All of the cells in your body are protected by a thin layer called the cell membrane. The membrane serves to protect and regulate what gets in and out of your cells.
Omega-3 fatty acids help the cell membrane maintain its structure and integrity, allowing it to act as an effective barrier to harmful substances. They also aid in cell metabolism and communication, further helping to keep the cells healthy and functioning properly.
Additionally, omega-3s play a role in helping regulate inflammation throughout the body, as well as helping to reduce the risk of certain diseases.
You can get omega-3s from a variety of sources, but the best sources are fatty fish and nuts. If you’re not getting enough omega-3s in your diet, you may start to develop symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency.
Here are a few signs that you may need to increase your intake of these essential fatty acids:
Dry or Irritated Skin
One of the most common symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency is dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. This is because omega-3s are essential for maintaining your skin’s hydration and elasticity.
Your skin needs omega-3s to help regulate the production of oil and strengthen its natural barrier against external irritants. Without enough omega-3s, your skin becomes more prone to dryness and irritation, which can lead to flaking, itching, redness, acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
Mood and Brain Disorders
People with low levels of omega-3s are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and even Alzheimer’s disease. This is because omega-3s are necessary for proper brain development, as well as mood regulation.
Omega-3s help the brain produce and utilize serotonin and dopamine, two of the primary hormones responsible for regulating mood. They also help protect neurons from damage caused by free radicals.
For people who are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, increasing your intake through whole foods or supplements may help improve your mood and slow the progression of age-related cognitive decline.
If your body isn’t getting enough of these fatty acids, you may start to feel fatigued and have difficulty concentrating.
Omega-3s help convert glucose into usable energy, as well as aid in forming red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues and muscles. Without enough omega-3s, your cells won’t be able to produce enough fuel for your body, leading to feelings of fatigue.
They also help regulate the hormones associated with sleep, so a deficiency can also contribute to insomnia and other sleep problems, which may further worsen your fatigue.
Omega-3s are essential for proper circulation, as they help to reduce inflammation and keep your blood vessels flexible. A deficiency can prevent oxygenated blood from reaching your extremities, resulting in cold hands and feet as well as a feeling of numbness.
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor about potential causes and solutions.
In some cases, resolving this issue may be as simple as eating salmon once or twice a week, snacking on nuts and seeds regularly, or taking a supplement. However, it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement routine.