“There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids—docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA),” Registered Dietitian, RDN, CDN The founder of Alice Figueroa said. Alice in Food Paradise. “A combination of 250-500 mg of DHA and EPA needs to be consumed daily to maintain health, while the Adequate Intake (AI) for ALA is 1.1 g for women and 1.6 g for men. Unfortunately, in general, most Americans are not meeting adequate daily intakes,” she said.
Currently, there are no standardized tests for omega-3 deficiency, making it difficult to detect, although there are certain signs and symptoms that you may need to consume more sources of omega-3, such as nuts (Walnut In particular) and seeds (Chia Seeds Contain All Day’s ALA), seafood, fatty fish such as salmon, cod, sardines or mackerel, algae (aka seaweed), or supplements such as fish oil or algal oil. “Because omega-3 oils are members of the dietary fat family, they are best absorbed when taken with foods that contain some fat,” says Dr. Brand.
While not all indicators of omega-3 deficiency are visible—such as chronic inflammation and heart problems—your body has a few common ways to alert you that it’s running out. Still, it’s best to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement or food regimen.
7 Signs of Omega-3 Deficiency
1. Skin irritation, rash or acne
easy to get fired There are several different causes of dry skin (dehydration is a common culprit), but it Yes Dr. Brand and Figueroa both say it has something to do with omega-3 deficiency. Fatty acids help keep cell membranes healthy, including helping them retain water. Therefore, dry skin can be an early warning sign that you are not getting enough omega-3s to achieve this goal.
There is even some research showing that omega-3 supplementation can help treat eczema and psoriasis Because of this, and their ability to reduce inflammation in the body.people taking fish oil After 12 weeks, 1.8 grams of EPA reduced eczema symptoms, according to a study.Increased acne is also a symptom of low omega-3 levels; it is thought to be caused by increased inflammation Too.
2. Brittle/Thinning Hair
Similar to your skin, if your hair starts to get dry, dull, frizzy, and the ends start to split — or it starts to fall out — these could be signs of omega-3 deficiency, according to Figueroa . Studies have shown that supplementation with omega-3 reduce female hair loss.
3. Joint pain and stiffness
Because omega-3 produces an anti-inflammatory response in the body, it is thought that joint pain and stiffness, especially from inflammations such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), may be a sign of omega-3 deficiency.Studies have found that appropriate supplements can relieve symptoms in people with: Rheumatoid Arthritis and related joint pain lupus.
4. Brain fog and cognitive loss
“Some clues you’re not getting enough omega-3s include difficulty concentrating or memory problems,” says registered dietitian Maya Feller, RD. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia Also associated with omega-3 deficiency.
Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are also linked to depression and other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), According to research.
6. Dry eyes
About 14 percent of U.S. adults suffer from dry eye syndrome, which is caused at least in part by inflammation.Women with the highest omega-3 intake in a large study of women aged 45 to 84 17% reduction in dry eye.
Both Feller and Figueroa noted that fatigue is a common sign of omega-3 deficiency, and studied the effects of omega-3 supplementation on lupus (characterized by joint pain and fatigue), omega-3 fatty acids found to relieve both symptoms.
The last takeaway
There are a number of reasons why you may experience any of the symptoms above, but if you find yourself ticking more than one on this list, it’s worth asking your healthcare provider about the possibility of an omega-3 deficiency. While there is currently no standardized test for omega-3 deficiency, they will be able to recommend the best way to get more of the three omega-3 fatty acids (ALA, EPA, and DHA) from food or supplements.
“Generally, the recommendation for people who eat seafood is to eat at least two servings of fatty fish per week, as well as plant-based omega-3s such as walnuts, flaxseed, and seaweed,” Feller said. “For people who don’t eat seafood that contains a lot of seafood Plant sources of omega-3, and may need to be supplemented. “
According to Dr. Bland, since omega-3 fatty acids are stored in the cell membrane around each cell, it takes some time to correct the omega-3 deficiency. “It usually takes three to four months after 1000 supplements–Consume 2,000 mg of omega-3 per day or increase the amount of cold water fish in your diet to bring omega-3 to healthy levels when one is depleted,” he says. Of course, it depends on how big a deficit you are dealing with, Figueroa says you can start to see some improvement in as little as two to three weeks.
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