Do Omega-3s Support the Immune System?
Your immune system tends to fly under the radar. If it’s doing its job, you won’t even know it’s there.
But your immune system is complex. It’s a sophisticated network of organs, cells, and proteins that work together to support the health of your body. With all that work to do, your immune system sometimes needs support.
The Omega-3 immune system benefits are well-studied and offer supportive evidence that this essential nutrient can support your immune health.
To help you make the best decision for your body, this blog will explain:
- What Omega-3s are
- The most important Omega-3 immune system benefits
- Key sources of Omega-3s
What are Omega-3s?
Omega-3s are a group of three different fatty acids, specifically long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are:
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the most common Omega-3 found in food. While it is true that your body can convert it into the more impactful EPA and DHA forms of Omega-3, this conversion is inefficient. Even if you’re consuming ALAs, you may not be getting enough Omega-3s, so it’s important to also look for foods and supplements that contain EPA and DHA.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a long-chain Omega-3, is usually found in seafood, like fish. Its primary function is to produce eicosanoids, which are chemicals that support a normal inflammatory response, but it can also be converted into DHA in the liver.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is also found in fish, but meat, eggs, and dairy also contain some DHA. This is a critical Omega-3 for your body because it contributes to the strength and health of cell membrane functioning, and it’s also the type of Omega-3 fatty acid that is most effective at increasing your overall Omega-3 index.
Together, these three acids comprise Omega-3 nutrients—a nutrient that’s important to your health but cannot be produced by the body. Regularly ingesting Omega-3s either through your diet or a supplement is the only way to take advantage of its many health benefits, including for the immune system.
How Omega-3s Support Your Immune System
Your immune system is multifaceted. When it’s healthy, multiple functions work in concert to support the overall health of your body. There are many ways Omega-3s may support your immune system, ensuring your concert remains in-tune.
Omega3 may support a normal inflammatory response
Inflammation is a defense mechanism. When it comes to your immune system, the key is to maintain a balanced inflammatory response, and it’s up to your body to regulate its response.
Studies have shown that Omega-3s may influence both sides of this inflammatory process by changing the fatty acid composition of cell membranes. That’s because inflammatory cells are usually rich in a fatty acid called arachidonic acid. Ingesting EPA and DHA can help your body both alter how much arachidonic acid is in immune cells and develop new inflammatory-resolving compounds (resolvins).
Through this pathway, cell membranes contain more EPA and DHA, less arachidonic acids, and more resolvins, all of which regulate how inflammatory cells function. This may make Omega-3s a useful therapy for regulating the body’s natural inflammation process.
Sources of Omega-3s
Your diet is the best way to ingest your essential Omega-3s, but more than 68% of adults don’t consume enough Omega-3s to meet their bodies' nutritional needs. Supplements can be another way to get the Omega-3s you need since you’ll have more control over how much and which types of Omega-3s you’re consuming.
Dietary sources of Omega-3s include:
Seafood: Fish, shellfish, and other seafood are rich in DHA and EPA, both of which may be key to Omega-3s immune health support.
Nuts, seeds, and nut oils: These are rich with ALAs and are a great option for people who follow a plant-based diet.
Fortified foods: Because Omega-3s are essential, they’re added to many different foods. Meat, eggs, and dairy may all have added Omega-3s.
Common Omega-3 supplements include:
Krill oil: Krill oil is both more sustainable and more easily absorbed by the body when compared to fish oil or algae oil supplements. Its Omega-3s come in the form of phospholipids, which your body can easily recognize, absorb, and put to work protecting your joints. Krill oil also contains essential choline and the antioxidant astaxanthin.
Fish oil: When most people think of Omega-3s, they think of fish oil. It’s packed with Omega-3s and is usually very effective, but it can come with side effects like diarrhea, gas, and other gastrointestinal issues.
Algae oil: This is a plant-based form of Omega-3s. It has many of the same benefits as fish oil, and though it is a less efficient source of omegas, it is more popular among vegans and vegetarians.
Give Your Immune System Support
Your immune system is one of your body’s unsung heroes. If all goes well, you won’t even know it’s hard at work.
But whether your immune system is just doing its job or is becoming a little overactive, studies have shown that Omega-3s can help influence the inflammatory process and may help support normal white blood cell levels.
Kori Krill Oil offers all those benefits in three different soft gel sizes, so you can get these immune-supporting effects in a pill that’s easy to take.