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5 Signs and Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency

5 Signs and Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency

5 Signs and Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency

It’s important to consume omega-3 fatty acids.

They’re a crucial component of your cell membranes. Your body also needs them to supply signaling molecules called eicosanoids, which help your immune, pulmonary, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems work properly.

Omega-3s are a kind of polyunsaturated carboxylic acid (PUFA). Important omega-3s in foods include omega-3 fatty acid (EPA) and omega-3 fatty acid (DHA), also as their essential precursor omega-3 fatty acid (ALA).

Having an omega-3 deficiency means your body isn't getting enough omega-3 fats. this might put you in danger of negative health effects.

This article reviews 5 possible signs and symptoms of omega-3 deficiency, the way to determine whether your omega-3 status is low, and the way to extend your omega-3 intake.

Research is in the early stages

The signs and symptoms listed during this article are supported preliminary research.

To date, few studies have investigated the signs and symptoms of omega-3 deficiency specifically. Thus, most of the studies during this article analyzed something similar but distinct — the health benefits of omega-3s.

In addition, there’s currently no standard test to diagnose an omega-3 deficiency, though there are several ways to research omega-3 levels.

To gain a clearer understanding of this subject , scientists got to do more research on the signs and symptoms of omega-3 deficiency specifically, and researchers may have to develop better tests to spot it.

Here are 5 potential signs and symptoms of omega-3 deficiency.

1. Skin irritation and dryness

If your body lacks omega-3 fats, one among the primary places you'll notice it's in your skin. as an example , sensitive, dry skin, or maybe an unusual increase in acne could also be a symbol of omega-3 deficiency in some people.

Omega-3 fats improve the integrity of skin barriers, preventing the loss of moisture and protecting it from irritants which will cause dryness and irritation.

One small study gave women a daily dose of 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) of ALA-rich linseed oil for 3 months. the ladies who took it experienced decreased skin roughness and increased skin hydration by nearly 40%, compared with those that received a placebo.

A 20-week study gave omega-3-rich hempseed oil daily to people with atopic eczema , also called eczema, a condition that causes dry and irritated skin. Participants experienced reduced dryness and itchiness and needed less topical medication.

Additionally, experiencing more acne than normal could also be an indirect indication of omega-3 deficiency in some people. Studies have shown that omega-3s reduce inflammation, which scientists believe may trigger acne.

Furthermore, some research has shown that taking omega-3 supplements can help reduce acne breakouts and skin inflammation.

Interestingly, some studies have also found that taking EPA and DHA supplements may reduce how sensitive your skin is to ultraviolet .

In one study, participants who took 4 grams of EPA daily for 3 months experienced a 136% increase in their resistance to sunburn.

Overall, omega-3 fats are important for maintaining optimal skin health, so if they’re lacking in your diet, you'll notice changes in your skin.

2. Depression

Omega-3 fats are an important component of the brain and known to possess neuroprotective and anti inflammatory effects.

They may even help treat neurodegenerative diseases and brain disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and manic depression . Many studies show a correlation between a coffee omega-3 status and a better incidence of depression.

One analysis of 26 studies that included 2,160 participants found that taking omega-3 supplements had a beneficial effect on depressive symptoms.

Specifically, an omega-3 supplement that contained a minimum of 60% EPA, taken at a dosage of 1 gram or less per day, seemed to be helpful.

Another systematic review and analysis of 6 studies and 4,605 participants concluded that a mean intake of 1.3 grams of omega-3s per day reduced mild to moderate depression symptoms among older adults, compared with placebo.

Additionally, one animal study found that a lifelong inadequate intake of omega-3 fats caused changes in neuronal pathways of the brain, leading to depression.

While many factors contribute to the event of psychological state disorders, a diet high in omega-3s may help reduce the danger of some psychological state conditions. Consult your healthcare provider to be screened for depression and determine appropriate treatment strategies.

3. Dry eyes

Omega-3 fats play a task in eye health, including maintaining eye moisture and possibly even tear production.

For this reason, many healthcare providers prescribe omega-3 supplements to assist relieve dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of this often include eye discomfort and even disturbances in vision.

One high-quality study in 64 adults with dry eye checked out the consequences of taking omega-3s. One group of participants consumed two daily capsules, each containing 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA. the opposite group of participants took a placebo.

After 30 days, those that had taken omega-3 supplements experienced less tear evaporation, improved dry eye symptoms, and more tear production.

Furthermore, in one analysis of 17 studies involving 3,363 people, researchers found that taking omega-3 supplements significantly reduced symptoms of dry eye compared with taking a placebo.

In contrast, other studies have found that taking omega-3 supplements made no difference in dry eye symptoms compared with taking an vegetable oil placebo.

If you’ve noticed a rise in eye dryness, this might be a sign that your diet lacks omega-3 fats.

That said, many health conditions can contribute to dry eye symptoms. As such, it’s important to talk together with your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing dry eyes or other eye-related symptoms.

4. Joint pain and stiffness

It’s common to experience joint pain and stiffness as you grow old .

This may be associated with a condition called osteoarthritis, during which cartilage covering the bones breaks down. Alternatively, it's going to be associated with an inflammatory autoimmune condition called atrophic arthritis (RA).

Some studies have found that taking omega-3 supplements helps reduce joint pain and increase grip strength. Research also shows that PUFAs may help with osteoarthritis, though more human studies are needed.

Moreover, research suggests that omega supplements may help reduce disease activity in those with RA, also as improve symptoms in people with the disease.

If you’ve noticed a rise in joint pain or related arthritic symptoms, your omega-3 fat status might be low, and taking supplements may help.

However, it’s important to talk together with your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing joint pain or arthritis symptoms. they will help determine the right treatment.

5. Hair changes

Just as omega-3 fats help retain moisture within the skin, they also help keep your hair healthy. Changes in hair texture, integrity, and density may indicate a coffee omega-3 status.

One 6-month study gave 120 female participants omega-3s, along side omega-6 fats and antioxidants, during a daily supplement.

At the top of the study, those that had taken the supplement experienced reduced hair loss and increased hair density compared with the control group.

One study in dogs found that taking EPA and DHA improved carboxylic acid composition within the animals’ blood and hair. The carboxylic acid composition they found is related to better hair quality.

If you’re experiencing increased hair loss or have noticed that your hair is thinning or feeling dry and brittle, taking omega-3 supplements may help. 

How to confirm an omega-3 deficiency

It’s uncommon for healthcare providers to routinely evaluate a person’s omega-3 status. There’s no standard test to diagnose an omega-3 deficiency. However, there are ways to research omega-3 levels, if necessary.

First, healthcare providers can take a blood sample and analyze levels of omega-3s within the blood fats or plasma , which are expressed as a percentage of total phospholipid fatty acids by weight.

Healthcare providers also can assess omega-3 status indirectly by analyzing the carboxylic acid composition of red blood cells. This approach looks at the long-term dietary intake of fats over several months and should provide a thought of overall omega-3 intake.

Still, it’s important to notice that the quantity of fatty acids within the blood can vary significantly counting on what you ate last and when. this is often why most healthcare providers require an individual to fast overnight before giving a blood sample to assess the lipids in their blood.

The Western diet is understood to be high in saturated fat and low in unsaturated fat, including omega-3 fats. Among populations that eat more fish, there’s less concern about omega-3 deficiency.

You may be at a better risk of omega-3 deficiency if you don’t consume fish, seafood, and dietary sources of ALA or take a supplement that contains EPA and DHA.

How to improve omega-3 status

Some foods, like chia seeds and other plant foods, contain the omega-3 fat ALA. Fish and other foods that are mostly animal-based contain DHA and EPA.

ALA may be a precursor to DHA and EPA, which suggests your body can convert a number of it into these two omega-3 fatty acids. However, the conversion rate is extremely low.

Thus, it’s best to specialise in getting enough EPA and DHA directly from your diet or supplements, instead of by consuming ALA.

Fatty fish are the simplest food sources of EPA and DHA. These include salmon, herring, trout, mackerel, sea bass, and sardines.

Still, you ought to also incorporate good sources of ALA into your diet. a number of the simplest sources of ALA include plant oils, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

You can take DHA and EPA supplements made with animal oil or krill oil. However, vegan omega-3 supplements, which derive the nutrient from algae rather than seafood, also are available. Studies indicate that algae-derived omega-3 is effective at increasing omega-3 status.

If you think that your omega-3 status is low, you'll increase your dietary intake and consider a supplement. If you’re concerned a few more severe deficiency, speak together with your healthcare provider, who can recommend appropriate supplements.

The bottom line

Omega-3 deficiency may be a condition during which your body doesn't have enough omega-3 fats available. It typically results from not consuming enough dietary sources of omega-3s over the future .

While healthcare providers don't regularly assess people for omega-3 deficiency, there may some indicators that your status is low.

For example, lacking omega-3 may cause or exacerbate dry and irritated skin, inflammation, hair thinning and loss, depression, dry eyes, and joint pain or stiffness. The research linking these symptoms to omega-3 deficiency is preliminary, so more research is required .

The best thanks to boost your omega-3 status is to extend the quantity you get from your diet. Fatty fish and seafood are rich within the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, while some plant oils contain ALA. you'll also get omega-3 fats from supplements made with fish, krill, or algae.

If you’re concerned a few more severe omega-3 deficiency, it’s best to talk together with your healthcare provider to work out appropriate evaluation and treatment.