spilled bottle of pills

Should you take an omega-3 fish oil supplement?

Consider this real-life scenario…

You’re sitting in a restaurant looking over the menu trying to decide what to order.

  • Do you choose grilled salmon served with steamed broccoli and brown rice?
  • Or do you order the T-bone steak served with mashed potatoes and gravy and a pat of butter?

Before you rattle off your order to your server, consider making your decision based on which meal contains healthier fats.

  • The fish or the steak?
  • The leafy greens or the potatoes?

If you need a little help, here’s a hint: Not all fats are bad. The salmon dish served with steamed broccoli contains healthy fats known as omega-3 fatty acids that your body uses to:

  • Protect your heart
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Lower triglyceride levels
  • Control blood pressure, and…
  • Keep your brain healthy

Even if you order the salmon, here’s the thing: Most people don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.

One recent study found that 67% of adults don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.(1)

Take a closer look at your diet. How often are you eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids like:

  • Healthy oils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Certain types of vegetables
  • Legumes

If you’re not eating enough of these foods on a regular basis, taking an omega-3 supplement can help.

In the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025), the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends most adults consume:2

450 to 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day

If you find that hard to do only from food sources, take an omega-3 fish oil supplement, and check out these 5 health benefits of getting enough omega-3s in your diet:

  1. Happy Heart: Omega-3s help lower your risk for heart problems, like heart disease. Fish oil supplements can lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, which is good news for your ticker.(3)
  2. Brainpower Boost: Omega-3s are like brain fuel. They help protect and improve brain function, memory and thinking. One of the omega-3s, called DHA, is like a building block for your brain. It helps you think and remember stuff.(4)
  3. Mood Management: Did you know omega-3s can also put you in a good mood? It’s true! Some studies say they can help with feelings like being sad, anxious or depressed.(5) These fatty acids can help your brain work right and make those happy chemicals. They’re not a magic cure, but they can give your mood a little boost.
  4. Joint-Pain Relief: Sometimes, our joints can ache, especially when we get older or have conditions like arthritis. Omega-3s can help. They help reduce inflammation, which is what makes your joints hurt. If you want to move comfortably and have less joint pain, omega-3 fish oil supplements may help.(6)
  5. Healthy Skin: Getting adequate omega-3 fatty acids from foods and supplement form can help improve skin health. It helps keep your skin hydrated and prevent dryness. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to help manage skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.(7) Getting most of your omega-3 fatty acids from food sources is the best way to go. But if that’s hard for you to do, adding an omega-3 fatty acid fish oil supplement to balance things out can improve your health.

Sources:

  1. Murphy, R., et al. (2021). Long-chain omega-3 fatty acid serum concentrations across life stages in the USA: an analysis of NHANES 2011–2012. BMJ Open, 11(5): e043301. From: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/11/5/e043301.info
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2020). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. From: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/resources/2020-2025-dietary-guidelines-online-materials
  3. National Institutes of Health. (2023). Omega-3 fatty acids. From: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
  4. Dighriri, I., et al. (2022). Effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on brain functions: A systematic review. Cureus, 14(10): e30091. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9641984/
  5. Liao, Y., et al. (2019). Efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs in depression: A meta-analysis. Translational Psychiatry, 9:190. From: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0515-5
  6. Kostoglou-Athanassiou, I., et al. (2020). The effect of omega-3 fatty acids on rheumatoid arthritis. Mediterranean Journal of Rheumatology, 31(2): 190-194. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7362115/
  7. Sawada, Y., et al. (2020). Omega 3 fatty acid and skin diseases. Frontiers in Immunology, 11:623052. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7892455/

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