What is Omega-3, Omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids and why do we need them so much?
Fatty acids are a part of the base of cell membranes and are vital for the normal functioning of the body, along with proteins and carbohydrates.
The human body is not able to synthesize /produce these acids on its own, therefore, it needs to be obtained from the outside.
The influence of Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids was first revealed early in the 70s, when Danish scientists studied the health of Eskimos living on the shores of Greenland. They found that, compared with other populations, they have a paradoxically low incidence of cardiovascular diseases and significantly lower levels of harmful cholesterol in the blood.
Scientists have suggested that it is connected with the diet of the Greenlanders: it was much richer with sea fish, and hence with fats contained in the fish.
Fats, or, more correctly, fatty acids, are an integral part of the basis of cell membranes – protective membranes that surround every cell of the human body. Inside our body, there are many cells that are in the watery environment, and outside the cells, there is intercellular fluid. Due to the fact that the cell “envelops” itself with a fatty membrane, its internal space becomes a kind of barrier protected from the external environment. The composition of this protective barrier depends on the fats that are in the human diet. Thus, cell membranes become more elastic if vegetable fats dominate the menu.
Omega-3 is an important component of a healthy and balanced diet. These acids are the building block of cells, which, in addition to positively affecting the internal state of the body, also slow down the aging process and have a beneficial effect on the bones, hair, nails and skin.
Taking the required amount of these acids reduces the risk of developing many cardiovascular diseases and increases the body’s natural resistance and immunity.
A diet rich in omega-3 fats can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and arrhythmias. Omega-3 also helps to reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, preventing the development of atherosclerosis, thrombosis, myocardial infarction and stroke.
Omega-3 is also essential for the proper functioning of the central nervous system. Which also takes an active part in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, certain chemicals that act as intermediaries for the transfer of information between nerve cells and muscles.
Omega-3 is responsible for the proper functioning of the visual and coordination centers, and also has a positive effect on memory.
Replacing animals and trans fats with unsaturated fatty acids have a positive effect on the process of weight loss. Since unsaturated omega-3 fats do not accumulate in fat cells and have lower cholesterol, they also favourably affect the regulation of insulin levels in the blood.
Moreover, Omega-3 is necessary in the synthesis of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for the state of happiness, joy and pleasure, thereby reducing the risk of depression.
Omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid is no less important for our body.
Omega-6, like Omega-3, are essential fatty acids that are not synthesized by the body, and we can only get them through food or dietary supplements. These acids are extremely important for strengthening the functions of the brain and maintaining its healthy growth and development.
In addition, the benefits of polyunsaturated acids are not only in maintaining brain function. They also stimulate the growth of skin and hair cells, support bone health, help regulate metabolism, maintain the health of the reproductive system and much more.
Also, Omega-9 performs an essential function for our body; it synthesizes a substance called Prostaglandin E1, which has a significant anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect.
Eating gamma-linoleic acids reduces the risk of diseases such as sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and various skin diseases. These chronic diseases are associated with high levels of inflammation. For this reason, the relationship between diseases and our food is extremely strong.
To maintain well-being and functioning of all body systems, a balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids is needed.