7 Reasons to Make Sure You Get Enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You…) : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Sunday Mar 4 | BY |
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depressed omega 3 oils
No need to stay in bed all day feeling depressed… get your omega-3’s and your mood should lift.

Omega this, omega that…

Is the hype about omega-3 oils enough to actually warrant the amount of attention it gets in the media?

The answer is a resounding yes.

Natural fatty acids like omega-3 oils are one of the most important nutrients that our body needs.

Unfortunately, we can’t produce omega-3’s so we have to get them from the foods we eat (and then supplements, if you can’t keep your levels up.)

There are many plant and animal sources of essential omegas and it’s important to note than in plant sources our body needs to convert them into long chain fatty acids — this means you may need to eat more plant sources of omega 3’s if you don’t eat the animal ones.

Regardless of how you get them, getting them is a must.

Here’s a quick list of 7 reasons why you may want to choose building up your omega 3 stores as a focus for your health in the next few months…

1. Bye, Bye Depression

Studies have confirmed (if you care about what studies say!) that omega 3 oils can decrease the symptoms of depression. Most research points to the EPA and DHA as the factors that contribute to getting you in a better mood.

Omega 3 oils have also been effective for helping new moms with postpartum depression. The process of pregnancy can leave a mom pretty depleted of many nutrients and omega 3 oils is one that can help once the baby is born.

Some studies show that up to 90%+ are deficient in omega 3 oils, so imagine how much better we’d all feel if we just made a conscious effort to eat more walnuts… maybe world peace?

2. Smooth, Supple Skin.

Omega 3 oils are essential for healthy skin. Using these oils internally can help build strong and plump skin cells that give you a glow that no cosmetic can match.

You can use these oils externally as well to protect and feed your skin, since this massive organ loves to feed itself with healthy oils.

Annmarie, my wife, has seen a significant change in her dry skin after she started taking omega 3 oils. She used to get bumps on the back of her legs and arms that are associated with low omegas — these are now completely gone. Her skin is also softer and not as dry as it used to be. (She also uses her beyond natural skin care line topically.)

3. Lift Brain Fog.

We’ve been in Berkeley for the last year, so fog is something we see often…

But, just like omega 3 oils are great to help change you from depressed to happy, they’re also great to help lift your mood.

Think of it this way…

60% of your brain is fat. (For some of us, it seems like 90%… lol!)

The majority of that are essential fatty acids.

So if you’re deficient, then you’re brain just won’t work properly.

Think of your omega’s as cash in and cash out.

If you don’t have enough cash to pay the rent, then your living conditions change dramatically.

With your essential fatty acids, if you don’t give your brain enough, then your thinking conditions change just as dramatically.

4. Ease joint pain.

I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard about omega 3 oils improving joint pain.

It even worked for me.

Before I started experimenting with omega 3 oils, my knees would ache badly after a run. It wasn’t overuse pain, though. It was a deep aching inside my joints.

I thought maybe this was the start of a transition into my older age, but I started to take omega 3 oils based on a suggestion from a colleague and the pain went away in weeks.

It never came back.

So apparently, there’s something to this…

Try it for yourself and see.

5. Prevent Cancer Cell Growth

Your level of inflammation is one of the biggest factors you can use to predict your chances of disease.

People with higher levels of inflammation are more likely to have heart issues, diabetes, and cancer. Thermography is a screening tool that you can use to see if you have excessive inflammation in the body and some preliminary data shows that it’s a decent indicator of identifying the risk of cancer as well.

Lower your inflammation, lower your chances of disease.

6. Boost your immune system.

Just like above, if you can reduce inflammation, you also can boost your immune system.

By reducing the inflammation in the body, you also increase immune system efficiency. Increasing omega-3 fatty acids will give you a higher amount of eicosanoids which are responsible for regulating immune and inflammation responses.

7. Lower your risk of heart disease.

Omega 3 oils have been shown to lower triglycerides which are fats in the blood. This is good news for anyone who has a high risk of heart disease.

Lower fat in the blood allows your hormones to function properly and keeps your arteries safe from potential clogging.

What are the best sources of Omega 3 Oils?

There are many places to get your omega 3 oils and it’s up to you to find out which one works best for you.

Decisions that you need to make are if you want plant sources or animal sources (or both) and if your body is actually able to absorb and use the kind you’re taking. (Plant sources many times require conversion in the body that some people do better than others.)

Food sources of omega 3 fatty acids include…

Plant Sources:

  • Walnuts
  • Algae
  • Sacha Inchi
  • Flax Seeds
  • Chia Seeds

Non-Plant Sources:

  • Fish
  • Krill
  • Eggs

Please note: Farm raised fish usually have little omega 3 oils due to a primarily corn feed diet. This is the same for non-grass feed beef.

Depending on your diet choice, be sure to eat enough omega 3’s daily from whole foods.

If you need to supplement, you can choose from fish, krill, algae, flax or sacha inchi oils.

Also for the flax, be sure that you don’t have any existing hormone or thyroid issues. Excess flax oil can interfere with hormone production in someone who is having existing conditions.

Your question of the day: What is your favorite source of omega 3 oils? Have they helped you at all?

Live Awesome!
Kev

P.S. If you want to try sacha inchi oil which is one of the shining stars of the plant omega-3 oils, here’s where you can try some now: Click here to buy sacha inchi oil.

This oil is organically grown and sourced from Peru. Your purchase supports these hard working farmers.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

50 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Nadine says:

    Awesome summary!

    I’d like to point out that Omega-3 deficiency does not account for all cases of depression – my mom-in-law takes megadoses of fish source omega 3 every day for years and still has depression… I can see how it may help many people, but not everyone and it’s not necessarily a cure.

    I like walnuts, home ground flax and chia, plus we use flax oil on our air popped popcorn. I’ve read numerous books/studies talking about the conversion rates in men vs. women and men always have a far more difficult time converting it to long chain fatty acids, so I give my husband algae oil supplements from NuTru. I occasionally take them too, but I don’t worry about it as much. Also I don’t use omega 6 oils or eat much of anything processed (which always has higher omega 6), plus low grain consumption, so that helps with ratio of omega 3 to 6.

  2. LuAnn says:

    Flax and walnuts for me and my husband prefers fish oil.

  3. Rachael says:

    We use flax and walnuts here as well!

  4. Cattle and other ruminants have four stomachs. These are fermentation chambers where bacteria bio-hydrogenate unsaturated oils in their feed (hay/whatever) before these oils get into the intestines.

    🙂

  5. Christine says:

    What about hemp oil?
    I take either flax or hemp oil. My husband takes fish oil and my son I give cod liver oil.

  6. Kaelian says:

    I drink HEMP MILK every day. Its benefits are numerous and wonderful, and one of them is that it’s an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and that it’s balanced with the omega-6. Additionally I like to derive -most- of my bioavailable complete proteins from it too. (Almonds are one of my pefered protein snacks). In any case, it’s not my only source of these things, but I don’t hear\see much about others using hemp products as one their sources of the omega-3’s, and I’m quite surprised. There are also hemp seeds and hemp powder, if those appeal more to other people. The seeds have a nutty flavour and can be eaten as they are or sprinkled on salads, and maybe some people would prefer to take hemp as a powder in their favourite smoothie.

  7. Debra says:

    I’m not sure what to think about omega 3s any more. It may be that people’s needs need to tested. The person who’s really making me question omega 3s from fish oils especially is Brian Peskin ( BrianPeskin.com). It made sense to me, listening to a recent interview of him ,that if we bring an oil into our bodies that’s normally at very cold temperatures in the fishes’ bodies, the much higher temperature of our bodies will be damaging to the highly unsaturated oil. Something like Sacha Inchi oil may be a better way to go.

  8. hyesun says:

    salmon and sardines!!! i like hemp seeds too.
    grass fed beef also is high in omega 3s, but i eat beef only rarely. kevin (or anyone else), are you familiar with brian peskin and his theory on parent essential oils? if not, you should check it out – it’s very interesting and confusing, and i’d love to know your opinion about it.

  9. LynnCS says:

    I use chia seeds in my daily smoothie. I hope it helps. I still have some leftover fish oil omega 3s so try to remember to use them up. Some of the items believed to be high in omega 3s, have a high omega 6 ratio. We need 6s too, so do your homework. Mostly we get too many 6s compared with 3s. A good comparison is shown in the book “Save Our Bones.”

  10. Michael says:

    I’m a high raw vegan, so there is always either hemp seed or flax seed in my morning green smoothie. I also eat about half of an avocado daily, i’ll fit it into either my lunch or dinner. I also really love pumpkin seeds too

  11. Tara Burner says:

    Love walnuts and chia seeds 🙂

  12. Faye says:

    I prefer fish oil I’ve been taking fermented cod liver oil and it’s really helped with bowel problems. I take it with Mega Hydrate and try to balance it with my Omega 6 oils. It’s made a big difference and as you said, my skin feels so much better and not so dry!
    I also use chiaseed oil two or three times a week.

  13. Kat says:

    I use chia, flax, walnuts and hemp.

    For winter blues I use a sunbox. Can’t believe I waited so long to get one! What a difference it’s made for this Michigander!

  14. May says:

    Hi, this is my first time posting here although I have been reading Kev’s post for a while. So hello everyone!

    I had been religiously taking fish oil for more than 3 years and noticed that sometimes it helps certain areas of my skin (I have those bumps that Annemarie had) but the effect goes away after a while. And it didn’t help my arms much, they were still bumpy.

    Then I noticed that I my gums bled on and off for no reason and whenever I brushed my teeth. When I cut myself, it also took a while for it to stop. I didn’t think much of it, attributing the gum bleeding to bad oral hygiene even though I was flossing daily. Then I found out recently that fish oil actually thins the blood..and that is probably what is happening to me. I quickly stopped eating fish oil and of course, there is the issue of depression if one doesn’t get enough EFAs. So I decided on flax oil mixed with home ground seeds..To my amazement, my gums have not bled since I switched and my skin is better than when I was eating fish oil although I still have the bumps. I still take fish oil once in a while when I eat a high fatty meal or when I feel slightly less optimistic.

    Has anyone had the same experience?

  15. Em says:

    Love that quilt cover Johnny 5’s sleeping on!! Aww, and he’s so cute too, the way he’s straddling both pillows… 🙂

  16. Patricia says:

    Thanks Kevin for all your great info. I’ve learned soooo much!

    I use 4 teaspoons of Udo’s Perfect Blend on my salad every day. It’s a combo of flax, primrose and other oils. I also have a “cereal” of chia, hemp and buckwheat groats every morning.

    Question, don’t we need to also make sure that our system is digesting & absorbing these oils, ie have probiotics/enzymes in our digestive system?

  17. Ema says:

    Faey, how you ferment cod liver oil?? Or you can buy it already fermented?

  18. Laura says:

    My favourite sources of Omega 3 oil are (in order):

    Chia seeds
    Chia seed oil (Andreas Seed Oil Co)
    Raw Omega 3 Red Algae Oil capsules (David Wolfe Foods)
    Sacha inchi oil
    Hemp seeds
    Walnuts
    Macadamia nuts
    Avocados
    Pecans

    I also try to limit (but not eliminate!) consumption of foods high in Omega 6 to keep the Omega 3:6 ratio in balance, like almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds. These are wonderful foods, as long as they are used in reasonable quantities. Whereas chia seeds – I don’t think you could ever have too much.

    I never use conventional oils (canola, safflower, grapeseed, corn, soybean). They are some of the highest sources of Omega 6 and have no value anyway.

    I don’t eat animal foods, but if I did, I wouldn’t take fish oil because of biomagnification of toxins up the food chain. Krill would probably have less toxins since they are lower on the food chain. Even still, I would probably go straight to the source and take Red Algae Oil, since that is what the fish and krill are eating to get their omega 3’s in the first place.

  19. Laura says:

    Essential Fatty Acid Ratios of Nuts and Seeds
    (Ideal ratio in the body is 1:1 omega 6:omega 3)
    omega 6 : omega 3
    Hemp Seeds 3:1
    Chia Seeds 3:1
    Flax Seeds 3.9:1
    English Walnut 4:1
    Macadamia 6:1
    Avocado (CA) 15:1
    Avocado (FL) 16.5:1
    Black Walnut 16:1
    Pecans 20:1
    Pistachio 37:1
    Hazelnut 88:1
    Pumpkin Seeds 117:1
    Cashew 117:1
    Sunflower Seeds 300:1
    Pinenuts 300:1
    Brazil Nut 1000:1
    Almonds 1800:1

  20. robin says:

    I no longer take fish oil since the oceans are polluted with heavy metals, BPA’s and now a daily dumping from Fukashima. It is my understanding that distillation does not get rid of all of these pollutants and the high heat necessary for the distillation process can kill off some of these nutrients. Please correct me if I am wrong on this one. For the present I am taking chia but still feel that it is not giving me enough omega 3 since we cannot determine how much is actually converted to DHA and EPA.
    By the way Laura thanks for the great list.

  21. Charlotte says:

    I eat flax seeds, chia seeds, raw pastured eggs, walnuts and Carlson’s cod liver oil (for vit D) on a daily basis. I’m interested in learning more about algae oil though.

  22. Anne says:

    Most days I consume:
    Chia seeds (1 Tbs)
    Flax seeds (probably 1.5 -2 Tbs)
    Macadamia nuts (I get them fresh from the grower) 0.5-1 ounce
    Fish Oil (arctic salmon) 2 g
    Krill oil (1g)

    And hemp seeds when I can get them (still illegal in Australia)
    I alternate between cold pressed Olive oil (locally made) or Cold Press Macadamia Oil in my salads

  23. Allen says:

    Hi,

    I believe Hemp Seed Oil is another good source of Omega 3.

    Thanks.

    Allen

  24. Regarding skin, there is hardly any omega 3 and much more omega 6.

  25. Selene says:

    @Allen – my naturopath has steered me away from hemp seed oil because she says it’s too high in Omega 6.

  26. Terese Covey says:

    Thank you for this article.

    I also enjoyed reading all the responses…lots of informed readers you have here.

    Before I give you my answer I have a question after reading this article. I thought flax was a good thing for hormones. You mentioned to be careful with flax because of it changing hormones. Is there a past article you’ve done about that? I’d like to know more about it, such as which hormones it effects, & can it be beneficial or something we have to watchout for. Would that depend on a persons hormone levels and whether they were male or female? I know my sister-in-law was having trouble with hot flashes, then started taking flaxseed oil and it helped.

    Avocados are my favorite. I take flaxseed oil. I bought some hemp seed, but haven’t tried it yet. I tried hemp milk for the first time…tasty, but I’m not sure how much Omegas I’m getting with the milk. I also purchased chia seeds, but haven’t tried them yet either.

    I’ll have to look up to remind myself what kinds of Omegas coconut oil has because I use it more than anything.

    I also put either extra-virgin coconut oil on my skin, or grapeseed oil. I started doing that every day starting this year and have notice a tremendous different in my skin. I’m loving it!

  27. Danny says:

    I add chia seeds (soaked overnight) and freshly ground flax seeds to my green smoothies daily/
    I also like adding chia to all kinds of meals – such as coconut-date balls (with lemon) – makes them even tastier

  28. Eric Grant says:

    Organic cold pressed hemp seed oil free from gluten, wheat, lactose. added sugar, salt and yeast contains Omega3, 6 and 9. So it is the best for my liking.

  29. Emma says:

    Thanks for an interesting post as allways : )
    I
    try to eat all of the sources you wrote in the article but also organic grass-fed meat that contains a lot of omega 3. It just makes me feel so strong during my workout. I have been eating raw food for about 2 years but has now switched over to a more paleo/primal kind of diet.

    Which works better for me and I feel much more energetic during my crossfit and running workouts now then before. I think it is beauase I have added some animal products to my diet. (allways organic, local and grass-fed)….

    Keep on doing what you do cause you are doing a GREAT job.
    Read your blog every day!!!!

    All the best,
    Emma

  30. QC says:

    Kevin,

    According to Laura’s list, looks like nothing has more omega 3 than 6, how can we obtain the ideal ratio? Do we miss something here?

    Quinny

  31. wendy green says:

    i read recently that chia does not have the proper type of omega 3…something about ALA…?? not assimilable? i’m confused. please let us know. btw..great to see your honduran comforter on your bed!

  32. Louise says:

    I get my Omega 3s from Harp Seal Oil. It has a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3s to Omega 6s and contains EPA, DHA & DPA

  33. Lori Sage says:

    I’ve discovered an amazing omega 3 source coming from Clary Sage Seed oil. I’ve been taking it over a year and all my joint aches and pains from 20 years of running marathons and other extremes sports has totally been eliminated. I’m always told my skin is glowing and I just turned 50! An 80 year old woman in my fitness class I teach started taking it 6 months ago and is now OFF her blood pressure meds. What makes this oil different from all other omega 3’s is that it has been determined to have a shelf life at room temp for 2 years. That is unheard of from other sources of Omega 3. By nature omega 3 is highly unstable and oxidizes quickly thus decreasing it’s effectiveness. The Clary Sage plant is full of antioxidants that keep it stable. It contains all four vitamin e’s, natural Coq10, sclareol(anti-cancerous) and many others. The oil is cold pressed and that’s it. It currently is in gelatin caps but will be in vegetable caps shortly. I just suck the oil out of the capsule, it tastes great and then I also use it topically on my skin. Anyone interested please email me(Kevin I think you will love this oil!) lorisagetao@aol.com

  34. pe says:

    #15 @Laura’s table should not be taken at face value. For example, omega6 / omega 3 for English walnuts is 4.2 and macadamia 6.3, but the figure for flax is backward (should be 1 to 3.86), chia is 1 to 3.06, and my data for hemp is not here.
    Yes, sunflower’s ratio is 312, but you eat it for vitamin E among other things, and it has a touch of EPA. Just balance it with flax and chia.
    The caution about lignans may be misplaced. They’re not antinutrients but plant estrogen analogs. They link to places where estrogen links, and may mitigate problems for those of us who produce more estrogen. Sesame also has high levels. Lignans are also antioxidants.

  35. Caleb says:

    As a runner and rock climber, I definitely love my Omega 3’s
    It plays a huge help in helping reduce inflammation and decreasing recovery times. I eat chia seeds every day in my Bearded Brothers bars, and consume flax in my smoothies after hard workouts. I’m not 100% plant based either, so I do have eggs about once a week.

  36. Terri says:

    My favorite sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are leafy GREENS! I generally obtain over half my omega requirements with greens, and the remainder I get from fruit. A distant 3rd would be chia seeds, but I rarely need them to obtain adequate Omega 3’s in my diet.

    @ Laura (post #14) – Chia seeds have roughly 3 times the amount of Omega 3’s as Omega 6’s, not the other way around.

    @ PE (post #24) – suflower seeds are not needed to receive an adequate amount of vitamin E. A nice meal of papayas will get you there 🙂

  37. I use a 100% organic 100% vegan coldpressed oil called Aman Prana Okinawa oil. It contains Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9, and also caretonids and vit E..
    Its delish!!!
    http://www.noble-house.tk/html/engels/happy_delight_eng.htm

  38. Faye says:

    @ Ema You can buy fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures. It comes in different flavours too. I seldom have the fishy breath I do when I take the capsules. http://www.greenpasture.org/public/Products/CodLiverOil/index.cfm

  39. Lola says:

    I was diagnosed several years ago with supra-ventricular tachycardia…a fancy name for irregular heartbeat. A doctor advised I needed to see a cardiologist immediately; that I could die soon. I could hardly walk across the room I felt so weak. I remembered Dr. Budwig’s work with flax oil in Germany in the 50s so one Wednesday I dumped several tablespoons of flax oil into cottage cheese along with unsweetened applesauce and took spoonsfull of it throughout the day. I did this for the next three days and by Saturday I felt like a NEW person. I kid you not…it was THAT drastic a change in that short time. I’ve continued omega 3 supplements since that day and have had NO more episodes of irregular heartbeat. I was blown away and SO pleasantly converted!!!! Now it’s a habit and at 69 I have no more heart trouble!!!

  40. Chris Wark says:

    Great timing Kevin! Great minds think alike. 😉
    I’ve been working on a lengthy post on fats for the last week and finished it today!

    Parent Omega-6 or Linoleic Acid (LA) and Parent Omega-3 or Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) are Essential Fatty Acids because the body can’t produce them. They have to come from food. They are “essential” because the body uses them to build the membrane around every cell in the body.

    One popular misconception is that we need to supplement fish oil for EPA and DHA, when in fact the body converts ALA (Omega-6) into the long-chain derivatives EPA and DHA.
    So it’s more important to consume adequate amounts of LA and ALA and let the body convert as needed.

    Also Evening Primrose is one of the best plant sources of Omega-6 (LA).

    http://chrisbeatcancer.com/my-high-fat-diet-and-why-i-dont-take-fish-oil

  41. Liz says:

    Kevin, Is Sacha Inchi botanically related to peanuts? I’m sensitive to peanuts and am just wondering if taking sacha is going to give me a reaction? Anyone?

  42. […] my article the other day about omega-3 oils, we got a ton of […]

  43. Shakti says:

    @ Anne 22.
    Check out Hemp Gallery website in Sydney they are awesome activists for hemp being sold for human consumption in Australia. You can buy non irradiated hulled hemp seeds at a few farmers markets in Sydney from them, or contact them via their site or fb, really great people. I include the wonders of hemp products in my workshops. Good luck

  44. My source are plants and i prefer to keeping body clean and efficient so it can use 5% fatty acids which are in plants and convert them in fats my body needs. Instead of painstakingly breaking fats in body and creating loads of wast. Same story with braking proteins

    What about this?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNfXjOF-sVc
    7:40min Intercelular fats interfers with glucose flow in to cells.

    there are more other arguments.

  45. Robin says:

    1. I would never use krill oil, as good as it seems to be. It is the fish at the bottom of the food chain in the oceans. Even the whales depend on it. There was so much krill fishing off CA coast several years ago, I believe it was banned to save the ecosystem. Make sure your krill oil comes from elsewhere!

    2. Re: Fish oil and depression. Have not read many studies about it really helping depression, but Baylor College of Medicine was finding that large doses of EPA/DHA was helping people while in manic state!

    I still take large amounts of fish oil for depression, anyway. Esp. with new studies coming out possibly showing that depression is a result of inflammation of the brain. Also, remember the mind-body connection, brain inflammation might also start with inflammation of the gut–also called the second brain by many researchers! So I chug omega-3! Also use a lot of olive oil, as well.

    I would like to try the sacha inchi oil, but it’s so expensive for 8 oz. That is only 1 cup!

    3. Kev, do you have the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio backwards for avocados? I thought they were full of the good omega-3 fat!

    Thank you, Kev, for your response to my question about taking 10G fish oil and sacha inchi oil. I just don’t know what dose combo to start with and what to look for in differences after taking it, or how long to wait for any changes!

  46. RICHARD says:

    what about the danger of radiation being in Krill or fish oil.

  47. Sally says:

    WALNUTS! 😀

  48. Jo Richards says:

    I read these comments & questions & would like to know the answers to many of them,however I never see an answer from Kevin. Do you send them in personal emails or do you answer them at all. Jo

  49. LynnCS says:

    Hi Kev. I just went over to your store to order some sacha inchi oil, but before I do, I wanted to get some clarification on one of the items on the label. It lists polysaturated fats at 11.5 gs. Is that a typo? or is that just the trade off for getting all the other good stuff in the oil? Still trying to understand all about it. Thanks, Lynn

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