Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that support healthy function in your body. The three main omega-3s are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Omega-3s are vital for brain function, eye health, energy, and much more. You get most of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs from the food you eat but only certain foods contain omega-3s, and those foods aren’t a staple in most American diets.
Unless you regularly eat fatty fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, or plant oils, your body might not be getting all the omega-3s it needs to function at its best. But how can you know for sure if you have an omega-3 deficiency?
Located in Fort Myers, Florida, Heather Auld, MD, and our nutritional health team at SWFL Integrative Medicine can help. Through comprehensive nutrition counseling, we work with people to identify and correct their omega-3 deficiencies, so they can enjoy their best health.
You could be lacking omega-3s if you experience:
Omega-3s are a key component of cells throughout your body, including your skin cells. Skin naturally protects you from the environment, but low omega-3 levels reduce the strength of your skin’s natural barrier.
Omega-3 deficiency can make skin dry, irritated, and more sensitive. If you have a skin condition like eczema, low omega-3s may exacerbate your symptoms. If you’re acne-prone, low omega-3s could make breakouts worse.
Just like skin, hair relies on omega-3 fatty acids for strength, and omega-3s affect hair texture and density too. If you have an omega-3 deficiency, it may negatively affect your hair health over time. Possible symptoms include dryness, brittleness, thinning, changes in hair texture, or increased hair loss.
Your brain is about 60% fat, and it needs omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s support brain cell health, facilitate communication within your brain, boost blood flow, and support cognition.
Without enough omega-3s, your brain can’t function at its best. Common signs of omega-3 deficiency include brain fog, poor memory, and difficulty concentrating. Low omega-3 levels have also been linked to an increased risk of dementia in older people.
Omega-3s are a critical component of brain function, and they offer both anti-inflammatory and protective effects on your brain. A lack of these essential fatty acids can increase your risk of mental health disorders and other brain issues. Low omega-3 levels may put you at increased risk of mood swings and depression, in particular.
Joint pain is a common complaint among adults, and the pain and stiffness often increase with age. Inflammation is a leading cause of chronic joint pain, and you might have more inflammation if you have an omega-3 deficiency. Omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, and they can help lessen joint pain.
Nutrition counseling at SWFL Integrative Medicine starts with a comprehensive exam. Dr. Auld and our team review your symptoms and your medical history. We evaluate your diet and recommend additional testing as needed.
If we diagnose an omega-3 deficiency, there are ways to correct it and start improving your symptoms. We may recommend dietary changes to increase your intake of omega-3s or lab tested high quality omega 3 supplements to ensure you’re getting what your body needs.
If you’re concerned you might have an omega-3 deficiency, request a consultation online or call our office in Fort Myers, Florida at 239-208-6676.