Why the Spectrum of Omega-3s are Vital for Women’s Health
Omega-3 fatty acids have been credited with a number of health benefits, including heart health, cognitive function and proper growth and development in children.
But many women tend to shy away from any type of fat in fear of gaining weight. It has long been established that “good” fats won’t make you gain weight the way refined sugar will, yet many women remain deficient in omega-3s.
Here’s why you can’t afford to skip out on the good fats if you’re a woman.
Women’s Health and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 deficiency doesn’t just cause you to miss out on having gorgeous skin and hair; it also increases your risk of heart disease.
According to recently published research, approximately 70 percent of middle-aged German women are at an increased risk of heart disease due to their low omega-3 levels. The study also found that 97.3% of the women in the study had omega-3 levels below the recommended 8 percent threshold to fight off chronic disease, making them more susceptible to illness just because they were lacking in one nutrient.
Omega-3 fatty acids are critical for building a strong female body. According to a study published in Obstetrical and Gynecology Survey, omegas-3’s are precursors of hormones in the female body, including eicosanoids, which are needed to prevent chronic diseases in women.
The study also stated that omega-3 fatty acids are important constitutes of all cell membranes in the body. Additionally they are needed to prevent dysmenorrhoeal and support fertility in women who have trouble getting pregnant by increasing blood flow to the uterus.
Supplementing with omega-3’s has been shown to reduce the risk of premature birth and can even support healthy foetal development by balancing the eicosaniods required for labour and improving placental blood flow, which is needed to deliver nutrition and oxygen to an unborn baby.
Nursing mothers who supplement with omega-3 fatty acids may help support their child’s brain development. Evidence also shows that omega-3 supplementation prevents preeclampsia, menopausal problems, postpartum depression and postmenopausal osteoporosis, according to the study.
Finally, omega-3 fatty acids have powerful effects on lowering triglyceride levels in women particularly, reducing the risk of heart disease. This is especially important for women who are receiving hormone therapy replacement, as it has been shown to increase the risk of some diseases.
The study recommends choosing a supplement with an appropriate antioxidant content so as to prevent lipid peroxidation, as well as a product that does not contain dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Plenty of information has been shared on omega-3s for health, but there are actually several types of omegas to be aware of. Although there are 11 different types of omega fatty acids, the three most important are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The most common type of omega-3 fatty acid is ALA, which is found in plant foods such as spinach, kale, walnuts and chia and flaxseeds. It can also be found in some animal fats. ALA needs to be converted into EPA or DHA before the human body can utilise it. Several studies have shown that ALA reduces the risk of deaths due to heart disease.
The main function of EPAs are to form eicosanoids to assist in many roles, including the reduction of inflammation and prevention of disease. Fish oil containing EPA and DHA has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms. One study even suggests that EPA is better than DHA at reducing depression. It can be found naturally in salmon, herring and grass-fed animal products.
DHA is needed for proper brain development and function in both children and adults. Children who are deficient in DHA are more likely to develop learning disabilities, aggression, behavioural disorders, ADHA and hostility later in life.
DHA deficiency is also associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. As heart disease is the number one killer of women worldwide, DHA should be included in every woman’s diet as it has been shown to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels.
Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency may include mood swings, poor memory and impaired concentration, heart problems, poor circulation and fatigue.