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Nutrition & Fitness Tips

What Happens When You’re Omega-3 Deficient? 

What Happens When You’re Omega-3 Deficient?

What motivates you to stay in shape? For many people, it’s a desire to live the best life possible. They want to enjoy their peak physical ability. The drive for self improvement is a powerful motivator.  It gets you to exercise, use the best muscle building supplements, and see satisfying results. 

One of the most popular supplements are fish oil pills. They contain omega-3 fatty acids. These are compounds that your body relies on for normal, healthy functioning.

The catch? You can’t produce them on your own. You have to get them from other sources in your diet. The best source is fish. But you can also find omega-3 in some plants, nuts, and seeds. 

You may be thinking - “But I eat fish from time to time. That’s enough.” Perhaps you assume that you don’t need to use fish oil pills to boost your omega-3 levels.

But fitness is about facts, not feelings. When it comes right down to it, what does the research say? And what happens if you allow yourself to become omega-3 deficient?

Editor’s Note: For more information on omega-3 fish oil and how it supports health and fitness, read The Definitive Guide to Omega-3 Fish Oil.

Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency

Researchers have identified a variety of signs that point to a deficiency of essential fatty acids. Here are a few examples.

  • A 1998 study looked at patients undergoing home parenteral (intravenous) nutrition. It found that a deficiency in essential fish oils led to skin problems. In some cases, a dry, scaly rash was observed. 
  • Omega-3 deficiency is often related to and exacerbates malnutrition. A 2004 review looked at how a lack of essential fatty acids contributes to malnutrition. Some of the symptoms of this “protein-energy malnutrition” included “skin changes, impaired resistance to infections, impaired growth rate, and disturbed development” in infants. 
  • A case study of one young girl who became omega-3 deficient is enlightening. She experienced “numbness, paresthesia, weakness, inability to walk, pain in the legs, and blurring of vision.” When her diet was corrected, however, “neurological symptoms disappeared.”

Measuring Omega-3 Levels

The omega-3 index is a measurement that doctors use to check a patient’s omega-3 levels. This method has been proven effective by numerous studies. For example, a 2013 randomized controlled trial validated the use of the omega-3 index as a biomarker of essential fatty acid consumption. It also found that “additional factors, particularly body weight,” can help patients reach a healthy level of omega-3.

Low omega-3 levels have been associated with serious health problems. In fact, a 2014 report showed that “a low omega-3 index fulfills the current criteria for a novel cardiovascular risk level.” In other words, if you don’t have enough of this essential fatty acid, you are at risk for heart problems. 

Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements

There is clear, scientific evidence. You need to maintain high levels of omega-3 to stay healthy. Taking fish oil pills can help you avoid preventable health problems. This is critical, as some of them can be life threatening. 

Do you get the recommended amount of omega 3 fish oil by eating fish 2-3 times each week? For many busy people, it’s hard to keep up that kind of diet. Even if you do eat fish from time to time, you should still be supplementing omega-3 to support your health.

Do you make exercise and fitness a priority? Don’t miss out on the maximum benefits by ignoring omega-3 fish oil. Use fish oil pills to supplement your diet. That way, you will be sure that you are giving your body plenty of this essential nutrient. 


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