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Omega Fats

The Power of Omega Fatty Acids

Omega fatty acids, commonly known as “good-fats” are a family of essential fats (3-6-7-9) that provide multiple health benefits for your heart, brain, mood, skin, eyes, joints and metabolism, during infancy, childhood, pregnancy and breast-feeding. Many health disorders have been linked to omega fatty acid deficiency ranging from heart problems, joint pain, skin outbreaks, fatigue, mood swings to fetal development anomalies and nerve dysfunction, to name a few.1

Many people are not sure how omega oils feature in their diet and in what quantities they should be consuming them. Puzzled and confused by acronyms such as PUFA, EPA, DHA and ALA which refer to these different types of fats? It’s tempting just to eat a piece of fish or spoonful of chia-seeds for vegetarians or vegans and hope for the best. Evidence collected and published by the World Health Organization (WHO), recommends that at least 0.5% of your total energy should be coming from omega-3s (this equates to 0.25g/day, or 0.3g/day in pregnancy) and 2.5% from omega-6 (1.25g/day). WHO also advises that children need between 0.5 and 1.6g of omega-3 per day, depending on their age, diet, and body weight.1,2

A recent global study revealed that people in USA, UK, Europe, the Middle-East, South-East Asia, and Africa are just not eating enough omega fats. Only 20% of Australians are eating the recommended amounts. It also showed that 80% of the world’s population has low or very low blood levels of DPA and EPA (omega-3’s). When questioned, 1 in 3 of consumers in Germany, UK and USA were unsure how much they should be consuming. Considering that many of us are not getting even the minimum levels in our diet that are deemed “essential” to health by WHO, maybe we should rethink our attitude to these fats and consider supplementing.3,4

References

① Claire Saunders (12 April 2021) Omega oils 3, 6, 7 and 9 – what’s the difference? CABI Accessed 10 August 2023 Available at https://blog.cabi.org/2017/04/12/omega-3-6-7-and-9-whats-the-difference/

② Mateos, H., Lewandowski, P. A. Vaughan, et al. 2020. Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics: Vol 9, Issue 1, pp. 12-27. doi: 10.1159/000445350

③ Stark, K., Van Elswyk, M., Higgins, R., Weatherford, C., Salem Jr., N.  2021.  Global survey of the omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in the blood stream of healthy adults., Progress in Lipid Research: Vol. 63, pp. 132-152. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.plipres.2021.05.001.

④ Bailey, R., Denby, Nigel R., Haycock, B., Sherif, K.,  Steinbaum, S., Von Schacky, C.  2020. Perceptions of a Healthy Diet: Insights From a 3-Country Survey., Progress in Lipid Research: Vol. 50, Issue 6, pp. 282-287. doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000119

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