Omega-3 fatty acids are of great importance for metabolism. They keep the coverings of our cells supple. They are also required for the production of various tissue hormones.
Omega-3 belongs to the so-called polyunsaturated fatty acids. The vegetable omega-3 fatty acid ALA and the two omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are mainly obtained from fish or algae, are particularly important for the human body. They act at numerous points in the metabolism.
Omega-3 inhibits inflammation
Fatty cold-water sea fish and linseed oil are among the anti-inflammatory foods and are recommended for inflammatory rheumatism, for example, because of their high content of omega-3 fatty acids.
Can omega-3 protect against vascular calcification and heart attack?
Today we know that inflammatory processes play an important role in many diseases, for example, arteriosclerosis and the resulting cardiovascular diseases. A large US study, the Framingham Heart Study, have shown that people with high levels of omega-3 in their blood have a lower risk of developing such conditions.
A recent study examined how taking omega-3 fatty acids as a dietary supplement affects health. The result: it can reduce dangerous vascular deposits and protect against a heart attack. However: The preparations from the pharmacy can lower the triglycerides – but do not prevent cardiovascular diseases in the long term. A new preparation was now being examined in the study. The capsules used contain only EPA and in particularly high doses. The result of the study: In the group that was treated with the EPA preparation, 25 percent fewer people suffered a heart attack than in the control group, which only received a placebo.
Does omega 3 block phagocytes?
Inflammation is also involved in brain decay and the development of type 2 diabetes. The dangerous abdominal fat, for example, attracts inflammatory cells (macrophages) of the body’s immune system, which fuel many diseases. Inflammation researchers have now shown that these scavenger cells also have receptors for omega-3 fatty acids. If the fatty acids DHA and EPA dock onto such receptors, they block the inflammation inside the scavenger cells. This would explain how Omega 3 could work against excessive inflammatory processes in the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids good for the brain
How well our nerve cells work depends on the proportion of healthy fatty acids in the cell membranes. Therefore, omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important for the brain development of the child during pregnancy. It has also been observed that people who frequently eat omega-3-rich sea fish such as salmon, mackerel, or herring are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
It is currently being investigated whether EPA and DHA can actually protect against Alzheimer’s dementia. For a study, researchers mixed a yogurt drink that, in addition to omega 3, contains various vitamins and substances such as selenium and choline – substances that also have a positive effect on the brain. One result: in people with the onset of dementia who drank 125 milliliters of this yogurt drink daily, the loss of brain substance slowed down and the memory was better protected than in a comparison group.