The benefits of omega three fatty acids have been in the public eye for decades. Early on, researchers found those who ate a diet high in fish and seafood had lower risk of heart disease. Since then, many studies have investigated other benefits of omega threes as well. Among other areas of the body, scientists are looking into their effect on the brain, nervous system and eyes.
The two omega threes (EPA and DHA) are found in fish. The largest concentration of DHA is in the brain. For this reason, it is especially important for brain function and the development of the brain in babies both before and after birth.
Another area undergoing research is the effect of omega threes on the eye. Omega threes help the retina directly and protect the eye from damage. Studies have shown that people with higher concentrations of omega threes in their eyes have a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness.
When it comes to heart health, omega threes can lower triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of heart problems. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association recommend eating two, four-ounce servings of fish/seafood a week. As a supplement, this equates to about 1000 mg of EPA plus DHA. The 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines also makes this recommendation for fish intake. For people with cardiovascular risk, the AHA encourages a daily intake of 1000 mg of these combined omega threes. A good goal is 600-1000 mg a day.
Past and current studies are looking into the benefit of omega threes relative to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Levels of DHA decrease with age and people with Alzheimer’s have low brain levels of the omega threes. Intake of omega threes can improve those levels. One study showed that older adults eating three servings of fish a week lowered their risk of dementia by almost 50 percent and Alzheimer’s by 39 percent. A recent study showed reduced risk of memory loss and stroke as well.
The most important concern when looking for a supplement is the content of omega threes EPA and DHA. The recommendations for intake are based on the combined amount of the EPA plus the DHA regardless of the amount of fish oil. *
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.