Most people (99%) don’t get enough omega 3’s, an essential fatty acid that is crucial to our survival. These fatty acids are essential because our bodies don’t actually make them on our own.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are what help support brain health and prevent cancer, heart disease and many other diseases. Since our body doesn’t make these fats, we must rely on proper nutritional food sources and supplements.
Omega 6 EFA’s are also necessary, but these days we consume just way too many omega 6’s and the ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s is not good.
Our ancestors consumed a healthier ratio of these fats – 1:1 – which is the best way to go. Our EFA imbalance is one of the big reasons we have so many health issues. Along with the fact that almost our entire population is deficient in omega 3’s.
The typical vegetable oils such as corn and soy oil, used especially in processed foods, is where we get most of our omega 6 EFA’s.
We need to start reducing our intake of these typical oils and start increasing our intake of oils with healthy omega 3 fats like olive oilÂ andÂ flax-seedÂ oil.
There are numerous health benefits that come with getting the proper amount of Omega 3 EFA’s.
Here is a helpful infographic that gives you a list of Omega 3 sources and alsoÂ outlines the effects and symptoms of EFA deficiency.
If you have small children like me, Omega 3’s are vital for their development. If your kiddos have chronic congestion, runny noses, constipation, ear infections, coughs, or slow healing wounds, that’s a good indicator that they need more Omega 3’s in their diet. You can bet anyÂ childrenÂ who have allergies, asthma, hay fever, eczema, skin rashes, and digestive problems are also deficient in essential fatty acids.Â Natural Healthy Concepts has plenty ofÂ chew-able or liquid fish oil supplements for the little ones.
- Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Gummies are a best seller with a tasty tangerine taste for kids two and older.
- Nordic Naturals also offersÂ Baby’s DHA with Vitamin D3 for babies 5-35 lbs.
As for you, there are many ways to get your daily dose. You can swallow capsules, drink liquid oils,Â bake with flax seeds or even eat chewables!
Here’s a list of Omega 3 sources that will help you get your needed intake of EFA’s:
- Dr. Mercola Krill Oil -Â If you’re allergic to fish – krill oil is a good alternative. Some people prefer to take Krill Oil over Fish Oil either way.
- Terry Natually Vectomega – A whole food omega 3 complex with DHA, EPA, phospholipids and hydrolyzed amino acids from salmon extracted by a chemical free process using natural enzymes and a cold water flush.
- Carlson Fish Oil – Fish body oils from Norwegian deep, cold water fish including mackerel and sardines which are especially rich in Omega-3s EPA and DHA.
- Healthy Origins Chia Seed – Provides one of the richest whole food sources of Omega 3’s and fiber. Chia oil has one the highest amounts of omega 3 EFA’s of any plant known with eight times more Omega 3’s than fish oil.
- Nordic Naturals Algae Omega – The ideal vegetarian alternative to fish oil. Made from microalgae, it offers a plant-based source of omega-3’s EPA and DHA without the use of fish.
- Now Foods Flax Seed -Â The Omega-3 content of flax oil is typically 52%. Now Foods’ organic flax seeds also provide protein, mucilage, phytosterols and plant lignans.
For further information on fish oil, visit Essential Fatty Acids from Fish Oil on our website.
Nice infographic Ash! I had no idea all those sources of Omega 3s besides fish and avocados!
Thanks, Linds! ; ) I know. I love learning about the power of good food!
“If your kiddos have chronic congestion, runny noses, constipation, ear infections, coughs, or slow healing wounds, that’s a good indicator that they need more Omega 3?s in their diet.” At least the first four of these are frequently caused by dairy, and most parents who have removed the cow’s milk products from their kids’ diets have seen those symptoms “miraculously” disappear.
i am a pediatrician and completely agree with you that the four symptoms will be disappreared in many cases with milk eliminaton.
What kind of test do we need to test a one and a half year old child to see if he is fatty acid deficient? My nephew keeps getting skin rashes on his body. His mother has cut milk out of hers and his diet, and wheat products. If he is fatty acid deficient, what kind of diet should him and his mother be on. Thank you,
thanks for all your information on deficiency symptoms as l have a large growing family and have started researching a healthy diet and the requirements, anyway in my studies l found the most potent source of dha/epa type omega-3’s is calamari oil with 470mg/g . this is against fish oil 120mg/g and algal 350mg/g it is also eco friendly and environmentally sustainable
Thanks for reminding us of the benefits of calamari oil, Damian! We do sell a calamari oil from Carlson Labs called EcoSmart Omega-3. Good for you for being committed to giving your family the healthy diet they need and deserve! We wish you all good health in the New Year!
I have to tell you about my story and how EFA oils have given me new hope. I was pregnant last year with Placenta Previa and delivered a healthy baby girl in April 2013. Then three months postpartum, I lost ALL my hair on my head… ALL in 10 days. All the doctors I have seen basically said I have Alopecia caused by the stress and surgery; which to me was good news since I was worried it would be hormone related ( I lost my uterus due to placenta pre via complications). I was breastfeeding at the time and wanted to give my baby at least 6 months of nursing and managed to do so. Over the summer I lost all the hair on my body. In the fall, my scalp hair slowly grew back with very brittle and unhealthy hair and then recently broke off again when the winter months arrived. I was pretty down and out with no hope of my hair coming back since the rest of my body is still hair less or with light hairs. I decided to look more into the reason why my hair was growing dry / brittle and researched EFA deficients while breastfeeding. From all the information I read about EFA oils and how our bodies cannot produce them naturally, I decided to add one Tablespoon of cod liver oil at lunch time and then Udo’s 369 Blend at dinner time. Two days later my hair started sprouting again everywhere but this time with healthy hair that wasn’t breaking off every time I touch it.
The oils have helped me tremendously and its been about a week now. The hair on my head is growing beautifully but I’m still waiting for the rest to eventually show up. I truly believe the EFA’s have helped me. I enjoyed your article and readings.
That’s fantastic, Sandy! Thanks for sharing your story ; )
I’m posting my story. I have psoriasis and five years ago it really flared up in my joints so I couldn’t exercise anymore and two years ago patches started appearing on my skin and under nails. But about a year ago I started taking a new natural omega product that was suggested to me and now for all practical purposes my psoriasis is gone.
I would like to know how you measure omega 6 and 3 ratio? I use a blood test which shows the ratio and several other data. For example my first test ratio was 8,4:1, second 3,4:1 and third 1,6:1. Hope to hear from you soon.
Could you please tell me what “natural omega product” you used that has helped your psoriasis? Thank you!!!
Hi! I love the Barlean’s Total Omega – https://www.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/total-omega-369-swirl-orange-16oz-barleans.html. I use that for my boys and it does wonders for eczema. They love to eat it right from the spoon and included all the EFA’s 3-6 & 9. The balance is important. Often times skin issues stem from an EFA deficiency, but there are plenty of other reasons too – have you checked into food allergy testing at all?
Is there a test that can tell me whether my daughter has fatty acid deficiency or not?! If yes, where can I find the details of such a test and the cost involved?!
There is an easy test you can try at home! Here is the video on an Flax Oil – Omega-3 Muscle Strength Test that demonstrates how to test for fatty acid deficiency!
Can your dr check for the MTHFR mutation gene? That can give a lot of insight into these deficiencies. (the Heterozygous MTHFR mutation C677T/A1298C.
I used a simple dry blood-spot test for home sample collection. Leading laboratories analyze the sample to determine your fatty acid profile as a reflection of your diet. It takes less than a minute to complete, and you can access your results online anonymously after about 20 days. The balance test identifies levels of 11 fatty acids in the blood with 98% certainty. You will learn your blood levels of omega-3 and your ratio of omega 6:3 for balance, plus receive a report to increase your health and dietary awareness. Test results will show whether your diet is balanced or unbalanced. Continue using the balance products and, adjust your diet as recommended based upon your balance test report.
Omega 3 deficiencies affect the heart most people fail to consume sufficient amounts of omega 3 fat. If the body readily makes most of the fat that it needs from dietary starch or sugar, humans lack of the ability to make essential fatty acids and must get them from food or dietary supplements.
Great Info…Thanks for sharing!! I am a great advocate for nutrition & nutrition awareness too but I am utterly baffled by how many blogs & articles like yours that never mention LARD or TALLOW. I have always found that Nature provides ppl where ever they are everything they need to be in balance & nourished & maybe in many cases it could be said like the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish you feed him for a day…Teach a man to fish & you feed him for a lifetime.” With that & the geography of the USA alone, not everyone is near the ocean & of course there is so much controversy & pollution many fear store bought fish or don’t even know which is healthier vs less, so it again baffles me that LARD & TALLOW are IGNORED because for those of us in FARM COUNTRY aka INLAND this is where one CAN also get OMEGA-3’s!! & IS a BETTER “OIL” to COOK with especially at higher temps…it’s funny too that most ppl prolly do not even know that McDONALD’s use to FRY their French Fries in TALLOW!! Would have LOVED to tasted those!!! And as for SOY, this is a TRICKY subject but what I do know is for consumption it NEEDS to be PROPERLY FERMENTED & small amounts are HIGHLY recommended!! Even the government has NOT recognized it SAFE for consumption…Amazing what they don’t share & what just falls through the cracks & how programmed we are to TRUST those before us, never really considering their “education aka credentials” lol?
I agree omega 3’s have been linked to a myriad of health improvements–pubmed is full of articles.
One thing I haven’t found a consensus on is the danger of omega 6 or a “high ratio” of w6 to w3. There was a paper a few years ago published in the journal of preventative cardiology that showed no association overall between CVD and omega 6.
Can you reply to this with some sources of your information in this post?
Hi Dr. O, thanks for your comment – Here is one source you can start with: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909, however if you Google the importance of omega-6 and omega-3 ratio, you’ll find plenty more! ; )
Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this.
Very interesting info.