Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that help to lower cholesterol in the blood, specifically LDL (bad cholesterol). The acids also contribute to brain and circulatory health, but our bodies have a very limited ability to manufacture this on their own. These acids \u2013 largely found in plants and animals \u2013 that have many health benefits. Most of these health benefits come from animal or fish-based EPA and DHA fatty acids, not the plant-based ALA.\nMany people are confused about the best way to get enough of these of fatty oils. If you can’t get your daily-recommended intake from food alone, you can take a supplement. When selecting a supplement, you will want to select an animal-based variety, such as fish oil. Depending on your personal health and habits \u2013 such as high cholesterol, whether or not you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or don’t eat fish\/seafood \u2013 your recommended daily intake can vary from 250mg to 4000mg daily. On average, the American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of 250mg.\nHow Do These Fatty Oils Help Our Brains?\nThe benefits of “fish oil” are seen during fetal development in the womb. During pregnancy, “fish oil” fatty acids transfer from the mother’s blood to the developing fetus, through the placenta. Therefore, the intake transferred to a baby depends on the amount of DHA ingested by the mother. Basically, a developing fetal brain can starve for DHA, prior to being born. This shows to have an impact on both the child’s vision and intelligence during the developmental childhood time in life.\nStudies have shown that the intake of these fatty acids can greatly influence mood, behavior and personality. Because the need for DHA does not diminish over time, it is important to include foods rich in fatty oils in your diet to ensure that the following DHA-deficient conditions don’t surface later on:\n\nMemory loss\nDepression\nBipolar disorder\nAttention defcit disorder\nSchizophrenia\nAutism\nGeneral learning difficulties\nBad moods\n\nAdditional Benefits of Omega-3 Fats\nOmega-3 may be beneficial to your heart health. One study found that patients supplementing their diets with fish oils significantly reduced their risk of a subsequent heart attack, stroke, or death. In another study, researchers reported that those who consumed fish at least once per week had a 50 percent reduced risk of dying from a sudden cardiac event compared to those who do not eat fish. Omega-3 oils both control and balance your cholesterol triglyceride levels. Consuming omega-3 fats also have other heart benefits that most people might not know.\nOmega-3 fatty acids can help:\n\nPrevent or counteract cardiac arrhythmia\nPrevent both thrombosis and blood clots\nReduce or prevent both fatty deposits and fibrosis of the inner layer of your arteries\nCounteract inflammation that causes a “hot” feeling, pain, swelling, or discomfort\n\nIn both adults and children, omega-3 supplements and consumption have shown to improve many areas of health, including:\n\nCoronary heart disease and stroke\nEssential fatty acid deficiency in infancy, e.g. retinal and brain development\nGeneral brain function, including memory and Parkinson’s disease\nADHD\nAutoimmune disorders, e.g. lupus and nephropathy\nOsteoporosis\nCrohn’s disease\nCancers of the breast, colon, and prostate\nRheumatoid arthritis\n\nWhile the benefits of fish oil aid us from fetal development through our senior years, it’s important to be aware of proper consumption guidelines. If you’re interested in providing omega-3s to children, it’s best to speak with your pediatrician to ensure that the supplements or foods are safe for consumption by children.\nAs an adult, be sure you discuss all vitamin and nutritional supplements you take with your doctor, just to make sure that nothing will interfere with any of your pre-existing medical conditions or prescribed medications.