Last updated: August 19, 2021

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Thank you for visiting Monederosmart once again! Usually when we hear someone talk about Omega 3, the first thing that comes to mind is salmon. And it is true, it is one of the foods richest in it. However, we want to tell you more about it so that you can learn more about its properties and why it is essential for you.

To begin with, it is important to understand what it is and how it is constituted in order to truly value and appreciate its attributes. It has many known benefits, to the extent that it is considered a basic element in diets and in countries such as Japan it is recognised for maintaining a low mortality rate.

Here at Monederosmart we know that your health and the health of your loved ones is a priority. Therefore, we are committed to providing you with information that will help you make wise decisions and to informing you about the variety of products you can find on the market - we are sure you will be able to find one that is right for you!




The most important things to know

  • Omega-3 is a fatty acid that is known as polyunsaturated because of the way it is constituted and contains essential nutrients for the proper functioning of your body and brain. Most notably, it is known to help maintain the proper functioning of cell membranes.
  • There are several types of omega fatty acids and they are all part of what we know as healthy fats or, in fancy terms, unsaturated fats. This is a supplement that both nutritionists and various medical specialists recommend because of the serious health effects of long-term deficiency.
  • When buying an Omega 3 food supplement, there are a few things we recommend you take into consideration, such as whether it is a certified product, the concentration of the fatty acids that make up Omega 3 and any additional ingredients the product contains.

The Best Omega 3: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about omega 3

Before you make your choice of product, we would like to discuss a few details that we consider important. First of all, it is important to know what omega-3 is, why it is considered an essential fatty acid, the advantages of taking it and the disadvantages of not taking it.

For my health! (Photo: vgstudio / 123rf.com)

What is Omega 3?

Omega 3 is a fatty acid that due to its constitution is known as polyunsaturated, i.e. it has two or more double bonds in the carbon chains that form it. Therefore, its chemical structure includes fatty acids such as ALA (alpha-inoleic acid), EPA (ecosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (decosahexaenoic acid).

These fatty acids are very important for our health and the only way we can get them is through what we eat. This means that our body does not produce them, which is why they are called essential fatty acids. Basically, these fatty acids are obtained from animal oils and algae.

What are the advantages of consuming Omega 3?

Their main function is to maintain the proper functioning of cell membranes by helping substances to move in and out of a cell, i.e. the cell exchange process. However, we would like to summarise in the following table how we notice this in our health and how a deficiency of it manifests itself:

Advantages
  • Increases flexibility in joints
  • Aids concentration and memory
  • Brain development
  • Promotes the functioning of the nervous system
  • Promotes vision
  • Improves the functioning of the immune system
  • Improves skin
  • Production of good HDL cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular protection
  • Reduces triglycerides
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Repair of cell walls
Disadvantages
  • Joint pain
  • Attention and memory deficits
  • Brain development problems
  • Increased neurodegenerative diseases
  • Eye problems
  • Allergies and being prone to diseases of all kinds
  • Dryness and skin problems
  • Increased bad cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Increased triglycerides
  • Diabetes
  • Atrophy in cellular exchange

By promoting the repair of cell walls there will be an optimal cellular exchange that allows the joints to be flexible and pain free, to have a production of good HDL cholesterol and triglycerides are reduced; to have better vision, to have healthy skin and good memory, among other things.

A healthy body is the result of healthy cells. (Photo: blueringmedia / 123rf.com)

Omega 3, 6, or 9 - What should you look out for?

When choosing an Omega product consider that there are several types of Omega or fatty acids. The best known are Omega 3, 6 and 9 with their differences. All three provide different benefits and in this article we have only focused on Omega 3, but if it is combined with either or both it will mean that it covers a wider range of deficiencies:

Omega 3: This form of polyunsaturated essential fatty acid is best suited to heart, brain and inflammation problems.

Omega 6: This form of polyunsaturated essential fatty acid is best suited as a natural energy source and for the immune system.

Omega 9: This non-essential fatty acid form - because unlike the two previous ones, we produce it ourselves - monounsaturated is the most suitable for metabolic processes, cholesterol reduction and insulin regulation.

Food Benefits
Omega 3 Salmon, tuna, sardines, etc. Cardiovascular, cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.
Omega 6 Nuts, green vegetables, avocado, etc. Immune system and anti-inflammatory
Omega 9 Vegetable and animal fats Prevents hardening of the arteries.

How is Omega 3 made up?

We previously mentioned that Omega 3 is polyunsaturated and that it contains three main fatty acids in its structure. Now, did you know that the number 3 given to this Omega is because there are three carbon atoms between the first and last double bond? Very interesting, isn't it?

Now, the fatty acids it contains are alpha-linolenic acid-ALA, ecoxapentaenoic acid-EPA and decosahexaenoic acid-DHA. They are all characterised by being very flexible and this allows them to adapt in a fraction of a second to interact with other molecules to help maintain the functioning of the cell membrane.

However, each has its own structure and function. For example, one characteristic of ALA is that our body can convert it into EPA and DHA, although not in large quantities. On the other hand, EPA helps more in the cardiovascular or inflammatory processes while DHA is more involved in the brain and nervous system.

(Photo: ocusfocus / pixabay.com)

What health problems are caused by a deficiency of Omega 3?

The combination of the oils contained in Omega 3 and its aforementioned characteristics make it a very powerful antioxidant that not only improves our physical and mental health, but also improves our mood. For this reason it is recommended for people suffering from depression.

Omega 3 is not a vitamin or a mineral that is going to stay in our body for a long time like calcium in our bones. In fact, because it is involved in the metabolic process of the cells, it is quickly depleted and can lead to a deficiency which in the long term can have serious consequences for our health.

Here are just a few of the health problems caused by a deficiency of Omega 3 in addition to the ones we have already mentioned in the disadvantages because the list could be much longer. It is important to remember that Omega 3 deficiency does not imply that it is the root of the problem but it does contribute to accelerate these processes:

  • Allergies: such as asthma or food allergies.
  • At the cerebral level: Alzheimer's, headaches, schizophrenia, migraines, ADHD, etc.
  • Autoimmune: lupus, arthritis, diabetes, sclerosis, etc.
  • Cancer
  • Digestive: constipation, diarrhoea, etc.
  • Skin problems: atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, etc.
  • Nervous system problems: Parkinson's disease, dementia, neuralgia, etc.

(Photo: stevepb / pixabay.com)

Purchasing criteria

Omega 3 food supplements, unlike some other supplements, are obtained from both animal and vegetable oils that require special processing and handling to ensure their preservation. For this reason, it is very important that you consider the following in order to obtain quality products:

Certification

When you buy an Omega 3 you need to check that it has a certification. For this, there is an international organisation that regulates the quality standard of this type of product. The organisation has the following acronym IFOS - International Fish Oil Standards.

IFOS applies an analysis to corroborate that it complies with the WHO - World Health Organisation - and the CRN - Council for Responsible Nutrition. This certification not only guarantees the concentration but also guarantees that the product is safe for you to consume.

Concentration

The certification not only guarantees international quality standards but also states that for a product to be considered of quality it must have an adequate concentration of essential fatty acids. In this case, it must provide more than 60% of EPA and DHA fatty acids.

However, this is not the only concentration to watch out for. Also check that oxidation levels are below 75%. For this, three variables are taken into account to ensure that the product is not rancid as they consider the handling of the product, conservation, oxidation at the time and in total.

Finally, you need to look at the levels of dioxins which should be less than 50% and of heavy metals and the so called inappreciable contaminants which should be less than 1 per million. A high content of these can cause major problems in the central nervous system, endocrine system, brain and different organs.

Dicho popular
"A cautious man is worth two".

Extra ingredients

When we talk about extra ingredients, we are not referring to the inclusion of Omega 6 or Omega 9. Nor are we talking about whether it contains vitamin E, because that's all good. By extra ingredients we mean ingredients such as glycerine, purified water, bovine gelatine, etc. These are used for preservation or to prevent oxidation.

These extra ingredients are important as they determine the bioavailability of the product. By bioavailability we mean that it determines how easily our body can utilise the nutrients in fatty acids such as Omega 3. In short, it determines how much of the product can be absorbed.

If a product is more processed we have less bioavailability. If a product largely retains its natural structure, then it will be absorbed more easily. For example, glycerine prevents capsules from breaking down. Certain colourants give the capsule a dark colour and help prevent it from oxidising on exposure to light, etc.

(Featured Image Source: NJoyHarmony/ Pixabay.com)

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