Fatty acids that the body cannot produce, synthesize and which must be taken separately are called essential (required) fatty acids (EFA). EFA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid which is absolutely essential for humans and other mammals.
Omega-3 is present in fish as animal sourced food (herring, mackerel, sardine, trout and salmon) and in eggs in a small quantity. Flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seed oil and green leafy vegetables such as purslane and dried legumes are rich in ALA as vegetable families. Human milk contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. However, the main source of EPA and DHA is marine fish.
Dietary omega-6 fatty acids are the precursors of proinflammatory (inflammatory trigger) molecules. Whereas Omega-3 fatty acids are the precursors of anti-inflammatory molecules.
The role of Omega-3 fatty acids in maternal and infant health:
Omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in;
- Promoting baby’s brain and retina development
- Minimizing the risk of premature birth
- Increasing the pregnancy period and the weight of the baby during pregnancy
- Protecting from postpartum depression.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can also help improve the child’s mathematical intelligence, improve his/her reading, pronunciation and writing skills.
Findings of Omega-3 deficiency include slow growth, loss of sight, weakness in learning ability, lack of concentration, irregularities in motor movements, numbness in arms and legs and behavioral changes.
Since omega-3 fatty acids cannot be synthesized in the body, they must be taken externally:
The prejudice regarding the seasonal usage or cease of use for a certain period of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are among the fatty acids that the body cannot produce and must absolutely be taken externally does not reflect reality and since there is no scientific data showing that the use of Omega-3 in the summer months is inconvenient, there should no restriction on its use during these months. This prejudice is based on the need for vitamin D to be taken from different sources. Sunlight is the most important source of Vitamin D. It is present in only fatty fish and fish liver oil and in small quantities in red meat and egg. Vitamin D, which has important roles for bone development, immune system and metabolism, is taken from fish oil during winter when there is less sunlight while a perception has been developed that sunlight covers this need during summer months and therefore there is no need to take fish oil. However, the main ingredient essential for our body that fish oil mainly covers is the omega-3 fatty acid. For this reason, fish oil consumption is necessary both in the winter and in the summer.
Thing to take into consideration when omega-3 fatty acid supplements are used:
The most important issue to take into consideration while omega-3 fatty acid supplements are used is the quality. To take advantage of the benefits of fish oil, it is necessary to use refined fish oil obtained from fish not contaminated with heavy metals. You should be sure that the fish oil you use does not contain such harmful substances. The same risk is valid for the fish consumed as nutrients so this warning applies to this as well.
The odor of fish oil can be so bad to cause children to hate eating fish. In this case, taking fish oil can turn into a torment for both the mothers and children. With today’s developing technology, odorless fish oil can be produced. Other than products in bottles, there are also products in the form of single-use spoons which are produced in our country and exported to many countries of the world including USA. The single-use spoon form makes it easier to take fish oil on holiday as well thanks to its ease of handling and use in all seasons. It is also important that the formula of the fish oil meets the exact amount to be taken. IFOS quality assurance should definitely be sought, because with this international assurance it is proven that fish oil is pure and that there is no chemical harmful substance in it.
As a result, fish oil is not just a source of vitamin D. The main ingredient essential for our body that fish oil mainly covers is the omega-3 fatty acid which cannot be synthesized by human body. The consumption of fish oil that does not contain high amounts of vitamin D in the summer is also important for covering the need for omega-3.