If there is something that’s on my mind these days, it’s what I can consume and do that supports my immunity, anxiety response (cause mama’s got some anxiety from time to time over here!), and oddly..my creaky knees. I remember a few years ago when I’d read articles about the importance of x, y, and z nutrients for healthy joints and bones and laughed to myself thinking that I wouldn’t have to worry about that until I’m 50. But here I am, not even 30 yet, wondering why the heck my knees are elbows are crackin’ and poppin’ like 4th of July fireworks every time I do a workout.
Moving on from this side rant… there is a nutrient I used to take religiously that (if you can believe it or not) helps support not only your immune system, your mental health (and the health of your brain), your body, but also inflammation & creaky joints. And that is omega-3s! Make sure that you read all the way to the end for a special discount on the current omega-3 I’m taking from Lysi Life
Now, I fell off the omega-3 bandwagon after the birth of my first son because as a first time new mom,who has time to remember to take her supplements every. Single. Day? If you do Sheryl, while you make every single meal from scratch and color coordinate your kids socks and spend 4 hours a day teaching your child baby sign-language, then I don’t wanna hear it.
BUT – since I became pregnant again with lil bub 2.0, I am now back on the supplement train because we all know you need your daily prenatal. And while I’m at it, I’m taking my omega-3 too (it’s a beautiful supplement for pregnancy – more on that later).
So I’m here to share that this single healthy fat, omega-3, is like the triple threat of supplements and for all the right reasons. It is a very timely time to talk about what you can do to support your immune system, anxiety levels, and all that jazz too (cough covid cough), so let’s just dive in and learn all we can about how you can support your mood, noggin’ and bod!
What is Omega-3?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of healthy fats with thousands of scientific articles that prove the benefits that they offer for your brain and body. The most common omega-3rs are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) which are both found in fish sources. These healthy fats give you a boost of benefits for not only your brain and body, but your mental health too!
There are some plant-based sources of omega-3s that come from walnuts and flaxseeds which are called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), but evidence insinuates that our body cannot process ALA like it can with DHA and EPA, so fish sources seem to be more bioavailable to us (meaning they get the job done).
The Health Benefits of Omega-3s
Brain and Mental Health:
This one, to me, is most important! Right now as we are all experiencing this epidemic, we need to give our brain and mental health the utmost care. So I’m going to start with how omega-3 works with your noggin’.
So, the brain is made up of around 60% fat, did you know that? Since our brain is so fatty, it needs healthy fats to maintain proper functioning. Omega-3s have studies to show (especially DHA) that they actually help boost memory and cognitive functioning skills, and having enough omega-3s in your routine can also help with depression; from helping prevent it (1) to improving symptoms if they are currently experiencing it (2), as well as helping with anxiety, and certain emotional disorders and mood swings (2). Many of the studies done on omega-3s and the connection to treating anxiety, depression and mood disorders were also in conjunction with other therapies. So, I am NOT saying to give you therapist the cold shoulder or turn down medical help if you are experiencing depression, this is simply a nutrient that also plays an important role in maintaining balanced mental health!
For anxiety specifically, this study discussed how participants who supplemented with omega-3s had a large reduction in their anxiety, and those with clinically diagnosed anxiety had significant improvements. Again, it’s the EPA and DHA that are the key components of omega-3s that are studied to show these benefits.
This is a very common benefit of omega-3. If you’ve ever paid a visit to your chiropractor with back problems, you were most likely told to supplement with omega-3s. We all have some form of inflammation in our body as it is a natural response to pathogens, infections, or any type of damage done to the body. The problem is when there is an excess of inflammation that lingers for prolonged periods of time even when we don’t have any damage or infections. This is what is known as chronic inflammation – we can accumulate inflammation in our bodies from the foods we eat, to stress, and all sorts of unhealthy lifestyle practices.
Even worse, chronic inflammation is a contributor to almost every single type of disease found here in Western medicine (4), so it’s really crucial that we start to become aware of how to lead a low-inflammatory life!
Omega-3 has been studied to show that when used in supplement form, it can reduce inflammation levels in the body (5). Another interesting thing to note that brings us back to mental health is that those who had low levels of omega-3 and chronic inflammation because of that, were contributing to depression (6). So keeping inflammation levels at bay is just another way to keep your mental health in tip top shape!
Supports a Healthy Pregnancy:
Did you know that omega-3 is important for proper development and brain growth in fetuses and infants? Research has shown that supplementing with omega-3 while pregnant is good for both baby and mama! There are tons of studies done on the various benefits you’ll get from supplementing with omega-3s while pregnant, including:
- Better brain health for your baby
- Decreased risk of a delay with development
- Increased social and communication skills
- Decreases the risk of bipolar disorder
- May prevent asthma
- Decreases chances of developing allergies
So no matter if you’re a mama to be, a nursing mama, or trying to get pregnant, omega-3 can give you some extra nutritional support!
Helps maintain a healthy endocannabinoid system:
Don’t know what the endocannabinoid system is? Simply put, it’s a network of different components of our body like receptors and enzymes that work to help regulate stress, anxiety and even pain in the body. It’s a huge system that communicates with endocannabinoids that are produced already within our body, or when we consume them via plant sources (CBD). Oh and side note! This how is CBD works with us too when consumed as a supplement, it interacts with the already existing endocannabinoids in our body! So how does omega-3 play a role?
The naturally occurring endocannabinoids in our body are created from omega-3s, did you know that? So when you are maintaining healthy levels of omega-3s in your diet through foods or supplementation, you are helping this natural system of receptors that regulate inflammation, pain and stress working properly. I suppose it’s another way that omega-3s help support your mood as well! Here’s a study that explains it in a bit more detail if you are interested.
For Heart Health:
These healthy fats have also been studies to show how it supports our heart health. Some of the ways omega-3 does this is by keeping our triglyceride levels at bay (or level of unhealthy fats in our system) (7), it can help reduce high blood pressure levels (8), it can help us maintain healthy levels of “good” cholesterol, and can even help prevent blood clots! And since omega-3s help with inflammation levels, this indirectly supports the health of your heart too.
For Joint and Bone Support:
Taking omega-3 can help bolster the amount of calcium you have in your bones, which helps with bone strength, and they have also been studied to help easy the inflammation and pain that comes with arthritis and joint pain.
For Sleep Support:
Some studies have shown that not enough levels of omega-3 contribute to sleep problems and even sleep apnea in adults (9), and these reported low levels also are related to not producing enough melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. And in contrast, when subjects took omega-3 supplements, sleep issues started to subside!
The Beauty Benefits:
One of my favorite benefits of omega-3’s is the beauty boosting benefits! Omega-3s help keep your skin supple, firm and glowing. This healthy fat helps keep your skin hydrated, can prevent premature aging in the form of wrinkles, and it can even reduce acne! I mean, fighting wrinkles, acne, and promoting a glowing complexion? I’ll take omega-3 for life!
How To Source Omega-3:
Before I dive into omega-3 supplementation I’d like to share foods that contain omega-3 so that you can be both mindful of what you can consume that gives you omega-3 and how to supplement with it as well, since you can’t have salmon every night for dinner! Seafood is the highest natural source of omega-3, especially wild pacific salmon. Other food based sources of omega-3s are:
So if you can incorporate these foods into your diet along with a high quality supplement, then you are smooth sailing with efficient amounts of omega-3! But remember, plant-based sources of omega-3s aren’t as “efficient” as seafood sources, since the acid compounds are a bit different.
Supplementing with omega-3:
Now when I’m supplementing with omega-3, there are a few different things I look for in a brand. The first is obviously, finding quality through companies that have really enhanced manufacturing processes and sourcing. Second being how involved the company is with research, because the more research and studies that supplement brands are a part of, the move evidence based information you can gather!
Since I became pregnant again, I started supplementing with LYSI Omega-3 Heart, which contains a higher dose of EPA and DHA than a traditional omega-3 dosage (which I am all here for since I’m growing a bun in the oven!) This brand is based in Iceland and sources a large majority of their raw materials in fresh Icelandic waters, and they actually specialize in formulating customized omega-3 products that are infused with other functional supplements that support immunity, joint health, and even skincare!
It’s a brand that has been around since 1938 (so you know they’ve been around the block with research and quality processing) founded by two brothers which soon became the largest producer of cod liver oil in Iceland. Lysi’s main products are cod liver oil, Omega-3 and even shark liver oil, and they lead globally since they only use fish caught in unpolluted Icelandic waters!
And to give our readers an extra perk, Lysi has offered to giveaway two bottles of their best selling cod liver oil!
GIVEAWAY! Now more than ever, health + wellness are at the forefront of our minds. And since Omega-3s are known for boosting immune system functions, Lysi Life is giving away two bottles of their best selling cod liver oil to one lucky winner. Here’s how to enter:
1. Follow @lysi.life.2. Follow me at @____.
3. Like this post + let me know if you’ve ever explored fish oil supplements.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Contest ends 5/29/20 at 12am CST. 18+, US Entries only. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Instagram.
And, since I’m a current partner with Lysi to help educate readers on what omega-3 is and how it supports brain and body health, I also have a special discount! If you want to try Lysi for yourself, you can use code: Sarah10 for 10% off your orders. Cheers to your brain health!
Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Lysi Life. All creative direction, writing, research, and opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Lysi.