What is Omega-3, and Why Should You Take It?

Omega-3 fish
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First, let’s start with the basics.

What is the Difference Between Omega 3 and Omega 6?

“Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are two different classes of polyunsaturated fats. They are both important because they are made into powerful regulatory hormones. Omega 6 fats are primarily converted into a range of pro-inflammatory hormones and omega 3 into anti-inflammatory hormones. 

Perhaps it would help to think of the analogy of hot and cold taps; hot being omega-6 and cold being omega-3. We need a balance of hot and cold to get the right temperature. 

Due to the abundance of omega 6 in our diets from chemically extracted vegetable oils and a lack of food sources of omega 3 like cold-water fish and grass-fed/wild meat, we have an imbalance. An ideal ratio is 4:1 up to 1:1 of omega 6 to omega 3. This is a long way from the standard American diet, which averages 20:1. Imagine the hot tap (inflammation) on full and the cold tap (anti-inflammation) on a dribble. Inflammation is rampant.”

“Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and also directly boost immunity by enhancing the function of B cells, a type of white blood cell.”

Can your body make or produce omega 3 on its own?

Can your body make omega-3?

The answer is no. “Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fat the body cannot make on its own. They are an essential fat, which means they are needed to survive. We get the omega-3 fatty acids we need from the foods we eat.” -Cleveland Clinic

You can find omega-3s in foods like chia seeds, salmon, flax, seaweed, walnuts, broccoli, and edamame. Eggs also contain a small amount of omega-3.

Amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Selected Fish and Seafood

Since fish are one of the best sources, here is a compiled list with exact amounts of omega.

  • Mackerel
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 2.5–2.6 grams
  • Salmon (wild)
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 1.8 grams
  • Herring
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 1.3–2 grams
  • Tuna (Bluefin)
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 1.2 grams
  • Lake Trout
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 2 grams
  • Anchovy
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 1.4 grams
  • Tuna (Albacore)*
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 1.5 grams
  • Lake Whitefish (freshwater)
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 1.5 grams
  • Bluefish
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 1.2 grams
  • Halibut
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 0.9 grams
  • Striped Bass
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 0.8 grams
  • Sea Bass (mixed species)
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces (100 grams)
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 0.65 grams
  • Tuna, white meat canned
    • Serving Size: 3 ounces drained
    • Amount of Omega-3 Fat: 0.5 grams

*Contains a high level of Mercury. Limit the amount you eat.

Source: USDA Food Composition Databases

The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings a week of fish. A serving is 3.5 ounces of cooked fish or 3/4 cup of flaked fish.

Omega-3 in Olive Oil

Olive oil is a great source for omega-3

Another source of omega-3 is olive oil.  When I first started using olive oil as my source for omega-3 my skin was normally dry and in the winter a little itchy. Not anymore. I take 2 Tbls of olive oil per day and can tell the difference it makes. My skin was all of a sudden soft, it didn’t itch. If I could see these positive effects on the outside, just imagine how beneficial it is on the inside.

How Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Improve Your Health?

“Omega-3 fatty acids help your heart in several ways. They curb inflammation in the blood vessels (and the rest of your body). At high doses, they also make abnormal heart rhythms less likely and lower your level of blood fats called triglycerides. Finally, they can slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels.” -WebMD

Let’s break that down some more. Omega-3’s help:

  • “Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Reduced risk of death if you have cardiovascular disease.
  • Keeps the lining of the arteries smooth and free of damage that can lead to thick, hard arteries. This helps keep plaque from forming in the arteries.
  • Reduced risk of sudden cardiac death caused by an abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Reduced risk of blood clots because omega-3 fatty acids help prevent blood platelets from clumping together.
  • Lowering triglyceride levels by slowing the rate they form in the liver. High levels of triglycerides in the blood increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Less inflammation. Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is thought to involve your body’s inflammatory response. Omega-3 fatty acids slow the production of substances that are released during the inflammatory response.

Omega-3 fatty acids may also:

  • Raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL/“good” cholesterol).
  • Lower blood pressure. People who eat fish tend to have lower blood pressure than those who don’t.”
  • Curb joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Does the Brain Like Omega-3s?

Do omega-3s help keep the brain young?
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Omega-3 fatty acids are a very important part of brain development and function. And because of this, they are known to help with:

  • ADHD
  • It helps prevent depression. Although omega-3 is not a treatment for depression, studies have shown it is rarer for people who eat a lot of them to suffer from depression.
  • It aids in protecting older people from dementia and age-related mental decline.

What Do EPA, DHA, and ALA Mean?

There are two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids in fish: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The form of omega-3 in plants is called alpha-linolenic (ALA).

Cleveland Clinic

Omega-3 Supplements

If you don’t live where you can get fresh fish or don’t care for the taste try fish oil pills. It is recommended that a person only takes one gram per day with heart disease. High doses can interfere with some medicines. Read the label to find the amounts of EPA, DHA, or ALA you want.

How Much Is Enough?

Here is a guideline based on body weight and taking omega or fish oil pills in supplement form. Be careful when choosing any supplement that they are pure, and soy isn’t added. See the harmful effects of soy HERE.

Body weight (kg / lbs)Omega 3 intake (g / oz)EPA + DHA (mg / grain)Supplement
40kg / 88lbs2g / 0.07oz560mg / 8.4 grain2 capsules 
50kg / 110lbs2g / 0.07oz560mg / 8.4 grain2 capsules 
60kg / 132lbs3g / 0.105oz840mg / 12.6 grain3 capsules 
70ks / 154lbs3g / 0.105oz840mg / 12.6 grain3 capsules 
80kg / 176lbs4g / 0.14oz1120mg / 16.8 grain4 capsules 
90kg / 198lbs4g / 0.14oz1120mg / 16.8 grain4 capsules 
100kg / 220lbs5g / 0.175oz1400mg / 21 grain5 capsules 
110kg / 242lbs5g / 0.175oz1400mg / 21 grain5 capsules 
120kg / 264lbs6g / 0.21oz1680mg / 25.2 grain6 capsules 
Children under the age of 132g / 0.07oz560mg / 8.4 grain2 capsules 
Pregnant women3g / 0.105oz to 5g / 0.175oz840mg / 12.6 grain to 1400mg / 21 grain3 to 5 capsules 

It is suggested that you should take fish as your primary source of omega-3s but also advised to change it up. For instance, have flaxseed on a salad, or broccoli when eating a different form of meat like chicken or beef.


  1. Omega-3s are for the young and the old. It helps the brain, heart health, and circulatory health.
  2. You can eat it in food form, capsule form, or by taking an oil, such as olive oil.
  3. Your body needs it to function correctly and thrives when it gets enough.
  4. The body does not produce it on its own.

That’s it, Friends. Stay free and have a healthy week!

Heather Earles
Heather Earles

Heather is married to a retired Special Forces Officer, and they live on a farm with their four children. She is an established author, a stay-at-home mother, and an advocate for healthy living. She publishes a weekly blog and podcast (Herb ‘N Wisdom™) and writes for a local newspaper to aid and inspire others.

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