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Omega-3: Research Indicates Many Benefits

by Mila McManus, MD

There has been significant research demonstrating the value of omega-3 fatty acids but several new studies reveal many other benefits!

There has been significant research demonstrating the value of omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular benefits, and several new studies reveal many other benefits as well! It should be no surprise since omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory.

Brain Function: Learning, Memory, Behavior, Anti-Aging[1]

Nutrition Neuroscience presented a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (aka BDNF). BDNF is a protein in the brain and nerves that preserves nerve cells as well as encourages the growth of new nerves.  The growth of new nerve cells in the brain is called “neuroplasticity”, or “brain plasticity”.  This refers to the brain’s ability to heal and direct activity over new pathways. BDNF supports brain function as we age, as well as plays an important role in learning, memory, and behavior at all ages.

Migraine Headaches[2]

Advances in Nutrition posted a review of a meta-analysis of 6,616 participants treated over 18 weeks showed high dose omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA outperformed existing pharmaceutical drugs in reducing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.

Reduced Risk for Autoimmune Disease[3]

The randomized VITAL trial reported that among 21,592 participants who agreed to be followed for an additional 2 years after discontinuation of the trial, found that the benefits of daily marine omega-3 fatty acids remained statistically significant even two years after taking it to protect against autoimmune disease. Both Vitamin D and Omega-3’s were found to be protective while being taken, but the Omega-3 benefit continued to be prevalent even two years after supplementation was discontinued.

Ideal dietary sources for Omega 3 fatty acids, which can be difficult to get in the standard American diet (aka SAD), include fatty fish such as mackerel, anchovies, herring, sardines, rainbow trout, and salmon. Flaxseed, chia seed, and walnuts are also rich sources. Supplemental krill or cod liver oil are also excellent sources.  A note–farmed salmon is extremely toxic, so be mindful about eating wild Pacific Salmon only!

Talk to your medical provider to determine if Omega-3 supplementation is right for you and to ensure the appropriate dose and type of supplementation for you.

Reduce inflammation. Be Well.

[1] Ziaei, S., et. al., A systematic review and meta-analysis of the omega-3 fatty acids effects on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Nutrition Neuroscience, August 17, 2023. Doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2023.2245996.

[2] Tseng, P.-T., et.al., High dosage omega-3 fatty acids outperform existing pharmacological options for migraine prophylaxis: A network meta-analysis. Advances in Nutrition, August 8, 2023. Doi.org/10.1016/j.advnut.2023.100163.

 [3] Osterweil, Neil. Preventing autoimmune disease: New findings on vitamin D,o Omega-3 supplements. Medscape Medical News. February 7, 2024.

By |2024-03-20T10:01:53-05:00March 21st, 2024|General|