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Omega-3s for Young Adults

As an age group, young adults tend to be pretty healthy. But it’s a good time to start thinking ahead and considering your health in the long-term. So how can omega-3s help?

  • Cardiovascular health. Studies have found that people who eat fatty fish twice a week have lower rates of heart disease. One study found that fish oil – in foods or supplements – cut the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 32%. People with documented heart disease are advised to get about 1 gram of omega-3s from fish oil per day or to consider EPA plus DHA supplements.
  • Cancer. So far, the evidence is not very strong. But a number of studies have noted that people who take in higher amounts of omega-3s seem to have lower levels of certain cancers. These include cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, ovaries, esophagus, and others. Are the omega-3s really responsible? It’s impossible to say. But the evidence is promising and more research needs to be done.
  • Depression and other psychiatric conditions . There’s some fairly good evidence that omega-3s can play a role in brain chemistry and a number of studies have found some benefits. Several studies have found that blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are lower in those who suffer from depression .

“We have studies showing that countries that have healthier diets -- with more vegetables and fish -- tend to have a lower incidence of depression than western countries,” says Ronald Glick, MD, medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

At least a few studies have found that adding omega-3s supplements is beneficial for those suffering from depression. For instance, fish oil does seem to boost the effectiveness of some antidepressants. There’s also some early evidence that omega-3s might help with schizophrenia and the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder. There’s some conflicting evidence that omega-3s may help with other conditions -- ranging from skin conditions to painful menstruation to Crohn’s disease. More evidence is needed to determine whether omega-3 supplements benefit people with inflammatory bowel disease.

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