Who needs Omega-3?
The very best for every stage of life
Our need for omega-3 fatty acids
The recommendations for the intake of omega-3 fatty acids vary due to different nutritional requirements. The recommended dosage of EPA and DHA per day is based on factors related to cardiovascular health and neurological development.
Already existing ailments should always be examined by a physician and treated accordingly.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the development of the foetal brain and retina, especially in the final third of pregnancy. Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant women take at least 200 mg DHA per day. This recommendation can be met by regular consumption of high-fat fish. However, pregnant women and nursing mothers, as well as the general population in Switzerland, do not eat enough fatty fish on average. This gap in supply can be covered by dietary supplements such as Omega-life®.
Various scientific studies have found a link between the availability of DHA both before and after birth and child development. Accordingly, a better supply of DHA facilitates the development of children's visual acuity, fine motor function and the ability to distinguish between language messages in pre-school and school age.
In addition, evaluations of various randomised and controlled trials showed that the regular intake of DHA-rich oils (including oils with DHA and EPA) during pregnancy reduced the risk of preterm birth by more than 40% before the 34th week.
Therefore, it is highly desirable that pregnant and breastfeeding women receive a good supply of DHA.
Children and adolescents
Omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on the child's brain. One study revealed that children who took omega-3 on a daily basis had significantly better concentration, attention and memory than children who had not taken omega-3.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also frequently associated with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children.
In the blood of these children, there is usually less EPA and DHA than is the case in healthy children. There is evidence that sufficient EPA and DHA can improve concentration, reading and memory.*
*Derbyshire E. Brain Health across the Lifespan: A Systematic Review on the Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements. Nutrients. 2018;10.
Positive influence on cholesterol levels
The protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids on the heart and blood vessels can be explained, among other things, by their positive influence on cholesterol levels in the blood. Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels and have long-term positive effects on blood cholesterol levels. In particular, replacing saturated fatty acids with monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids in your diet can help maintain normal cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol. The triglyceride-lowering effect of omega-3 fatty acids is also well known. These properties explain the positive effect of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular vessels.
Reduction of blood pressure at elevated values
Scientific research has shown that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can contribute to lowering high blood pressure. This effect can be increased if the food contains little table salt and plenty of potassium at the same time (vegetables, pulses, bananas, for example, are rich in potassium).
High blood pressure is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases.
Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties and are essential for a well-functioning immune system. Chronic inflammations represent the basis for a number of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma, psoriasis and eczema.
Scientific studies have found that sufficiently high doses of EPA and DHA, usually several grammes per day, can support the therapy of these diseases. This is especially true for rheumatoid arthritis.*
In addition, lower doses can help reduce the risk of asthma, for example.
*Miles EA, Calder PC. Influence of marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on immune function and a systematic review of their effects on clinical outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis. Br J Nutr. 2012;107 Suppl 2:S171-84.
Health maintenance of the eyes
DHA has certain protective functions, e.g. against the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD): Studies showed that increased intake of EPA/DHA significantly reduced the risk of AMD.
Several epidemiological studies (observational studies) over the past 10 years have shown that consumption of more fish and increased blood levels of EPA and DHA are associated with a reduced risk of loss of mental capacity and dementia development.
Other epidemiological studies report that high fish consumption is associated with a lower prevalence of depression. A number of randomised controlled trials support the thesis that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce symptoms of depression.
*Mocking RJ, Harmsen I, Assies J, Koeter MW, Ruhe HG, Schene AH. Meta-analysis and meta-regression of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for major depressive disorder. Transl Psychiatry. 2016;6:e756.
Omega-3 fatty acids are becoming increasingly important for the optimal nutrition of athletes. Just like the normal population, athletes eat less than the recommended amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Both professional athletes and amateur athletes, as well as "weekend warriors" pursue nutritional strategies to optimise their performance. Several scientific studies suggest a potential benefit of omega-3 fatty acids in terms of reduced recuperation time and improved immune system. As a result, omega-3 fatty acids could help muscles recover more quickly after exercise and allow the next training session to take place at shorter intervals.
As part of a balanced diet and proper training, a sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids, including supplements, could have a positive effect on performance.
Without good planning, vegetarians, and vegans in particular, are at risk of not sufficiently absorbing certain nutrients such as iron, protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids.
One study found that vegetarians and vegans had lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid in their blood than the control group.*
It is difficult for vegetarians and vegans to absorb sufficient omega-3 fatty acids because only α-linolenic acid, e.g. from linseed oil and walnuts, is available as a precursor for docosahexaenoic acid. The transformation of α-linolenic acid into docosahexaenoic acid, however, is not particularly efficient with about 10%. Most supplements for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are ultimately produced from fish, which is not useful for vegetarians and vegans. Vegetarian and vegan products increasingly offer an alternative because they contain algae oil and are therefore acceptable for vegetarians, to cover the recommendations for omega-3 fatty acids.
*Ryan L, Symington AM. Algal-oil supplements are a viable alternative to fish-oil supplements in terms of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3; DHA). Journal of Functional Foods. 2015;19:852-8.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acid content
The recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids is usually not achieved in western industrial nations.
Due to various nutritional objectives, the recommendations are sometimes different. The recommended dosage of 0.2 - 0.5 g EPA and DHA per day in dietary supplements is based on factors related to cardiovascular health and neurological development. Existing ailments should always be looked into by a doctor and treated accordingly. For example, in adults with coronary heart disease (e.g. after a heart attack) it may be advisable to take 1 g fish oil (EPA and DHA) per day.
The Swiss Federal Nutrition Commission recommends consuming fish once or twice a week, especially fatty sea fish (100 - 240g per week). The optimal supply of EPA & DHA fatty acids can also be met in the form of supplements.
Nutritional recommendations for fat intake (visible fats) in adults.
- 2-3 teaspoons of high-quality vegetable oils such as rapeseed or olive oil for cold cooking (e.g. salad dressings)
- 2-3 teaspoons vegetable oils (e.g. olive oil or high-oleic sunflower oil for heating food)
- 1 portion nuts (e.g. 20 g tree nuts)
- Per week:
- 1-2 portions of fatty cold water fish (e.g. tuna, mackerel, anchovy, salmon)