Omega-3 Fatty Acids are Key to a Healthier Life

By Emily Sohn, Special to the Los Angeles Times, April 26, 2010

Research shows they promote heart health and reduce pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis. They also may help treat autism, bipolar disorder, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD and prostate cancer.

Pregnant women need them for their babies’ brains. Kids need them to learn. Adults get healthier hearts from them. The do-it-all nutrients known as omega-3 fatty acids appear to reduce pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis — and may help treat autism, bipolar disorder, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD and prostate cancer.

Even dogs and cats need omega-3s to stay healthy.

So eat more fish. Take fish oil pills (or their vegetarian counterparts). Start buying fortified foods. However you do it, you — like most Americans — could likely benefit from getting more omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA.

“There’s very strong, medical-nutrition, literature-based evidence in humans suggesting that the average American would probably have a healthier life, a lower risk of dying from heart disease and improved brain function by consuming more fish, more supplements or more functional foods with DHA and EPA,” says nutritional scientist Bruce Holub, of the University of Guelph in Ontario and executive director of the DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute there.

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