Omega-3 Fatty Acids: What New Research is Telling Us
If you’ve been watching the news lately, you’ve probably heard of the new research on omega-3 fatty acids.
According to a rigorous series of clinical trials in Greece, these polyunsaturated fatty acids may not be doing a thing for your cardiovascular health, as previous studies had suggested.
These findings may come as a shock to many. Omega-3 fatty acids have been hailed as an important component of a healthy diet for many years now – to the point that they’re added to many other common kitchen staples.
So I thought I would try my best to clear up any confusion regarding these new findings, while also reviewing the other potential benefits of omega-3s.
What the New Research is Telling Us…
First, the new studies from Greece only looked at the use of supplements, as opposed to natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids like fish, nuts, and avocados. This is obviously a major limitation since many people get the healthy fats naturally in their diet.
The use of omega-3 fatty acids in particular, rather than natural source supplements on the market, may also be a limitation of this research. There are many natural source supplements available, such as flax seed oil and fish oil supplements. These may contain benefits not available in the more refined and processed omega-3 capsules.
The new research does seem to contradict previous findings which demonstrated a protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids on heart health and the health of your arteries. These recent studies demonstrated no impact on heart attack rates, strokes, or heart-related deaths.
Aside from the limitations already noted, Greek researchers used very large sample sizes and control groups in a staggering total of 20 trials. So these findings aren’t to be taken lightly. But they also may not be enough to discount the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, even in supplement form.
American researchers have disputed the findings, noting another major limitation – they included participants who were already sick, which may have thrown off results.
Other Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
What bothers me most about these findings is the way they’ve been presented in the media. News reports have jumped to conclusions about whether people should take omega-3 supplements at all, ignoring the fact that there are other benefits to the fatty acids besides heart health.
Most notably, polyunsaturated fats have been linked to mental functioning and brain health. Studies have shown improvements in focus, concentration, and the ability to deal with daily stress.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to boost your metabolism and get you burning more calories and fat. This makes them particularly useful if you’re trying to lose weight and get fit. What’s even more exciting, recent weight loss studies using omega-3 supplements have shown that the fatty acids actually redistribute fat away from your midsection, which can have a huge impact on your overall physique and body composition.
For these reasons, as well as the uncertainty that’s still out there on heart health, I don’t recommend tossing your omega-3 supplements just yet.
What I do recommend is switching to more natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is probably one of your best options. When it comes to supplements, go for natural source options like these Optimum Flaxseed Oil Softgels and these Optimum Fish Oil Softgels. They’re definitely your best bet!
Have any questions or feedback about omega-3 fatty acids? Please leave a comment below…