Rhiannon Lambert: How Omega-3 Benefits Your Brain

What are Omegas?

Omegas seem to be becoming increasingly more talked about in the nutrition world, and we are here for it. Omegas, (namely Omega-3 and Omega-6) are types of essential fatty acids, known as polyunsaturated fats necessary that the body requires for various important bodily functions. The term ‘essential’ means these fats cannot be made within the body and therefore it is incredibly important that the diet provides the right balance of these. These fats play a crucial role in maintaining cell structure, supporting cardiovascular health, and aiding in brain function and therefore their inclusion in the diet is critical.


What is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids consist of three primary types: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is derived from plant-based foods, predominantly found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts, which is converted into EPA and DHA in the human body through a series of reactions. However, it's important to note that this conversion process is relatively inefficient, and only a small percentage (approximately 5%) of ALA is converted into EPA and DHA (1), therefore indicating the importance of including EPA and DHA in the diet. Nonetheless, ALA is understood to have potent antioxidant properties in the body, which is known to slow the progression of metabolic syndrome (including diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke (2).

EPA and DHA are more efficiently obtained directly from marine sources such as oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna. These fish are particularly rich in EPA and DHA, providing the body with these forms of Omega-3 directly. For those following a plant-based diet, algae-based supplements can offer a direct source of EPA and DHA, bypassing the limitations of relying solely on ALA conversion from plant-based foods.


What Foods Is Omega-3 Found In?

EPA and DHA are more efficiently obtained directly from marine sources such as oily fish like:

●       Salmon

●       Mackerel

●       Sardines

●       Albacore tuna


These fish are particularly rich in EPA and DHA, providing the body with these forms of omega-3 directly. While research suggests that those following a plant-based diet can consume algae-based supplements and receive a direct source of EPA and DHA, further research has shown that obtaining Omega-3 fatty acids from fish is more effective at increasing levels in your body than relying on fish oil capsules as supplements (3).


The Benefits of Choosing Wild Alaska Salmon

When it comes to choosing fish, Wild Alaska Salmon stands out for its diverse and potentially superior nutritional profile compared to its farm-raised counterpart. Wild Alaska Salmon also boasts elevated levels of marine omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) (4). The nutritional benefits of choosing Wild Alaska Salmon doesn’t stop there, it also provides a complete array of essential amino acids – all of which are easily absorbed by the body, aiding the repair and maintenance of muscles.


Why is Omega-3 so important for our health?

There are a large number of known benefits that the consumption of Omega-3 (DHA and EPA) derived from fish can have on the body.

Consumption of Omega-3 from fish has been recommended by the American Heart Association for the past 20 years as the scientific research behind its reduction in risk of cardiovascular events is so robust. Omega-3 found in fish-derived products has been found to:

●       Lower one’s chance of having a first heart attack by slowing the development of atherosclerosis (clogged blood vessels) and improving overall heart function, reducing the likelihood of a first heart attack.

●       Reduce the chance of sudden death as Omega-3s contribute to stable heartbeats which makes it more challenging for rapid and uncontrolled rhythms to occur which could lead to sudden cardiac death.

●       Reduce the risk of stroke as regular consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish is associated with a lower risk of developing strokes, particularly those caused by blood clots.

●       Reduce inflammation in blood vessels which therefore lowers the risk of heart failure.

●       Significantly lower blood triglyceride (fat) levels, reducing the risk of heart attacks, especially in individuals with high triglyceride levels associated with conditions like type 2 diabetes.

●       Improve "good" cholesterol (HDL) levels which aids in removing harmful cholesterol from blood vessels and lowers the risk of heart failure.


Why is Omega-3 So Important For Our Brain Health?

But more recent developments in an ever growing area of research is understanding the benefits of Omega-3 consumption on the brain; and not just brain health itself, but also mental and emotional well-being.

●       Omega-3s, particularly DHA, are critical components of the membranes of, contributing to the structure and fluidity of brain cells.

●       DHA is vital for the development of the foetal brain during pregnancy and the early years of life, influencing the child’s cognitive function, memory, and attention.

●       Omega-3s modulate the production and function of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in the brain, impacting mood regulation, cognitive processes, and emotional well-being.

●       Omega-3s support the formation of new neurons (neurogenesis) and the creation of synapses (synaptogenesis), the place where neurons connect and communicate with each other. These processes are crucial for learning, memory, and overall cognitive function.

●       Persistent chronic inflammation is associated with the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Omega-3s hold anti-inflammatory properties and research is starting to emerge suggesting that reducing the risk of conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

●       Regular omega-3 consumption has been associated with better cognitive function in ageing individuals, potentially lowering the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

●       Attention and Concentration: Omega-3s, especially DHA, may support attention and concentration, making them important for tasks that require focus and mental clarity.

●       Depression and Anxiety: Some studies suggest that omega-3 supplementation may have a positive impact on mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, potentially due to their role in neurotransmitter regulation.

●       ADHD Support: Omega-3 supplementation has been explored as a complementary approach in the management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with some studies indicating potential benefits.

●       Protection Against Oxidative Stress: Omega-3s possess antioxidant properties, helping protect brain cells from oxidative stress and supporting overall brain health.

●       Improved Cognitive Performance: Regular intake of omega-3s has been associated with improved cognitive performance, including memory and problem-solving skills.

●       Reduced Risk of Cognitive Decline: Long-term consumption of omega-3-rich foods has been linked to a lower risk of cognitive decline in older adults.

●       Enhanced Learning Abilities: Omega-3s may positively influence learning abilities, making them important for academic and intellectual pursuits.

●       Optimised Brain Communication: DHA, in particular, is involved in the development and function of synapses, facilitating efficient communication between brain cells.

●       Neuroprotective Properties: Omega-3s may have neuroprotective effects, potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases and supporting overall brain resilience.

●       Improved Sleep: Some studies suggest that omega-3 supplementation may contribute to improved sleep quality, indirectly benefiting cognitive function.

●       Mood Stabilisation: Omega-3s may play a role in stabilising mood and reducing the severity of mood swings.

●       Brain Injury Recovery: Omega-3s have been studied for their potential role in supporting recovery from traumatic brain injuries and minimising cognitive impairment.

●       Regulation of Brain Blood Flow: Omega-3s contribute to maintaining optimal blood flow to the brain, supporting nutrient and oxygen delivery.

●       Potential Role in Psychiatric Disorders: Emerging research explores the role of omega-3s in various psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.


The significance of Omega-3 fatty acids, encompassing ALA, EPA, and DHA, extends far beyond a mere dietary consideration. The health benefits associated with Omega-3, especially from fish-derived products, are well-established, ranging from cardiovascular well-being to cognitive function. Notably, the impact on brain health, encompassing neurodevelopment, neurotransmitter modulation, and neuroprotective effects, underscores the importance of Omega-3 in promoting mental and emotional well-being. As ongoing research continues to unveil the multifaceted advantages of Omega-3, integrating a balanced and varied diet remains a cornerstone for overall health, emphasising the inclusion of these essential fatty acids through marine sources for the well-being of both body and mind.





  1. Are all n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids created equal? - PMC
  2. Alpha-Lipoic Acid - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf
  3. Comparison of the effect of omega-3 supplements and fresh fish on lipid profile: a randomized, open-labeled trial - PMC
  4. Investigation of the nutritional composition of different types of salmon available to Canadian consumers - ScienceDirect
  5. Do Omega-3/6 Fatty Acids Have a Therapeutic Role in Children and Young People with ADHD? - PMC
  6. Omega-3 fatty acids for mood disorders - Harvard Health
  7. Omega-3 fatty acids and mental health - ScienceDirect
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9641984/
  9. Study links omega-3s to improved brain structure, cognition at midlife - UT Health San Antonio