The Omega 3’s are essential fatty acids that we do not want to go without! I hope we have all moved on from the ill-advised low-fat diet craze of the 80’s and 90’s, but we may still hang on to some mental adversity at adding fats into our diet on purpose. However, this is exactly what we should be doing! If you are not eating at least 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week, you should consider taking a supplement. Our bodies need Omega 3 essential fatty acids to function and they deliver some big health benefits:
Omega 3’s have been shown to lower the triglyceride levels in our blood, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
A diet high in omega-3s lowers inflammation, which can be helpful in conditions such as arthritis and asthma. It is also good for dry skin, and dry eyes and macular degeneration.
High levels of omega 3 oils may help with mood stabilization, depression and even help prevent dementia (more research needed on this).
Omega 3 oils are made up of two crucial fatty acids -- EPA and DHA – and these are primarily found in certain fish. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds and grains. ALA is less useful than EPA.
There is a massive wall of vitamins and dietary supplements at every pharmacy, grocery store and health food store. How does one figure out which Omega 3 supplement to take?? The basic rules are: look for high levels of DHA and EPA, not ALA. The DHA and EPA can be in an ethyl ester form or a triglyceride form. Ethyl ester is cheaper to produce, but your body does not absorb this form well. Triglyceride form is the one you want. It mimics the form of the Omega 3 as it is found in fish flesh, and has better bioavailability.
Supplements come in capsules or liquid form. Good quality products should not taste fishy, even in the liquid form. If you cannot have fish, there are Vegan products made from plankton that have DHA and EPA, and this is a great alternative. Armstrong Optometry has sourced both the capsules and the liquid and found excellent quality products to offer our patients. Contact us if you have any questions or to purchase these important supplements!
Dr. Lisa Scharf