No doubt you’ve heard about omega-3 by now. Even those who are not particularly interested in taking care of their health have probably caught wind of omega-3 somewhere down the line. Knowing what it is, how it works and why you need it is another story.

At pH Health we understand the importance of omega-3 in your diet. It is one of the most vital nutrients for your body. The range of omega-3 benefits is broad, and can be acquired through both plant and animal sources, so vegetarians and vegans are just as capable of keeping their omega-3 at the optimum levels.

Where does it come from?

Well, there are different types of omega-3 fats. Eicosapentaenoic acid (known as EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (known as DHA) are known to be highly beneficial for heart health, having a protective effect on it. Dietary sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are typically found within animal products such as fish and krill, and are associated with stronger health benefits that plant based alpha-linoleic acid (known as ALA). ALA can be found in seeds such as chia, hemp and flaxseeds and can be converted into EPA and DHA within the body when enough enzymes are available. The amounts converted are significantly less than could be acquired through animal products, so vegetarians may need to supplement omega-3 as well as acquiring it through the natural sources mentioned above.

What are the benefits of a proper omega-3 intake?

Studies have shown that supplementing fish oils – and especially krill – reduces risk of heart attack and stroke. Omega-3 can also regulate cholesterol triglyceride so that the liver is metabolizing less fat. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory. They prevent cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms), and can also help to prevent blood clots from forming within your blood vessels (thrombosis), and fatty deposits in the arteries.

There are also positive effects to be noted within the brain and cognitive functions. EPA and DHA strongly impact dopamine levels in the brain, keeping them high enough to consistently improve your mood. These omega-3s also increase circulation in the brain and promote neuronal growth. A lack of omega-3 has actually been shown to impair cognitive abilities over time, even resulting in permanent decline. It is also important to note that it’s not just adults that need to be concerned with our omega-3 intake. Because children often have abundant energy and deficiencies take longer to make themselves known, we may be less inclined to consider supplementing or carefully monitoring their dietary intake for deficiencies.

In fact, children’s behaviour can be strongly affected by low levels of DHA, which may also result in impaired learning abilities. What Doctors label ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) could be down to low levels of DHA – and perhaps other detrimental dietary substances like additives and chemicals in sweets and convenience foods.

One condition that has been impacted positively by omega-3 intake is Short Bowel Syndrome, which children can sometimes be born with. Often considered to be fatal within the medical field, once given a fish oil supplement, a vast percentage of these children showed huge improvement and proved not to be fatal.

Omega-3 intake has also been shown to benefit autoimmune disorders, Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, osteoporosis and certain cancers, such as colon, prostate and breast cancers. Omega-3 deficiency is thought to be one of the major contributors to tumour development; something that can also be exacerbated by consumption of toxic, processed omega-6 fatty acids.

Why do you need to supplement?

It isn’t always easy to know how much of what you need is attained through your diet. Most people do not manage to consume enough on a daily basis and this is thought to be a major contributor toward early decline of health in general. At pH Health we appreciate the need to get as much of what you need through your diet as you possibly can. We also know how difficult it can be achieve (or to efficiently monitor) this. Given that omega-3 consumption is so important to overall health and longevity, pH Health feel that it is one of the most essential supplements. Having said that, it is important to know the quality of anything you supplement.

It is known that there are now some dangers to consider when consuming many naturally available food sources such as fish products. Due to environmental pollution, fish products can contain nasties that you really don’t want floating around in your blood stream; heavy metals and radiation, for a start. For example, in salmon now tends to contain large quantities of dioxins – so just a couple of portions can contain way over what is considered to be the safe monthly intake.

Another consideration is that poor quality, cheap fish oils on the market can go rancid in once inside the body, causing more harm than good. pH Health take quality and pollution concerns very seriously, so we have carefully chosen both our supplier (and of course the original source – the Pacific ocean). We also ensure that our omega-3 oil is thoroughly inspected, tested by an independent laboratory (KBBL) so that we can offer the highest quality product that we know is free from heavy metals, dioxins and any other harmful substances.