This Omega-3 can be heard and read everywhere. But what exactly is it?
Omega-3 are actually several fatty acids. More precisely, as the name suggests, they are called omega-3 fatty acids.
The human organism needs fatty acids in many respects:
- As an energy source.
- As a component of cell membranes
- As a starting substance for hormones and metabolic products for inflammatory reactions.
Let’s take a look behind the 3, why there is an omega and what this fish oil has to do with it.
Omega-3 is not only a fatty acid, but the same several!
Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids. They are part of the omega-n fatty acids – the omega-6 fatty acids are also well known.
They are essential to our diet in the literal sense: we cannot live without them and it cannot be produced independently by our bodies.
Before you knew it was a fatty acid, it was also known as vitamin F. Nowadays it is called omega-3 fatty acid because of its chemical structure.
A little excursion into chemistry
Omega is the key word for the old designation of fatty acid, which states that counting from the so-called omega end to the first double bond in the chemical structure of fatty acid. The 3 then simply means that the third bond is a double bond.
Fish oil and omega-3. Where to get the essential fatty acid from
Omega-3 fatty acids are present in a wide variety of foods. Algae, plants or fish contain omega-3 as triglycerides.
In addition to vegetable oils such as linseed oil, chia oil or perilla oil, which provide us with alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), it is the fish oils that supply us with omega-3 fatty acids. Fat fish in particular contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapenaetic acid (EPA), which belong to the omega-3 fatty acids. These include:
- Atlantic salmon with 1.8 omega-3 fatty acid content
- Anchovy with 1.7
- Sardine with 1.4
- Atlantic herring with 1.2
- Mackerel with 1
- Whitefin tuna with 0.7
Fish can produce omega-3 themselves. For this purpose, they absorb the omega-3 fatty acid DHA via the algae as food.
The fact that the
and Ulkenia have a high omega-3 fatty acid content is now also used by us humans. They are used in the form of microalgae oils as a dietary supplement for omega-3 fatty acids.
However, the vegetable omega-3 in the form of alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) needs a very precise ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a ratio of 5:1 (omega-6 to omega-3).
However, our usual diet has a ratio of 7:1, which is very unfavorable. Conditions of 15:1 or 30:1 are not uncommon in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
A 2016 study by the UK universities of Southampton and Reading concluded that the vegetable omega-3 fatty acid (ALA) is an unsuitable substitute for fish oil.
If you live vegan,a sufficient supply of fatty acid is therefore difficult. Of course, you can’t get around plant substitutes here. You should make sure that they do not consist of alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), because this is not a sufficient substitute for the docosahexaenoic acid.
However, the docosahexaenoic acid produced from microalgae in the microalgae oils, e.g. from schizochytrium, provides you with the essential fatty acid – completely vegan.
How important is omega-3 as a food? Does this help your body?
Omega-3 has long been considered a miracle cure. Since then, there have been many studies. In general, therefore, there is currently no reliable evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are generally beneficial to health.
However, it has been proventhat you need omega-3 fatty acids for normal heart function. If your organism has a deficiency of omega-3, positive effects may also occur in some other areas.
In addition to the positive effects for your body, a variety of positive effects for the psyche are also suspected. However, there are still major studies missing here which prove this definitively. Improvements are suspected in:
- Alzheimer ‘s
- Borderline personality
- Attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder
In addition to the psychological effects, there are also signs that the risk of stroke may decrease.
The European Food Safety Authority (efsa) devoted itself to fatty acids in October 2010 and has come up with a recommendation in at least one area: omega-3 fatty acids (at least EPA and DHA) contribute to the maintenance of normal heart function.
Omega-3 fatty acids for the heart and vessels
According to studies on a total of 30,000 people (dART, DART-2, JELIS and GISSI-P), omega-3 has a positive effect on our heart and vessels. The fatty acid gives you a whole range of positive effects:
- Prevention of cardiac arrhythmias
- Stabilization of vascular districts
- Slowed change in coronary vessels
- Reduction of triglycerides
- Preventive action against coronary heart disease
- Promoting blood circulation
- Inhibition of the clumping of platelets (platelet aggregation)
Omega-3 during pregnancy. Is that possible?
This is possible and it is even recommended. It has some positive effectson pregnancy:
- Early supplementation can reducethe likelihood of premature birth.
- It is thought that bed time depression is less common. An intervention study is still missing.
- Omega-3 fatty acid DHA contributes to normal development of an infant’s brain, eyes and vision.
- The combination of the omega-3 fatty acids ALA (from 0.2 of the total daily energy) and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (from 1 of the total daily energy) are necessary for healthy development and healthy growth in children.
The researchers agree during pregnancy that supplementation of omega-3 fatty acid DHA in pregnancy is beneficial.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential
We have explained for you what this omega, these 3 and the fish oil have to do with each other. Even if omega-3 is not a panacea, you should not underestimate the need for fatty acid. It is not for nothing one of the essential substances and has numerous positive effects on our organism.
Whether with a vegan diet, a meaty diet or during pregnancy: Omega-3 can help you and your organism in appropriate doses. As always, however, you should always ask your doctor of trust if you lack the nutrient.