Are You Getting Enough Omega-3s? Here's How to Make Sure

Do you know if you're getting enough omega-3 fatty acids? If you're not sure, you're not alone. Up to 95% of Americans don't consume enough of the two main omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Omega-3s are essential for maintaining good health, and a deficiency can lead to a variety of negative health effects. In this article, we'll discuss the symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency, the benefits of omega-3s, and how to make sure you're getting enough of these essential fatty acids.

Having an omega-3 deficiency means your body isn't getting enough of these essential fats. This can put you at risk for negative health effects such as skin, hair, and nail problems; increased fatigue; memory problems; joint stiffness; and chronic inflammation. Omega-3s produce an anti-inflammatory response in the body, which can help reduce these symptoms. They can also help reduce stress levels, improve brain health, and reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids become increasingly important as you reach middle age.

Levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, increase and, with it, increase the risk of disease. A healthy lifestyle that includes sufficient intake of omega-3s helps counteract the adverse health effects of stress. Chronic inflammation is associated with many age-related chronic diseases, such as cancer, osteoarthritis, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. Rough, scaly skin and a red, swollen, itchy rash are common among people who don't get enough omega-3s. Low circulating levels of EPA and DHA have been linked to severe fatigue.

A diet that includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce this symptom. A supplement could help reduce memory problems and help maintain overall brain health as you age. EPA and DHA may lower triglyceride levels (an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease). Eating foods rich in omega-3s helps keep your heart healthy and may help prevent certain diseases and heart problems. There has even been some research that indicates that omega-3 supplements may help with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis because of their ability to reduce inflammation in the body. In addition, increased acne is also a symptom of low levels of omega-3; it is believed that it is also due to increased inflammation.

About 14 percent of all American adults suffer from dry eyes, which is caused, at least in part, by inflammation. In a large study of women aged 45 to 84, those with the highest level of omega-3 intake saw a 17 percent reduction in dry eyes. Because omega-3 fatty acids are stored in the cell membranes that surround each cell, correcting an omega-3 deficiency takes some time. This depends on the large deficit you face; some improvements can be seen in just two or three weeks. Do you know if you're getting enough DHA and EPA from ALA? To make sure you're getting enough omega-3s in your diet, include foods such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and eggs. You can also take a supplement if needed.

Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements.