What are Omega-3 fatty acids ?
Omega-3 fatty acids, otherwise known as n-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are compulsory nutrients for health. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in many of the normal functions of the body like control of blood clot and building cell membranes in the brain. As these are not synthesizedin the body, they have to be obtained from food. These fattyacids are also found to be beneficial for protecting against heart disease or stroke. The recent studies conducted on Omega-3 fatty acids have revealed that they are potentially valuable for medical conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus like autoimmune disease.
Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids
There are two main kinds of Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. One of them is alpha-linolenic acid or ALA and the other types are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The food sources of ALA are rapeseed, flaxseed, soyabean, and walnut vegetable oil. ALA is availableas plenty in Spinach, Brussels sprouts, Salad greens, and Kale. The EPA and DHA are found to be present in fatty fish. The ALA is partially converted to EPA and DHA by the body. It is recommended by the experts that one must atleast intend to eat one rich source of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet everyday.
Omega-3 fatty acids – cognitive function in women
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the cognitive function of the aged individuals. The docosahexaenoic acid,forming part of neuronal membranealong with eicosapentaenoic acid was found to be showing positive effects of oxidation and cell death, neuronal functioning and inflammation. These fatty acids also show a beneficial effect on the development of Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Omega-3 fatty acids show salutary effects on the inflammation, vascular function, lipids and thrombosis while preventing vascular dementia.
The epidemiological studies have shown evidence for the strong association of omega-3FA levels, cognitive decline and fish. The short-term randomized clinical trials of EPA or DHA supplementation were found to show positive influence on a few aspects of cognition in elder people who were intact cognitively or had a little impairment in cognition. The Alzheimer’s disease participants had very little impact of DHA and EPA on them.
A recent research compilation on various topics related to the association of omega-3 fatty acids and inflammation as an article was published in Natural News, compiled by Mike Adam. According to this article, a research study has revealed that omega-3 fatty acids could protect against stroke by improving blood pressure, lipid metabolism, cardiac function, inflammation, and vascular function. Omega-3fattyacid rich oils were known to reduce the triglyceride and cholesterol levels in diabetics. The prevention of high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, inflammation and allergies, psoriasis, and eczema is done by Omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids and depression
In a research study that was conducted recently at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the results were checked after treatment of the patients with fattyacids. They showed improvement in daily stress, depression, and suicidality scores. Using omega-3 fatty acids in the people who are suffering from depression in spite of taking antidepressant medications, could reduce the intensity of depression. Several other research studies have revealed that the usage of omega-3 fatty acids could reduce clinical depression.