A review into the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

Authors:P. Padmanabhan
Int J Biol Med Res. 2019; 10(1): 6678-6683  |  PDF File


Essential fatty acids are long -chained polyunsaturated fatty acids. Linolenic acid (LNA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are omega -3 series whereas linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA) are omega -6 series of essential fatty acids. Omega -3 fatty acids are present in meat, fish, poultry, flaxseed etc. Foods fortified with omega -3 fatty acids are protected and stabilized by antioxidants like carotenoids, flavonoids, anthocyanins and vitamin E which prevent oxidative damage. Mechanisms that prevent oxidative damage are radical scavenging, metal chelation, and oxygen depletion. The absence of enzyme omega -6 desaturase in mammalian cells prevents conversion of omega -6 to omega -3 fatty acids. The ideal omega -6 / omega -3 (ω-6/ω-3 ratio) is 1:1.This ratio should be maintained and adjusted depending upon the disease conditions, dietary factors, genetic factors and geographical habitat which varies the need of these nutrients. The risk of contaminants of omega -3 fatty acids in dietary brands can be avoided by stringent checks on quality, purity and certification. There are side –effects of excessive consumption of omega -3 fatty acids in very large quantities; like bleeding from gastrointestinal tract, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Benefits of omega -3 fatty acids in inflammation, obesity, pregnancy, eye health, metabolic syndrome, brain function and performance of athletes are focused in this review. Futuristically proactive measures are recommended to maintain the quality as well as zero- contamination of foods fortified with omega -3 fatty acids to maintain human health globally.