfulness, and social connection on mood regulation and the benefits of seeking professional support when needed.

By understanding how we can support our mental health, we can work towards achieving a more positive and fulfilling life.

a. Omega 3s and Depression or Anxiety Disorders

Omega 3 fatty acids have been studied for their potential impact on mental health, particularly in relation to depression and anxiety disorders.

Research suggests that Omega 3s play a role in modulating neurotransmitter function, reducing inflammation, and influencing brain structure, all of which are factors that may be related to mental health conditions.

Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, are known to play a role in neurotransmitter function, including serotonin and dopamine, which are important for regulating mood and emotions.

Additionally, Omega 3s have anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation has been linked to the development of depression and anxiety. By reducing inflammation, Omega 3s may help to improve symptoms of these mental health conditions.

Furthermore, Omega 3s are important for maintaining brain structure and function, and deficiencies in these essential fatty acids have been associated with an increased risk of developing mood disorders.

Therefore, ensuring adequate intake of Omega 3 fatty acids may support healthy brain function and potentially reduce the risk of depression and anxiety disorders.

b. Benefits for ADHD Patients Through Essential Fatty Acid Supplementation

Essential fatty acid supplementation, particularly omega-3, has been shown to have numerous benefits for patients with ADHD. These fatty acids are crucial for proper brain function and development, and studies have indicated that individuals with ADHD often have lower levels of these essential fatty acids.

Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to improved cognitive function, including attention, memory, and learning abilities. These fatty acids also play a role in regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help improve mood and behavior in individuals with ADHD.

Furthermore, essential fatty acid supplementation has been found to reduce symptoms commonly associated with ADHD, such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. This can lead to an overall improvement in the quality of life for patients, as they experience better control over their behaviors and emotions.

Incorporating essential fatty acids into the diet or through supplementation can, therefore, be a beneficial and natural way to support individuals with ADHD, potentially providing them with the necessary nutrients to help manage their symptoms and enhance their cognitive function and behavior.


Incorporating essential fatty acid supplements into your daily routine offers many health benefits, including promoting heart and brain health.

These supplements are an easily accessible and convenient way to ensure optimal use of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients, including amino acids, crucial for your overall well-being.

However, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen to ensure it aligns with your specific health goals and needs.

By making essential fatty acid supplements a part of your wellness routine, you can take proactive steps towards better health and a higher quality of life.

Essential Fatty Acid Supplement – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are essential fatty acids supplements?

Essential fatty acid supplements are dietary supplements containing crucial fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own. They typically include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, often derived from fish oil or plant-based sources.

What is the best essential fatty acid?

The best essential fatty acids are often considered to be omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA, due to their numerous health benefits, including supporting heart and brain health.

How can I increase my essential fatty acid intake?

To increase your essential fatty acid intake, consider incorporating more fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and plant oils into your diet or taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

What are the 7 essential fatty acids?

The 7 essential fatty acids typically include three types of omega-3 (ALA, EPA, DHA) and four types of omega-6 fatty acids (LA, GLA, DGLA, AA).

Is omega-3 an essential fatty acid?

Yes, omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, crucial for health and must be obtained through diet or omega-3 fatty acid supplements, as the body cannot produce it on its own.

What happens if I take omega-3 everyday?

Taking omega-3 fatty acids supplements daily can support heart health, reduce inflammation, and improve brain function, but it’s important to stick to recommended dosages to avoid potential side effects.

Can I take omega-3 without a doctor?

While omega-3 supplements are generally safe, it’s advisable to consult a doctor before starting any new supplement, especially if you have existing health conditions or take other medications.

Is fish oil safe to take daily?

Fish oil, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, is generally safe to take daily within recommended dosages. However, high doses may have adverse effects and should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Who should not take omega-3?

Individuals who are allergic to fish, taking blood thinners, or have certain health conditions may need to avoid omega-3 supplements and should consult with a healthcare provider.

Which fruit contains omega-3?

While fruits are not a significant source of omega-3, some, like avocados and berries, contain small amounts, but for higher intake, fatty acid supplements or omega-rich foods are recommended.

What are the symptoms of lack of omega-3?

Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency can include dry skin, brittle nails, fatigue, poor memory, and mood swings. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate these symptoms.

What are the symptoms of EFA deficiency?

Symptoms of essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency include dry, scaly skin, poor wound healing, hair loss, and immune dysfunction. Addressing this can involve dietary changes or essential fatty acid supplements.

Disclaimer: This content, including advice, provides generic information only. It is not a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Ingredient Fact does not claim responsibility for this information.

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