10 benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important for body and mind and therefore offer many benefits. This makes them a true champion among nutrients. In this article we tell you why omega-3 fatty acids are so important and what you need to consider to best meet your needs.


What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids belong to the group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are three main groups of fatty acids, whereby the quality is decisive.

  • Saturated fatty acids, which our body can produce itself. They are generally unfavourable for our health and are mainly found in animal foods, high-fat sweets or in coconut or palm oil. Our body can produce saturated fats itself.
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids are mainly in plant foods from olive oil and rapeseed oil. According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), they have a favourable effect on cholesterol levels and can be produced by the body itself.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids are particularly important for health. This group also includes the essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which cannot be formed by our body itself. It is also important to have the right ratio of about 1 : 3 to 1 : 5 between omega-3 and omega-6. The diet in German-speaking countries often contains too much omega-6 fatty acids, which can promote inflammation, among other things.

Omega-3 fatty acids are again divided into three types:

  • Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which are mainly found in vegetable fats from Hemp Seedsflaxseed and nuts. The human body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA.
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which is found in algae, marine fish and seafood.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is also found in algae, marine fish and seafood.

Why are omega-3 fatty acids important for health?

Omega-3 fatty acids are among the best researched nutrients. They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and have a significant influence on their function. Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • form the starting point for the production of hormones,
  • influence the contraction and relaxation of the arterial walls,
  • regulate inflammation,
  • play a role in the regulation of blood clotting,
  • influence genetic functions.

In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are important for the permeability of the cell membranes and thus play an important role. essential role in nutrient uptake. Omega-3 fatty acids can increase the efficiency of our cells and thus:

  • improve the energy supply of the cells,
  • speed up the transport of information,
  • optimise the supply to the cells.

In particular, the cell membranes of some tissues such as Brain, heart muscle and retina and Sperm have become a Enriched with a high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids.

The top 10 benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

As already explained, omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in our body. In the following, we have summarised the 10 most important benefits with the help of scientific studies.

1. omega-3 for healthy eyes

Omega-3 fatty acids are a major component of the retina. The fats in the retina consist of up to 30% omega-3 fatty acids and are important for vision (1).
In addition, an adequate intake of omega-3 reduces the risk of developing one of the most common eye diseases in the western world: macular degeneration. This can lead to severe visual impairment and even blindness (2).

2. omega-3 fats for depression and anxiety

Studies indicate that people who regularly consume omega-3 fatty acids are less likely to be depressed (3, 4). In addition, the symptoms of people with anxiety and depression improve when they also consume omega-3 (5, 6, 7).

3. omega-3 fatty acids can regulate and fight inflammation.

Inflammation is our body's natural response to infection and injury. That is why they are important for our health.
However, it can happen that chronic inflammations form in the body. This is especially the case if they persist without infection or injury.

Chronic inflammation can contribute to the most common diseases in the western world (8). Omega-3 fatty acids help human cells directly and indirectly regulate inflammation (9).

4. omega-3 for health in pregnancy and early childhood

The health of children during pregnancy and breastfeeding can be improved by omega-3 fatty acids. An adequate intake of omega-3 is associated with: (10, 11, 12):

  • higher intelligence
  • better communication and social skills
  • fewer behavioural disorders such as ADHD and autism
  • reduced developmental delay

5. omega-3 can improve sleep

Adequate and good sleep is essential for our health. According to studies, sleep problems are linked to many diseases. These include (13):

  • Obesity in children and adults
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure
  • Alcoholism
  • Depression and anxiety

Low omega-3 levels in the body are also associated with low melatonin levels. As an important sleep hormone, melatonin has an important function in falling asleep, improves sleep quality and regulates, among other things, the day-night rhythm (14).

6. omega-3 is good for your skin

Omega-3 fatty acids are components of our skin, especially the cell membranes in our skin. A healthy cell membrane leads to soft, supple and wrinkle-free skin.

Sufficient omega-3 fatty acids help the skin regulate oil production and hydration. Furthermore, the premature ageing of the skin is prevented and the risk of developing acne is reduced (15, 16).

7. omega-3 for a healthy brain and against mental decline and Alzheimer's.

The decline in brain function is an inevitable consequence of ageing. Studies confirm that there is a link between a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and an adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, omega-3 can counteract the decline of brain functions such as dementia in old age (17, 18). Omega-3 can also have a positive effect on the first symptoms of Alzheimer's (19).

8. omega-3 can prevent cancer

Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the western world. Omega-3 fatty acids have long been associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers.

Studies show that people who consume a lot of omega-3 fatty acids have up to 55% lower risk of bowel cancer (20, 21).
In addition, omega-3 consumption is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women (22, 23).

9. omega-3 fatty acids for healthy bones and joints

Osteoporosis and arthritis are among the most common diseases of the human skeleton.
According to studies, omega-3 fatty acids can improve the strength of bones. Omega-3 is said to increase the amount of calcium in the bones, which should lead to a reduced risk of osteoporosis (24, 25).

Omega-3 fatty acids can also be used to treat arthritis. Patients who take additional omega-3 report reduced joint pain and more strength in their hands (26, 27).

10. omega-3 fatty acids to relieve menstrual pain

Menstrual pain occurs in the lower abdomen and pelvis and often radiates to the lower back and thighs, significantly affecting quality of life.

According to studies, women who consume a lot of omega-3 have milder menstrual pain (28, 29). One study even found that the targeted intake of omega-3 fatty acids during menstruation is more effective than ibuprofen (30).

How do I cover my omega-3 needs?

Omega-3 daily requirement of an adult

The individual need for omega-3 fatty acids varies according to age, condition and activity. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) gives 0.5 % of the daily energy intake as a guideline.

  • This means that approximately 1.3 g daily of omega-3 fatty acids is the recommendation, whereby this refers to ALA.
  • Alternatively, the recommendation for EPA and DHA is at a total of 250 - 300 mg daily.

The daily requirement of ALA is much higher because the body first has to convert it into EPA and DHA. The conversion ratio is up to 30% and depends on whether the body is supplied with sufficient nutrients, especially magnesium, zinc and B vitamins (31).

The requirement values are also based on estimated values, with many of the above-mentioned studies having been conducted with multiples of the recommended amount. In particular with Competitive athletes the demand is particularly high and is about four times as high, i.e. around 5 g ALA or 1.2 g DHA + EPA daily (32).

Food to meet the daily omega-3 requirement

A number of food and dietary supplements help you to meet your daily omega-3 requirements:

  • ALA in seeds, such as flaxseed, Hemp Seeds, rapeseed and walnuts,
  • DHA and EPA in microalgae and algae oil,
  • DHA and EPA in marine fish that feed directly or indirectly on microalgae. Fish oil capsules are also made from this.
Omega 3 Featured image 3
Even a small tablespoon of hemp oil covers the daily requirement of Omega-3

What makes hemp the optimal omega-3 supplier

There are several reasons for covering your omega-3 fatty acid requirements with hemp seeds.

  1. Hemp seeds have a very high content of Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the optimal ratio of about 1 : 3 on. Hardly any other food supplies you so efficiently with essential fatty acids.
  2. Hemp seeds contain exactly the nutrients which improve the utilisation of omega-3 fatty acids. These include above all magnesium, zinc and the vitamins B6 and biotin (33).
  3. In addition, hemp is rich in vitamin E. As a natural antioxidant, vitamin E has a positive effect on the body, longevity and the quality of omega-3 in food.
  4. Organic hemp seeds from the right (regional) source are free of pollutants and grow without fertilisers and sprays. With the increasing heavy metal pollution in the world's oceans, the content of organic mercury and other toxins in fish, seafood and seaweed is also increasing.
  5. In addition, hemp seeds are one of the most sustainable sources of omega-3. Hemp binds CO2 and improves the quality of air and soil. At the same time, overfishing of the oceans endangers the largest habitat on our planet.

Snowboard pro Julian Lüftner on omega-3 in hemp

Julian Lüftner"Since I have regularly incorporated hemp products into my diet, my omega-3 levels in the blood are always in the green zone, despite top-class sport. In my everyday life, I use hemp oil to refine dishes, I add hemp seeds to muesli and smoothies or anywhere else that tastes good to me. Due to the versatile possibilities and the wide range of products, I eat deliciously and thus usually automatically cover my daily needs."

Covering omega-3 requirements with hemp is child's play

Even with manageable amounts of hemp foods, you can cover your needs for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids completely naturally:


Frequently cited sources are listed here and otherwise only linked in the respective passages.

German Society for Nutrition (DGE)
Havard School of Public Healh
Surette, 2008: The science behind dietary omega-3 fatty acids
Consumer advice centre