Omega-3 fatty acids
Fats generally have a bad reputation. They are held responsible for weight gain and other diseases. But not all fats are the same. Every dietary fat consists of three different types of fatty acids: saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The fats that contain a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids are of great health value.
Saturated fatty acids, such as those found in meat, sausages or dairy products, are fuel fats, increase blood lipids and are stored in the fat cells as storage fats when in excess. Unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, serve as building and functional fats. They have a positive impact on fat metabolism, have anti-inflammatory properties, counteract hardening blood vessels and are required as cell building blocks. Unsaturated fatty acids are a vital component of a healthy diet.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a special group within the polyunsaturated fatty acids. They belong to the essential fatty acids and are therefore vital for our body. The most biologically active forms of omega-3 fatty acids are EPA (eicopentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). This group also includes alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) - this form is converted into EPA and DHA by the body. It occurs in plant products such as linseed oil.
Which foods contain omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in vegetable oils and fatty fish. The alpha-linolenic acid can be consumed by humans especially from linseed, rapeseed, walnuts and the oils obtained from them. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are found in fatty fish from cold water sources, whereas freshwater fish contain only small amounts. The top fish are mackerel, tuna and herring, but also anchovies. Small fish in particular not only have a particularly well-balanced fatty acid ratio of EPA and DHA, but are also only slightly contaminated with pollutants compared to larger fish species.
Omega-3 fatty acid as a dietary supplement
Often it is not possible to get enough omega-3 fatty acids with the diet. In this case, I recommend taking it as a dietary supplement. Regular intake is especially useful for pregnant women, elderly people, those with elevated cholesterol levels, cardiovascular diseases, memory disorders or depression. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered a powerful antioxidant that can cross even the blood-brain barrier. Its outstanding properties are its anti-inflammatory effect and its anti-sclerotic effect on the vessels (i.e. against hardening blood vessels).
Dosage of omega-3 fatty acids
- about 650 mg per day for normal, healthy adults
- 1,000 mg in those with increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- 2,000 mg for those who want to lower cholesterol or triglyceride levels