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What Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Do?

What Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Do?

What Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Do?

To put it simply, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body. Why does this matter? Although a necessary aspect of survival, too much inflammation can cause several health implications. Chronic inflammation contributes to nearly every chronic disease in North America including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease as well as general aging. Inflammation is prevalent in the population for a number of reasons, with diet playing a major role.

The North American diet is highly inflammatory. The over consumption of refined sugars, reduced fibre intake and processed plant oils (high in omega-6 fatty acids) leads to inflammation in the body.

Reduces Inflammation:

Omega-3 fatty acids on the other hand, reduce inflammation. A specific enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) which produces the hormone which lead to inflammation, is inhibited by omega-3 fatty acids.

This means that, essentially any health issue leading to, or stemming from excess inflammation could most likely benefit from the use of omega-3 fatty acids.

Improves Brain Health:

Although reducing inflammation is their main role, omega-3 fatty acids do have several other benefits such as providing DHA (a form of omega-3 fatty acids) to the brain after injury or throughout growth and development. They are also an integral part of the cell membrane and work as receptors for communication and to regulate gene function.

When choosing an omega-3 fatty acid and specifically looking to target excess inflammation in the body, you want to aim for a high EPA fish oil. This means, the ratio of EPA to DHA in the oil is about 3:1 or 5:1 as EPA has more potent anti- inflammatory impacts on the body.

About the Author

Dr. Maille Devlin

Dr. Maille Devlin, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and corporate wellness consultant practicing in virtually for patients all across Ontario as well as in person in the east end of Toronto. Dr. Devlin has a clinical focus in: weight loss, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hormonal issues, stress management and healthy aging. She considers true health not only the absence of disease, but rather a state where an individual is thriving both physically and mentally.


  • Just came across this Maille! You saw me after I had issues recovering from my concussion. So happy to see your face on my fav omega-3 website :)

    Bernie J le

  • I’ve been on the fence about taking omega-3s for years because I hated them as a child, but after trying them again I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner!

    Kev le

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