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Are you deficient in Omega 3?

Many Australians eat unhealthy diets which can lead to deficiencies in much needed nutrients. Though people hear about the healing and preventive effects of Omega-3 fatty acids, they often don’t realise that they are actually an essential nutrient. In fact, Omega 3 deficiency is one of the top six deficiencies in the diets of Australians.

Why you need Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are a major nutrient required for brain function. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect which assists with joint health and helping to stave off many serious chronic diseases. Fatty acids are key to the healthy function of living cells yet your body does not make them on its own. Fatty acids can only be absorbed through diet or, alternatively, supplements. Signs of Omega 3 Deficiency There are some common signs that will make skin care a challenge if you have an Omega 3 deficiency including:

  • Dry, flaky, rough skin
  • Breakouts, such as acne
  • A rash on the upper arms that appears as raised red bumps
  • Dandruff and dry flaky scalp
  • Dry skin
  • Premature ageing
  • Eczema
  • Dermatitis
  •  
  • Required Intake

    The recommended intake for Omega 3 varies for men and women. Men 19 years old and over require 160mg, and women require 90mg. Pregnant women require 110–115mg and when lactating 140–145mg.

    According to the Director of the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, Professor Peter Howe of the University of South Australia, Omega-3 should make up 8 per cent of the total fatty acids in red blood cells.

    Cardiovascular risks exist if they drop below 4 per cent. The average Australian is just above 5 per cent which is dangerously close to a deficiency.

    Heightened Risk

    Those at most risk of a deficiency are vegetarians and vegans as well as children and the elderly. The fatty acids we need are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids [EPA and DHA]. This can be found in sea food as well as some supplements.

    There isn’t a test that can be taken to confirm a deficiency, therefore it is important to err on the side of caution and ensure there is plenty of oily fish in your diet or that you are taking an Omega 3 supplement.

    Without enough fatty acids it is thought that you can be at higher risk for diseases that include Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, many forms of cancer, arthritis, depression and adult-onset macular degeneration.


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