Omega 3, or omega 3 fatty acids, is a family of essential fatty acids (1).
They are necessary for vital functions and the only way to obtain them is through food or supplements.
Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats and are classified mainly into 3 fatty acids:
- ALA: alpha-linolenic acid. In foods of vegetable origin and needs to be converted into EPA or DHA to be used by the body.
- DHA: docosahexaenoic acid. It is found mostly in foods of animal origin and is essential for the development of the brain.
- EPA: eicosapentaenoic acid. It is found mostly in foods of animal origin and can reduce inflammation.
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in cell membranes, especially in the brain, and their consumption is associated with better neurological health and a lower risk of dementia (1).
They play an essential role in other cellular processes such as inflammation and blood coagulation (2).
According to several studies, the intake of omega 3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety (4).
Likewise, of the 3 main classes of omega 3 that exist, the so-called EPA proves to be the most effective when it comes to treating depression and seems to be even more effective than the drug antidepressant Prozac (5).
In diabetes or metabolic syndrome, the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids reduces the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, prevents the appearance of clots in the arteries and reduces blood pressure (3).