Omega-3 fatty acids are one of my favorite supplements. In fact, if I could pick one or two supplements for all of my patients to be on, one of them would be Omega-3.
You may find it hard to believe that fat is essential to your health, but it’s true. Without fat, our bodies can’t function properly. And without the proper kinds of fat in our diet, our eye health also may suffer.
Fatty acids are the “building blocks” of fat. These important nutrients are critical for the normal production and functioning of cells, muscles, nerves, and organs. Some fatty acids-called essential fatty acids are necessary to our diet because our body can’t produce them so we must obtain them from our food.
This is why we always recommend eating cold-water fish such as Alaskan salmon because it is packed with healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Although tasty, it’s not practical to eat every day, and this is why we recommend supplementation with over-the-counter omega 3 supplements.
Several studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help protect adult eyes from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Omega-3s may also help proper drainage of intraocular fluid from the eye, decreasing the risk of high eye pressure and glaucoma.
In a large European study published in 2008, participants who ate oily fish at least once per week had half the risk of developing wet macular degeneration, compared with those that ate fish less than once per week.
Omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to reduce the risk of dry eyes. In a study of more than 32,000 women between the ages of 45-84, those who took omega-3 had a significantly greater risk of dry eye syndrome, compared to the women who did not take omega-3.
Omega-3 is best absorbed by the body in whole food form. A few of the best sources of omega-3 are wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, and tuna. Wild-caught varieties are much better than farmed varieties. If you aren’t a fish lover, other good sources include flax seeds, walnuts, and dark green leafy vegetables.
If you are unable to include these into your diet, daily supplementation of at least 1000 mg per day is a good start. If you suffer from acute dry eye then 2000mg per day is more beneficial.
Unfortunately, not all omega-3 supplements are equal. It is very important to read the label before you buy. I recently saw this in Kroger and snapped these pictures to show how confusing labels at the store can be.
It may be hard to see, but for $13.00 you can get two bottles of these fish oil gummies. That sounds like a great deal right? Until you look at the label that is. Two gummies only contain 57 mg of omega 3, so you would have to take at least 17 doses to equal the proper amount of omega 3 that you need!
When you are reading the label it is important to add the total of EPA and DHA omega 3 together to equal the full amount of omega you are getting in a dose. The other items listed on the bottle are not as beneficial as these two forms of omega 3, so it is important to look for high-quality products that contain the proper amount.
My favorite Omega supplement is Nordic Naturals Omega Pro Omega 2000. If you would like to buy it you can find it at most stores or on Amazon. You can also purchase them from my online supplement store. Follow this link to create an account.
If you are looking at some other brands online feel free to bring them by or send me a link and I can take a look at the bottle and tell you if I would recommend them or not.