Omega-3s: Everything You Need to Know

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As a health-minded individual, you’ve no doubt gotten the memo that omega-3 fatty acids are important. You may dutifully eat your weekly servings of small, oily fish. Perhaps a fish oil pill is even part of your daily supplement routine. But do you know why?

Looking back, I used to write about omega-3s a lot in the early days of Mark’s Daily Apple (more than a decade ago, geez!) Since then, I’ve covered the topic here and there, but I thought it was time for a refresher. Today I’m going to focus on giving you a broad overview of their function and an update on the state of the research literature.

It would be impossible to cover all the reasons that omega-3s are important for health in a single post, nor all the areas of ongoing research. I’ll try to hit the big ones here. Let me know in the comments what else you’d like me to cover in future posts.


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What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3s are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)—“essential” means the body can’t synthesize them. We have to get them from food or supplements.

As Primal folks, you might have an adverse reaction to the word “polyunsaturated.” It’s true that in the ancestral health world, we tend to be wary of PUFAs—or really, oils containing high proportions of PUFAs such as safflower and canola—due to their propensity to become rancid and be pro-inflammatory. However, this is a…

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