Omega 3s are essential for the body, because they prevent cardiovascular disease and preserve the nervous system. The body does not synthesize these polyunsaturated fatty acids, but they are present in many foods. Discover the nutrients that allow you to fill up on omega 3.
There are two main families of essential fatty acids: omega 6 , which protect the immune system as well as the heart, and omega 3 , which are necessary for the proper functioning of the retina, brain and nervous system. These lipids also play a role in heart health. They allow in particular to:
- lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure;
- lowering the amount of triglycerides, a type of fat, in the blood. These can cause heart disease when too much is present in the body;
- reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Omega 3: these polyunsaturated fatty acids are not produced by the body
Omega 3s are therefore essential for the development of the body, but they are not produced by the body. They are synthesized from a precursor, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in food. From this organic compound, the body can make other omega 3 fatty acids like eicosapentaneoic acids (EPA) and docosahexaenoics (DHA).
According to the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES), new studies have observed that EPA and DHA could have a positive impact on mental health in adults. These omega 3s could in particular prevent depression , dementia and Alzheimer’s disease . ” Although other studies must confirm and specify the effects of these fatty acids”, specifies ANSES. Another benefit of these two components? They play a role in preventing age-related degeneration (AMD). A deficiency in omega 3 could therefore increase the risks of this eye disorder.
What foods are rich in omega 3?
Omega 3 is mainly found in foods derived from terrestrial plants and those of animal origin such as oily fish. The nutrients rich in omega 3 are:
- dairy products
- Red meat
- rapeseed oil
- linseed oil
- soybean oil
- the salmon
According to ANSES, it is foods such as dairy products, red meat or eggs that provide the majority of omega 3 intakes . These nutrients, however, have lower fatty acid contents, but they are consumed more often than oils or fatty fish.
What are the symptoms of omega 3 deficiency?
“Sufficient intake of omega 3 is therefore essential in women of childbearing age, pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children ,” explains ANSES on its online platform. Omega 3 deficiency manifests itself in fatigue, memory impairment, heart problems, and dry skin.
In pregnant women , a lack of omega 3 can prevent the proper development of the fetus and then cause health problems in the infant such as joint problems, growth retardation or gastrointestinal problems.
Research, published in the journal Nature Neurosciences , suggested that a reduced level of omega 3 could decrease the functions of neurons involved in the control of emotional behaviors. For this study, scientists from Inserm, Inra and Spanish researchers carried out tests on mice. Rodents therefore followed diets with imbalances between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
During the study, the researchers observed a disruption in nerve transmission in the malnourished mice. According to their results, the omega 3 deficiency caused depressive behaviors in these rodents.