Why is Omega-3 so popular?

Published 10 months ago at 13 Apr 2020 by Alexandra Soare

It all has to do with the natives of the frozen North. Known before as Eskimo which means “eater of raw meat.”, this word is considered today offensive and many prefer the name “Inuit,” which means “the people” or “real people.” That is why in this article I am referring to this population as Inuit.

In 1970 one of the first research made on the Inuit population resulted in a paradox. For centuries this population was having a high-fat, high-protein diet without developing cardiovascular disease. This made the scientist arrive at the conclusion that the Omega-3 present in the fish was the protective factor. From that point on this nutrient became popular.

Now, this scientific study was full of flaws. In reality, many Inuit have a low life expectancy (less than 60 years) and they do suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Plus the scientist didn´t take into account the genetic differences. Overtime the nordic population developed a gene called CPT1A which helped them deal with a very fat diet but came at the price of higher infant mortality. If you want to know more about, check here.

What is Omega-3?

Do you remember the basics of fats?

Basics: Fat is a chain of fatty acids that is divided into saturated and unsaturated fats.

 

Advanced: If you have only one double-bond it is called MUFA (Mono-unsaturated fatty acids), if you have two or more it is called PUFA (Poly-unsaturated fatty acids).

Expert: Omega-3 is an unsaturated fat because it contains double-bonds in the chain. Because the first double-bond starts with the 3rd atom, then this fat is called Omega-3.
If the double-bond starts with the 6th atom, the fat would be called Omega-6.

Why is this fat healthy?


Flexibility 

As you may have guessed, it depends on the double bond. While the normal bound C-C makes the molecule be more rigid, the C=C double-bound helps the fat be more flexible and rotate more.


Anti-oxidant

Also.. the extra bound make the molecule a strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. But how?
Some unhealthy foods (but also some normal processes in our body) release free radicals. there is no way around it. The free radicals wonder in your body looking for electrons and they have no mercy. They would take this electron from whenever they can (even from DNA). 
Here is where the unsaturated fats, especially Omega-3, play a role. When they meet the free radical, they "calm" him down by "donating" the extra bond (-) they have. You could say that he is like a generous heart that gives to others what he has in abundance.

How to integrate Omega-3 in your diet?

 According to experts, women should get 1 gram of Omega-3 per day. While men shoul aim for half a gram more per day, 1.6.


What about vegans?

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Alexandra Soare

It's me, Alex!

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