How to Choose an Omega 3 Supplement : Maxener Wellness

Omega 3 refers to a class of fatty acids that are vital to human health. They are considered essential because the body does not synthesize them; they must be obtained through the diet. They are polyunsaturated fats and considered “good fat” because they do not have the many negative health consequences that saturated fatty acids have. There are many benefits to consuming a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids. They are extremely important to normal development and brain function. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish, nuts and a few plants. The Western diet tends to be very low in foods containing omega 3 fatty acids, which make supplementation a good option for those looking to increase omega 3 consumption.

Method 1 Determine the Source of Omega 3

When choosing to supplement, it is important to know how to choose the best omega 3 supplement. Also, there are many supplements to choose from so understanding the differences helps make choosing an omega 3 supplement easier. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) are all considered omega 3 fatty acids. They come from multiple sources and have different functions in the body as well.

Take a supplement containing ALA if you are vegetarian. ALA comes from vegetable oils, seeds, nuts and legumes. ALA is converted to EPA and DHA once ingested, but it is converted at a very low rate, ranging from 0.2% to 8% on average with a conversion rate up to 21% for women. However, ALA that is not converted to EPA and DHA is still used by the body and has positive benefits, such as the prevention of inflammation and reduced risk of heart disease. ALA can benefit everyone, not just vegetarians.

Take an omega 3 supplement derived from algae if you do not want EPA and DHA derived from fish. EPA and DHA occur naturally in algae and it would be considered vegan- and vegetarian-friendly.

Take a fish oil supplement. Fish oil contains high amounts of EPA and DHA. It comes in oil or pill form.

Take a supplement high in EPA for anti-inflammatory benefits. EPA works with DHA, but tends to help with inflammation in the body more than DHA or ALA.

Take a supplement high in DHA for improved cognitive function. High DHA intake has been associated with a decrease in depression and improved bipolar disorder. The effects take a few weeks to be noticed. DHA therapy is gaining popularity as a natural treatment for depression. It has also been linked to improve memory and learning.

Take an omega 3 supplement containing DHA, EPA and/or ALA if you are pregnant. Omega 3 fatty acids are vital to the development of your child’s brain.

Method 2 Know the Amount to Take

Depending on factors such as age and gender, you may need different amounts of the supplement. Omega 3 supplementation works best when the dose is tailored to the individual. Different populations of people have different needs when it comes to the most effective dose.

If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, aim for 400 mg a day of DHA and 100 mg a day of EPA. This will help ensure your baby gets enough omega 3 fatty acids. Babies need omega 3 fatty acids for development ranging from healthy brain development to nervous system development. Of the fat in the brain, DHA accounts for approximately 40%. It also may help prevent early labor and delivery.

If you are giving the supplement to a child between the ages of 2 and 10, aim for 50 mg per day of EPA and 100 mg per day of DHA. There are nutritional studies that show a link between increasing omega 3 fatty acids and improved learning and behavior in children.

If you are giving the supplement to a child between the ages of 11 and 18, aim for 100 mg per day of EPA and 200 mg per day of DHA. Nutritional studies have shown an increase in consumption of omega 3 fatty acids helps alleviate mood swings and mood disorders in pre-teens and teens.

If you are a women, take between 500 and 1000 mg a day of DHA and between 250 and 500 mg a day of EPA. DHA and EPA have been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer and help alleviate bipolar disorder symptoms.

If you are a man, take between 100 and 500 mg a day of DHA and between 360 and 800 mg a day of EPA. EPA has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease.

If you are treating a condition, discuss the amount of omega 3 with your doctor.Higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids can be taken to help treat conditions such as heart disease or high cholesterol.

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