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How Much Omega 3 Do You Need and Why | The Cannabis Co.

Reviewed by Dr. Les Baxter. 

Like most people in the western world, you’ve probably taken some kind of fish oil, krill oil or flax seed oil supplement before, right? These days it’s in the bucket of ‘general health supplements’ for a lot of health-conscious people, but do we really know why and what the best oil supplements are?

First of all, why do we need oil supplements? Oil supplements like fish oil, krill oil and hemp seed oil contain essential fatty acids (EFAs) which - you guessed it - are essential to get via food or pill form because the body can’t make them on its own, but they are vital to several bodily functions. 

 

More on Essential Fatty Acids 

 

EFAs are special polyunsaturated fatty acids more commonly known as Omega-3 and Omega-6. Before we get any further it’s important to note that equally important as getting enough of these EFAs is getting the right ratio - a ratio of 3:1 Omega-3:Omega-6 which happens to be exactly what you’ll find in hemp seed oil - neat! 

Omega-3 & Omega-6 are more like groups than ‘things’ - there is more than one type of Omega-3 & Omega-6. The ones that are ‘essential’ to the human body are an Omega-3 called ALA (Alpha-linolenic-acid), and an Omega-6 called linolenic acid. These EFAs metabolise in the body to create extremely important ‘metabolites’, EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). 

 

hemp oil vs fish oil

 

A common concern when tossing up between Fish Oil & Hemp Seed Oil (for the omega nerds out there) is whether Hemp Seed Oil will result in enough EPA & DHA and the answer is, yes! Fish Oil only contains those metabolites because the fish have already metabolised the EFAs  - but those fish got their EFAs from either algae plants, or other fish that ate algae plants. When you choose hemp seed oil, you’re cutting out the middle man (fish) I going straight to the source. 

Ahah! You have done your research and read that the human body needs healthy magnesium levels in order to most-efficiently metabolise ALA & linolenic acid into EPA & DHA - not to worry friends! Hemp Seed Oil contains twice as much magnesium as dark chocolate. All taken care of in one beautiful green oil! 

 

Why Do We Need Omega-3 Fatty Acids So Badly?  

 

Humans need a dose of essential fatty acids every day. This is because the body cannot store EFAs.

Why so essential? Well… metabolites of EFAs are an important building block of our cell membranes throughout the body and also affect the function of cell receptors in those cell membranes. They play an important role in making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls and play a part in managing inflammation. So yeah, kind of a big deal. 

 

regulate blog clotting

  

How Much Omega-3 Do You Need in a Day? 

  

Remember, Omega-3 was made to work alongside Omega-6 (in the right quantities), but here’s a guide to how much Omega-3 the human body needs every day. 

Age

Male

Female

Pregnancy

Lactation

Birth to 6 months*

0.5 g

0.5 g

7–12 months*

0.5 g

0.5 g

1–3 years**

0.7 g

0.7 g

4–8 years**

0.9 g

0.9 g

9–13 years**

1.2 g

1.0 g

14–18 years**

1.6 g

1.1 g

1.4 g

1.3 g

19-50 years**

1.6 g

1.1 g

1.4 g

1.3 g

51+ years**

1.6 g

1.1 g

*As total omega-3s

**As ALA

 

How Much Does That Equate to in An Oil Supplement?

 

We recommend a Hemp Seed Oil supplement as it comes already made up of the perfect Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio for the human body, plus is much more sustainable and clean than fish oil. Just ONE TABLESPOON per day is enough to provide all the essential fatty acids needed to keep your systems running in tip-top shape.

 

What Are The Omega-6 & Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms? 

 

If you are deficient in either of these essential fatty acids, you might experience:

  • Rough, scaly skin & dermatitis.
  • Brittle nails & hair.
  • Fatigue & trouble sleeping.
  • Difficult menstrual cycles for women - especially if experiencing a lot of clotting.
  • Joint pain & leg cramps.
  • Heightened or new allergy symptoms - hives, eczema & asthma.

 

What Are The Benefits of Omega-3 & Omega-6 EFAs?

 

If you still don’t believe you really need an Omega supplement in your life, check out this list of important functions these babies are needed for. You can click on each one to jump to an explanation of how and why omega supplements are important to these parts of your body:

  • Mental Health & Brain Health.
  • Eye Health.
  • Cardiovascular Health.
  • Anti-inflammatory Response.
  • Bone & Joint Health.
  • Alleviate Menstrual Pains.
  • Better Sleep.
  • Healthy Skin.

 

What Are The Best Sources of Omega-3 & Omega-6? 

 

Fish oil & krill oil have been highly regarded as the most potent source of EFAs in the past, but now more and more peope are calling for more sustainable and animal-friendly sources of essential fatty acids. 

You will find varying levels of Omegas in vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds & flax seed oil, leafy vegetables and our favourite - hemp seeds & hemp seed oil. 

 

fish oil alternative - hemp oil

 

Hemp Seed Oil provides all of the key Omegas, balanced perfection to human consumption and is a vegan omega-3 supplement that’s safe for the whole family. 

Hemp seeds contain 11% more polyunsaturated fats than sacha inchi seeds, 62% more than flax seeds, 96% more than chia seeds, 104% more than fish oil & 460% more than whole fish. 

 

Health Benefits of Omega-3 & Omega-6 Explained:

 

Mental Health & Brain Health

DHA makes up 40% of polyunsaturated fats in the human brain, which means DHA plays a massive role in supporting your brain & neurological function including memory & focus. 

EPA also has a role to play in your brain, specifically pertaining to mental health, mood & behaviour. EPA has been found to be an effective supplement to treat anxiety, depression, ADHD and a host of common mental disorders. 

The effect of DHA on the brain is especially important for babies during pregnancy up until 24months  as it plays a vital role in the development of the brain and other parts of the nervous system. 

 

Eye Health

Our site is something we often take for granted. Did you know that DHA plays an integral role in the structure of your retinas? You want to keep those healthy if you like seeing things - trust us.

 

Cardiovasular Health

Omega-3s are total superstars when it comes to keeping your heart & arteries happy. Omega-3 benefits for your cardiovascular system include:

Lowering blood pressure for high blood pressure sufferers

Raise ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels

Can keep platelets from clumping together, helping to prevent the formation of harmful blood clots

By keeping your arteries smooth, nourished and lubricated, Omega-3s help prevent the build up of plaque that can restrict and harden your arteries.

 

Anti-inflammatory Response

Omega-3s reduce the production of substances that exacerbate your body’s inflammatory response. While inflammation is a natural part of your body’s protective & healing process, prolonged inflammation is linked as a contributing factor to so many of today’s most common western diseases & conditions including heart disease, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases & more. 

Having help fighting inflammation in the body also helps your digestive system function properly and helps your body recover faster from physical exercise. 

 

Mental Decline from Ageing

Studies have linked higher Omega-3 intake to decreased age-related mental decline as well as a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. EFAs are also important for bone & joint health - an area of common discomfort and problems for our ageing population.

 

Reduce Liver Fat

An incredibly important benefit of hemp seed oil, yet one you probably haven’t given much thought to - reducing liver fat. Increasing with the obesity epidemic, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming more common than you might think. A good Omega-3 supplement has however shown to effectively reduce liver fat and inflammation in people struggling with NAFLD.

 

Bone & Joint Health

Aches and pains become more common as we age but the good news is, omega-3 supplements like hemp seed oil can help! Studies show that omega-3s can improve bone strength by boosting your calcium levels, in turn reducing risk of osteoporosis.

 

Alleviate Menstrual Pain 

For the ladies out there that suffer crippling cramps & pains (or even mild ones, let’s be honest it all sucks) on their period - we have something for you! Studies are showing that women who take omega-3 supplements have milder menstrual pains, while another study showed that omega-3 supplements actually worked more effectively to kill pain than Ibuprofen.  

A more powerful way to take high-omega-3 hemp seed oil supplements for pain management is through transdermal patches - applied to the area of pain, hemp seed oil patches bypass the stomach, meaning you get a quicker and more effective hit of pain relief because less of the goodness gets broken down by your body.

Find out more about Transdermal Hemp Patches here.

 

Sleep

Hearing this over and over might make you yawn (which might be a good thing after all?), but good sleep really is the foundation to a healthy life. Sleep is how your body processes things - physically and mentally - and regenerates itself. Our busy modern lives filled with screens, hyper targeted advertising and aggressive KPIs always in our faces, make it hard to genuinely turn off and wind down at the end of each day. Our good old friend DHA is here to help - with studies showing that higher levels of DHA are linked to higher levels of the hormone Melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Studies showed that Omega-3 supplements increased the length and quality of sleep in both children and adults! Yes please.

 

Skin 

Your skin is the clothes your body always wears - so it’s no wonder we obsess about our skin so much! The thing is, beautiful skin comes from what we put IN our bodies, not so much what we put ON them. DHA is a structural component of your skin, being responsible for the health of your cell membranes. Healthy cell membranes are soft & supple resulting in skin that looks just that. 

But that’s not the only benefits omega-3 supplements offer your skin, our other friend EPA is also here to help out. EPA is known to help manage oil production, reduce the risk of acne and also can help protect your skin from sun damage. EPA helps block the release of substances that deplete the collagen in your skin after sun exposure - and remember, after 25 your body won’t make any more of that lovely, elastic collagen so don’t go wasting it!

 

Reviewed by Dr. Les Baxter. 

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