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Guide to omega-3 supplements
Discover the research behind these essential fatty acids
If you keep up with health developments, you’ve likely come across information about omega-3 fatty acids. This advantageous supplement reportedly offers a range of benefits, including cell growth support, muscle activity, and heart health. So what’s the scoop about omega-3 supplements? While research on the topic is still ongoing, it’s becoming increasingly clear that these potent fatty acids shows potential in many areas.
What are omega-3 supplements?
As a type of polyunsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids are considered a “healthy” form of fat that plays a vital role in cell function. They help form the structure of cell membranes, regulate interactions between cells, and provide your body with energy via calories. Omega-3s are primarily concentrated in your eyes and brain but support many bodily functions, including your endocrine system (which controls your hormones) and the cardiovascular system. However, the body can’t form them on its own, which is where omega-3 supplements come in.
Types of omega-3s
N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are the active ingredients in omega-3 supplements and typically come from fish oils. Most of the research on omega-3s focuses on these two types, but there is also a plant-based version:
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) inhibits the enzymes that produce pro-inflammatory eicosanoids.
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a critical component of synaptic vesicles in the neurons of the eye’s retina.
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) arises in plants, and the body converts it into small amounts of EPA.
What foods contain omega-3s?
Fish contains the highest concentrations of omega-3s in the form of EPA and DHA. Fish is also a high-protein, low-fat meat packed with other nutrients. The fish with the most omega-3s include:
The plant-based omega-3, ALA, is less effective at providing DHA and EPA for your body. However, as an additional source, or for vegetarians, the following foods are high in AHA:
- Flaxseed oil
- Milled flaxseed
- Chia seeds
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
Fish, nuts, and seeds are a key part of any lean, healthy diet. Omega-3 supplements can help to fill in the gaps for people who don’t get enough nutrients from these food sources.
Benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplements
Researchers are actively investigating the potential benefits of omega-3s, as these fatty acids play a crucial role in the body. Their anti-inflammatory properties are particularly promising in relation to heart health, joint health, brain function, and immune system health.
One of the most well-studied areas is omega-3 use in heart health supplements. Studies show that omega-3s may reduce cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction (or heart attack), and may lower the risk for heart disease.
Omega-3 supplements are also popular for arthritis because they reduce the autoimmune inflammatory response. In one study of people with rheumatoid arthritis, patients taking omega-3 supplements showed improvement in movement.
Both EPA and DHA play a role in brain cells, which has exciting implications for mental health, neurodegenerative diseases, and neurological conditions. One study showed that omega-3s reduced depressive symptoms and encouraged further research into how these nutrients affect the brain.
Omega-3s play a role in the structure of cells, particularly immune cells, with studies showing they also strengthen T-cells, a vital part of the immune system. Another study noted that Omega-3s promote certain immune functions, including phagocytosis, which occurs when cells ingest foreign material and kill microorganisms.
Other joint and heart health supplements
Many omega-3 supplements also contain other ingredients that can enhance function and improve joint and heart health, including:
- MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a compound with anti-inflammatory properties that occurs in humans, animals, and plants. One study showed that taking MSM before exhaustive exercise decreased the release of inflammatory cytokines. Another meta-analysis revealed possible uses for arthritis, inflammation, and physical performance.
- Palmitoleic acid is an omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acid in plants and foods like macadamia nuts, avocado oil, and olive oil. Its anti-inflammatory effects may support healthy blood pressure.
- Magnesium is a nutrient that can help support cardiovascular health.
Finding the best omega-3 fatty acid supplement
With their numerous benefits, it’s no wonder that the global market for omega-3 supplements surged to a staggering $2.32 billion in 2021 and continues to grow. However, not all supplements are created equal. Like the fish you consume, the source of fish oil in your omega-3 supplement matters. Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that the supplement is readily absorbable into the bloodstream and contains the optimal 5:2 ratio of EPA to DHA to achieve the best results.
Tony Robbins’ omega-3 supplement contains MaxSimil® Fish Oil, which has a three times greater absorption rate than other products, and SmartPrime-Om™, which helps to increase the uptake of essential fats.* The supplement is also high-purity and high-impact and can help you reach your peak state, physically and mentally.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.