Omega 3 is one of the world’s most popular supplements. Millions of us take an omega 3 supplement every day to support our heart, brain, and joints. But did you know that omega 3 could help to support our immune system too?
What Is Omega 3?
When it comes to fat, this is one you don’t want to be cutting back on. Omega 3 is a group of fatty acids that are essential to every cell in our body.
The 3 main omega 3 fatty acids are:
- DHA, known as docosahexaenoic acid
- EPA, known as eicosapentaenoic acid
- ALA, known as alpha-linolenic acid
Where Do We Get Omega 3 From?
As essential as omega 3 is to our health, our bodies can’t produce it naturally. So we must obtain it from our diet, typically from fish, nuts, and seeds.
Omega 3 Sources
- Hempseed oil
- Canola oil
- Pumpkin seeds
Omega 6 Sources
- Borage oil
- Evening primrose oil (EPO)
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Corn oil
- Canola oil
However, getting enough omega 3 from our diet alone can be a challenge. Most of us don’t have time to prepare fish based dinners 3 times a week and, what’s more, we still probably wouldn’t get enough anyway. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 1-3 grams per day of EPA and DHA.
Omega 3 & Our Immune System
Firstly it’s important to explain a bit about the immune system (known as the lymph system). It’s essentially a highly complex system of organs (lymph nodes) and cells (lymphocytes) that work together to seek and destroy anything ‘foreign’ that enters the body (such as bad bacteria or a virus.) These lymph nodes are housed strategically throughout the body and serve as the checkpoint for fluids that carry the lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are cells that patrol the body for potential threats in the form of bacteria, virus and fungi and without becoming too in-depth, they can be classed as T-cells or B-cells. This is where Omega 3 supplementation comes in, since various studies have shown that supplementing the diet with Omega 3 can greatly increase the activation and number of T-cells within the body, and therefore the ability to fight disease. Omega 3 & the immune system.