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  • Writer's pictureCallie

Do I Need Omega-3s?

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

What are Omega-3s?

Omega-3s are an essential fatty acid.

Fatty acids are the building blocks of fats, and essential fatty acids are those we must get in our diet because our bodies don't make enough. Though a real Omega-3 deficiency is rare, studies show that many people's intake is not sufficient, meaning most of us aren't optimizing the full benefits of this nutrient.

Food sources:

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and seafood (especially salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines), nuts and seeds, and plant oils.

There are three types of Omega-3s - EPA, DHA, and ALA. Dietary sources of ALA are most common in the food system, such as seeds and nuts. EPA and DHA are found in fish and seafood. ALA is only a precursor for EPA and DHA, having to be converted by the body. Unfortunately, this process is only 0.5-5% efficient, emphasizing the importance of eating fish or seafood to get adequate Omega-3s. The recommended intake would be at least 2 servings of fish per week.

Supplements: If you prefer a supplement for any reason, the common recommendations are 3-4g/day, and it is safe to take up to 5g per day. It is highly recommended to look into brands that are third party tested - such as Thorne or Klean Athlete. Otherwise, the FDA does not test supplements, and there is no regulating what you're actually getting in the supplement.

Benefits: There are many studies looking into the benefits of Omega-3s for the general public, as well as athletes. Studies suggest the following benefits,

  • Management of inflammation

  • Improved brain health and function

  • Improved performance and endurance

  • Enhanced recovery

  • Injury prevention

The majority of benefits come from the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3s. Reduction of inflammation will aid in quicker recovery, reduced fatigue, and improved brain function. Since Omega-3s can cross the blood/brain barrier, some studies suggest that reducing inflammation in the brain will even help improve depressive symptoms. Inflammation is a leading cause for many chronic diseases, so reducing inflammation will ultimately support long term health.

If you would like to learn more about how you could benefit from Omega-3s, please reach out to schedule an appointment :)


Gammone MA, Riccioni G, Parrinello G, D'Orazio N. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 27;11(1):46. doi: 10.3390/nu11010046. PMID: 30591639; PMCID: PMC6357022.

Lewis NA, Daniels D, Calder PC, Castell LM, Pedlar CR. Are There Benefits from the Use of Fish Oil Supplements in Athletes? A Systematic Review. Adv Nutr. 2020 Sep 1;11(5):1300-1314. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmaa050. PMID: 32383739; PMCID: PMC7490155.


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