I always know when I am not getting enough of on my favourite fatty acids – flaxseed oil and avocado oil – when my skin becomes incredibly dry all over – my nails become ridged and uneven, and my skin looks dull and begins to look a bit like alligator skin – scaley.
But fatty acids are more than just great skin hydrators – they are extremely important for our health.
Omegas are essential fats that are needed to support skin, eye, brain and immune health.
There are 3 types of omegas – 3,6 and 9.
Our body is able to produce omega-9 adequately if we are healthy, and omega-6 is found in multiple processed foods – so those are often still found in adequate amounts – but if you ideally do not eat processed foods – you need to ensure you eat enough omega-6 as well.
There are three main types of omegas -3 fatty acids – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
It is necessary to consume between 250-500 mg of combined DHA and EPA on a daily basis to stay healthy – and the adequate intake (AI) for women is 1/1 grams and men 1.6grams.
Unfortunately, the average person doesn’t get this every day.
There are also 3 types of omega-6 fatty acids – linoleic acid being the most common form, arachidonic acid and gamma-linolenic acid.
At present there is no standardized test for omega deficiency – but there are signs that you need to consume more such as chronic inflammation of the body and skin.
Sources of Omegas,
- Nuts – all nuts – eat a variety of them to ensure you get enough omegas 3& 6.
- Chia seeds – these are the ultimate source of omegas – they are omega powerhouses.
- Spirulina or chlorella – these are omega powerhouses – plus – they are high in amino acids, B12, magnesium and vitamins and minerals such as iodine.
- Avocados are loaded with ALA
- Eggs – choose organic free range because caged and barn eggs are devoid of vitamin d – as the chickens are not out in the sunlight.
- Blueberries and strawberries
- Flaxseed oil,
- Tofu is high in omega-6
- Hemp oil – is not only naturally rich in omega -3 & 6 it is also high in omega-3 stearidonic acid (SDA) which is an even more potent form of the fatty acid.
- Fatty fish such as salmon, cod, sardines or mackerel.
7 signs of omega deficiency.
- Skin irritation, rashes, or acne,
It is easy to dismiss dry or dehydrated skin for a few reasons, but it is associated with omega-3 deficiency.
Fatty acids help keep cell membranes healthy, which includes helping them retain moisture – so dry skin can be an early warning sign that you are not consuming enough omegas to make this happen.
There has also been some research that indicates that omega – 3 supplementation can help with conditions such as eczema and psoriasis – these are both inflammatory conditions – which shows that fatty acids can also reduce inflammation in the body.
One research study showed that people who took fish oil containing 1.8 of EPA saw a reduction in eczema symptoms after 12 weeks.
An increase in acne is also a symptom of low omega-3 levels – it is believed to be caused by an elevation in inflammation as well.
- Brittle /thinning hair
Just like your skin – when your hair becomes dry, dull, frizzy, and the ends begin to split – or it starts falling out – these can all be symptoms of omega deficiency.
Studies have found that omega-3 supplementation has reduced hair loss in women.
- Joint pain and stiffness.
Studies have shown that the correct amount of omegas can reduce inflammation for sufferers with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)and lupus. Many years ago – before we knew this information about omegas – I met a man who was the distributor in Australia for Sun Chlorella – he had started importing this wonderful omega and mineral loaded microscopic seaweed because it was the only thing which relieved his wife of all symptoms of her lupus – as long as she took it, she was well! I became an ardent believer in chlorella from that day forward.
- Brain fog and loss of cognitive function.
One of the signs that you are not getting enough omegas is brain fog and difficulty concentrating and memory issues. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are also connected to omega -3 deficiency.
Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with depression as well as other psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Dry eyes
An unreasonably large amount of people suffer from dry eyes (in the US – research has found 14% of people). This is caused due to inflammation – and like with the skin and hair – is seen as dryness.
In a large study of women between the ages of 45 -84 years old, those with the highest level of omega -3 saw a 17 % decrease in dry eye symptoms within a short period of time.
Fatigue is a common sign of omega-3 deficiency.
Researchers found that omega supplementation on lupus (which is characterized by join pain and fatigue – found that omega supplementation alleviated both symptoms.
This is what this gentleman (who was importing Sun Chlorella for his wife) found so many years ago – it was 25 years ago in fact! He had been bringing Sun Chlorella into the country for many years – he was in his early 80s when I met him – so he was well ahead of the times!
Some of these symptoms are also linked to candida, or a mix of that and lack of omegas.
If your skin is dry, dehydrated or flaky add your omegas!
How to increase your omega intake.
I personally love flaxseed oil – I call it the skin oil because everyone who takes a tablespoon or two per day – finds their skin becomes softer, and more dewy. I always know when I don’t add it to my smoothie in the morning – within a couple of weeks my hands and lips become dry and cracked, as do my cuticles, and my skin and nails look dry and dull.
Hemp seed oil is the most fashionable oil at present for glowing health – so you can take 1 tablespoon of this in your morning smoothie instead. Or switch it up with Avocado oil, walnut oil or even olive oil.
Have a salad daily with ½ avocado, sprouts, tofu, pumpkin seeds and a decent amount of greens, some reds, and yellows – if not vegan you can add an egg, or tinned fish to the meld, and make a salad dressing of olive oil, garlic, herbs and balsamic vinegar – or make a cashew salad dressing or (non-vegan) aioli dressing which contains eggs and oils.
I love to add a tablespoon of oily vegan pesto to the salad for taste and added oils, pine nuts for omegas and protein.
For dinner a few nights per week (non-vegan) eat fatty fish such as salmon, or if vegan- ensure you have a delicious cashew sauce for omegas and protein, or tofu. I try to add broccoli to pretty well every dinner because it contains multiple other health benefits besides being green and full of omegas!
Especially if you are vegan and or vegetarian – take a supplement of chlorella or spirulina daily. As I mentioned earlier in my post – these microscopic seaweeds are loaded with omegas but also vitamin B12, iron and are extremely high in protein.
If your skin is dry and flakey, or your hair is dry and brittle – use a skin oil or hair oil which contain omegas such as olive oil or avocado oil – or buy one which already contains those ingredients! For a added boost – add a hydrating and healing water free skin cream – remember ip to 90% of what you apply to your skin enters your system!
Book a glowing skin consultation if you would like one on one help finding out more about how you can increase your omegas – specially for you!
Thank you for reading my blog!
I am Yvette van Schie, I am a holistic beauty therapist, skin nutritionist, skincare developer and makeup artist. I am passionate about sharing real beauty advice with a whack of reality.
For over 30 years I have worked with the best in the beauty and health industry as a trainer, educator and product formulator and I still do – so my knowledge is diverse – I am not blinkered when sharing my information with you because everyone I speak to shares what they know, and I turn it into easy to digest information because I want my readers to feel empowered to make their own decisions and to feel that they are fully in control of their beauty and well being.