Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids required for normal body functioning. They are also known as “good fats”. Since the human body does not have the mechanism to synthesize, Omega-3 fatty acid on its own, suppliement should be done externally through diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are long chain poly unsaturated fatty acids that exists in two important forms: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Alpha Linolenic acid (ALA) is another important form of Omega-3 fatty acid, but they can be utilized by the body only when it is converted into EPA or DHA.
According to World Health Organization, an average healthy adult should consume about 0.3-0.6 grams of EPA and DHA and 0.7-1.1 grams of ALA per day.
Food items rich in omega-3 fatty acids include olive oil, soy bean, soybean oil, walnut, walnut oil, pumpkin seed, flax seed, flax seed oil, brazil nut, atlantic herring, tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardine, halibut etc.
It helps in reducing high blood pressure.
It helps in lowering blood triglyceride level
It helps in increasing the level of HDL or the good cholesterol level in the blood.
It plays an important role in reducing the risk of heart diseases.
It plays an important role in relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis especially joint pains.
In many patients, the regular intake of Omega-3 fatty acid has been effective in relieving the symptoms of the auto immune disease Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
It helps in increasing the level of calcium in the body and thus found to be effective in treatment of Osteoporosis.
It plays an important role in reducing the risk of cancer especially colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer.
In many patients, the daily intake of Omega-3 fatty acids had found to be effective in relieving the menstrual pain or Dysmenorrhea.
The normal intake of dietary Omega-3 fatty acids does not cause any side effects as such. But in some individuals, the over intake of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements had shown some side effects like nausea, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain etc.