What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

omega 3 fatty acids


Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat with anti-inflammatory effects. The main omega-3s are EPA, DHA and ALA.


  • Omega-3s are linked to numerous health benefits like reduced heart disease, depression, muscle damage and joint pain. They support brain and eye function.
  • EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish. ALA comes from plant sources like walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds.
  • Aim for at least 250-500mg combined EPA/DHA daily either from oily fish or supplements. 2-5g daily is therapeutic.
  • To maximize absorption, take fish oil supplements with food and store in cool, dark places. Remove burp-inducing fishy taste with lemon.


  • Salmon and sardines providing EPA and DHA omega-3s.
  • Krill oil or algal oil supplements as vegetarian omega-3 options.

Related Terms

  • Polyunsaturated fats, alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

Common Questions

  • What foods contain omega-3s? Fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, algae.
  • What benefits do omega-3s provide? Heart health, reduced inflammation, eye and brain function, potential muscle recovery.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Omega-6 fatty acids – Also polyunsaturated but less anti-inflammatory benefits.
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