6 Benefits of Omega-3: The Why Behind Omega-3 Supplements
Did you know the UK has some of the lowest omega-3 levels among the healthy adult population? It occupies the alarmingly low position on the chart, alongside Ireland, Italy, and Greece. 
This is due to the prevalence of the Western diet and the poor omega-3 dietary intake. Fish and chips may be our national dish, but numbers say eating fish might not be our style after all.
This is some seriously bad news in terms of public health.
Yet, the health benefits of these important fatty acids have been covered with extensive research—especially the types found in seafood and fish oil supplements. These “healthy fats” are major structural components of cell membranes.
They can have a profound impact on learning and mental health and have protective effects for several chronic diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks. 
Even so, most people in the UK are unaware of these benefits. Data gathered from the 2021 Mortar London survey provide the unflattering numbers you can see below:
● 8 in 10 people are unaware of the heart and vascular health benefits of omega-3s.
● Over 50% of survey participants are unknowledgeable about food sources of omega-3. 
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids found in foods, the human body and dietary supplements.
Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids, they’re grouped into 3 main types, according to their chain lengths:
● Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
● Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
● Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
The short-chain omega-3 ALA is considered essential. In other words, the human body cannot produce it so it must be sourced from food.
But what about the long-chain omega-3 EPA and DHA?
Small amounts of them can be converted from ALA in the liver. But these amounts are so insignificant ( 5% to 10%) that you also need to get your EPA and DHA from dietary sources.
What Are the Dietary Sources of Omega-3?
The main dietary source of omega-3 is fatty fish. Plant food sources such as pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts can work for those who don't eat fish. They will provide you with ample amounts of ALA— and some of it, and although not much, will convert into EPA and DHA.
Below is the breakdown of food sources rich in omega-3s.
Main Dietary Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
EPA and DHA
Seafood and fatty fish, most prominently salmon, mackerel, sardines, some white fish, caviar, and algae oils
Nuts and plant oils: black walnuts, chia seeds, soybean, canola, and flaxseed oil
If you want to make sure your body gets enough omega-3s, you can also turn to fortified foods. Some bread and butter groceries like milk and margarine are omega-3 fortified.
Still, as things stand, your best bet is to include more oily fish in your diet, as these fortified foods won't yield much EPA and DHA—which are the real deal when you look at health benefits.
Omega-3 fish oils, consumed from the diet or by taking fish oil supplements remain the best source of EPA and DHA. And this brings us to our next section.
Which One Is Which—Is Fish Oil and Omega-3 the Same?
Omega-3 fatty acids are compounds found in human bodies, nutritional or fish oil supplement forms while fish oil is a source rich in those important compounds.
There’s one important distinction. While omega-3 can be found in fish oil, it doesn't contain all forms of it. In addition to what has been said, fish oil contains other elements besides omega-3 fatty acids.
We use “fish oil” as a generic term to denote a substance found in food and dietary supplements that has been extracted from the tissues of oily fish.
Health Benefits of Omega-3
1. Help Fight Heart Disease
There is scientific evidence that links omega-3 fatty acids with a decreased cardiovascular risk. They’ve been found to benefit healthy people, those who already suffer from cardiovascular disease, and high-risk groups. 
Omega-3s’ are found to lower blood pressure, the “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels—all markers associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease.
They're also good at dilating blood vessels, increasing blood flow, and preventing blood clots.
Still, there are mixed results when it comes to cardiovascular outcomes. Some studies found omega-3 fatty acids can’t reduce the risk of adverse heart disease-related outcomes. Sudden cardiac death, heart attack, or stroke included.
Yet, as new data emerges, there’s more reason for hope. A recently updated meta-analysis found that omega-3 fish oil supplementation brings an 8% reduction of heart attack and other related cardiovascular events.
Note that this translates into millions of lives saved worldwide. 
2. Omega-3 Benefits for Hair and Skin
Omega-3 fatty acids can also improve the health of your hair and skin. It can benefit people with oily or dry skin, as well as those struggling with brittle and thin hair.
They’re the right natural ingredient to boost skin health and reduce inflammation. They’re also effective in soothing skin irritation and slowing down skin aging.
Sufficient omega-3 intake will leave you with softer, moisturized, and more supple skin. This is thanks to the amazing DHA.
DHA functions as a major structural component of your skin, keeping the health of your cell membranes in order.
EPA is another powerful agent involved in skin health.  It:
● Reduces the risk of spots and blemishes.
● Regulates oil production and hydration of your skin.
● Fights premature skin aging by protecting skin collagen from damaging substances released after sun exposure.
Omega-3s can also improve hair growth, reduce hair brittleness, and contribute to shinier, more glossy hair. They help keep the scalp hydrated, thereby increasing hair density.
3. Help Treat Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a complex condition that makes people vulnerable to other health
complications such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
It makes up a cluster of the following conditions:
● Central obesity (aka belly fat)
● High blood pressure
● High triglycerides and low “good” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) levels.
● Insulin resistance
That said, omega-3 fatty acids can lower heart disease risk factors as well as treat chronic inflammation and insulin resistance in people with metabolic syndrome. 
4. Help You Stay Lucid and Sharp
Omega-3 benefits for the brain are no less impressive than others already discussed. Long-chain essential fat types DHA and EPA play an important part in the formation of neuronal synapses and membrane fluidity.
So, it doesn’t surprise that omega-3 fatty acids can provide relief from many neuropsychiatric conditions, like :
● Cognitive decline and memory loss
● Post-traumatic stress disorder
● Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease
● Multiple sclerosis and borderline personality disorder
Some studies show the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on reduced risk of cognitive decline but results remain mixed and inconclusive. However, DHA has been shown to delay the onset of AD symptoms and slow early memory loss in APOE4 gene carriers. APOE4 is a gene associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 
5. Help Relieve ADHD Symptoms In Children
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that comes with a list of related symptoms. These include hyperactivity, short attention span, restlessness, and having trouble concentrating.
Although omega-3 is not yet on the list of prescribed medicines for this condition, research shows promise that it can help children with ADHD.
One such study by King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience found it can reduce inattention and hyperactivity in children and adolescents with ADHD. 
6. Help Fight Depression
Omega-3 fatty acids may help people cope with mood disorders and depression. But taking into account very low-quality evidence, research remains inconclusive.
There’s a body of research that explores the effects of omega-3s on the major depressive disorder (MDD).
● A 2015 evaluation of 26 studies suggests beneficial effects of omega-3s are limited to cases of more severe depressive symptomatology. 
● Another study shows the significant clinical benefit of omega-3s consumption compared to placebo in patient groups that have and have not been diagnosed with MDD. It also demonstrates better clinical efficacy of EPA than that of DHA. 
Why Take Omega-3 Supplements?
You may be thinking to yourself: Do I need omega-3s in the form of a supplement? For many of us, the answer is yes.
To be on the safe side, use the following benchmark—if oily fish is not a staple in your diet, it might be advisable to turn to supplements.
Tom Oliver Nutrition’s Omega-3 Supplements meet the EFSA recommended dietary allowance for EPA and DHA. The fatty acids are derived from oily fish caught off the coast of Peru and Chile, lauded as one of the richest sources of marine omega-3s.
They’re sustainably sourced from MSC certified fisheries, which makes them a good alternative to krill oil that may cause environmental concerns due to overfishing. Sourced from herring caviar and fish oil.
Our Omega-3s are sourced from herring caviar and fish oil. They’re packed with benefits that satisfy both the health-conscious and the environmentally-conscious mind. Our Omega-3s:
● Go easy on your digestion (they’re easy to swallow and cause no fishy aftertaste)
● Are fortified with phospholipids, meaning they’re three times more absorbable than standard fish oil (also meaning they come to you in a 60 days’ worth one-a-day formula package that’s also easy on the environment)
Knowledge Is Power—Get Your Hands On It Today
There’s plenty of scientific data that backs up the role of omega-3 as a good preventative agent.
Making sure you get enough micronutrients and omega-3s from your diet and supplements can help you boost your brain and heart health. It can also keep inflammation and chronic disease at bay.
It’s never too late to take command of your health—and this has been our strapline. Tom Oliver Nutrition is an eCommerce store that offers premium nutritional supplements and aims to advance your mental and physical well being.