A deficiency of fatty acids can cause a lot more harm to you than what you would think.
Below I provide you with 10 signs and symptoms of the deficiencies.
If you are amongst the people with any of the symptoms, then I urge to consume more Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Why do you need to avoid a deficiency of fatty acids?
I have been a big fan of fatty acid for a long time.
In fact, I am such a fan that I try to eat omega 3 fatty acid twice a week and include it in my diet as a must.
This is what I would call a definite YES in my food.
Omega-3 fatty acids have many different names such as n-3 fatty acids.
In essence, “polyunsaturated” fatty acids are highly important for our overall health.
To be scientifically precise, there are three types of omega-3 fatty acids.
The first type is called Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) (1). It is mainly found in plant oils.
The second type is called EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA) (2).
And the third type is the DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA) (3).
EPA and DHA are commonly found in marine oils.
Why ingesting fatty-acids?
Probably the most critical point is our brain function.
Simply put, Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to a good brain function.
Having a good brain function means that you’ll have a normal growth and development.
Wouldn’t you like this for your children?
The problem is that our bodies are not able to produce fatty acids.
So that’s why you need to ingest Omega-3 acids.
There is no other alternative.
As such, my first advice is to start eating food that contains these in good quantities to enjoy their health benefits.
Where can I find these acids?
You can find them in a number of food and supplements (see section supplements for more information where to get these).
As you know me, I prefer to get omega-3 fatty acids from foods.
Supplements would be the last resource.
You can eat fish that have high DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids. You should eat these 2 or 3 times a week.
The fish that have full of DHA and EPA are bluefish, wild salmon, herring, anchovies, mackerel, sardines, and tuna.
I would probably not eat too much tuna as this fish is currently associated with mercury contamination.
You can also find omega-3 fatty acid ALA nuts and oil.
I would suggest walnuts, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, but not canola oil. Please see my article about grape oil vs canola oil. You’ll understand why.
As I said, a deficiency of fatty acids can cause drastic health problems.
Below I summarise the 10 most common symptoms of essential fatty acids deficiency. If you have any of these symptoms, then you definitely need more omega-3 fatty acids.
1. A deficiency of fatty acids can cause heart problems
Omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role in fighting cardiovascular disease.
Scientists have long agreed that we should all eat a diet low in saturated fat.
In fact, scientists agree that a diet rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids) do dramatically reduce heart disease.
Let us look at this a little bit closer.
The fatty-acids do reduce risk factors for the following heart disease:
The fatty acid does so by slowing and reducing the development of plaque and blood clots.
Both of these are responsible for clog arteries. I can tell you that a friend of mine has been a victim of a clogged artery and he died a couple days later.
So please take measures now. Do not wait.
Increasing ingestion of Omega-3 food is so important.
Look at it this way. It reduces the risk of heart attacks.
It also reduces the risks of strokes and some abnormal heart rhythms.
And that is true for all of us including people who are at a higher risk and suffering from known heart disease.
You may find this statement a little weird, but it is factual and true. So take notice.
Omega-3 fatty acids help increase the level of good cholesterol known as High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL). Yes, you read right.
This fatty acid increases your cholesterol levels. But the type of cholesterol is a good one. So it allows you to feel better.
It also reduces the level of bad cholesterol also know as Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) in your body. In essence, HDL may be seen as a savior when compared to LDL.
What scientists have to say about essential fatty acid deficiency symptoms?
Recently, a team at the prestigious Oxford University produced a really good research report on HDL.
They showed that fish based fatty acids oil has some fantastic anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, what is memorable is that the properties can reverse plenty of bad cardiovascular conditions.
What I found astonishing is that researchers clearly demonstrated an improvement in heart’s functioning from individuals who had a heart attack.
These people ingested large doses of fish oil for six months following a major heart attack.
So think about this a minute. If you are at risk of a heart attack, then by just eating oily fish or ingesting high quantities of supplements/fish oil, you should reduce this risk dramatically.
How is that for just some fish eating? Please take action now and start absorbing omega-3 fatty acid to reduce your heart problems.
2. Joint pain an inflammation
I already touch based on inflammation in the previous point.
But I want to go even further.
Essential fatty acids deficiency in your body can be the direct cause of inflammation in your joints.
And this can turn into rheumatoid arthritis. You really do not want to have this. I can tell you, my grandma has it and she is in constant pain.
The good news is that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties.
These properties do reduce pain and internal inflammation in the body.
Furthermore, the acids ease your joints to make them a little more flexible so you may not need medication.
These properties have been known for quite a while.
In fact, one of my favorite studies was published in 2006 in the Surgical Neurology reports.
The study shows that omega-3 fish oil supplements work in the same way as NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). (4)
The oil reduces arthritic pain and obviously, it is a much safer alternative to NSAIDs drugs (no side effect apart from the fact that you may want more).
Eight years later, another study was published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The study shows that borage seed oil, which is ultra rich in Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) and fish oil which is rich in both EPA and DHA does help to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
It reduces the inflammation and reduces the pain with time. Great stuff if you ask me.
3. A deficiency of fatty acids can cause poor mental performance
This is yet another bad aspect of essential fatty acids deficiency symptoms.
Experts are clear that Omega-3s must be part of your food nutrition mix to increase your memory and mental performance.
Think about it. We all heard our parents one day or another telling us to eat fish if we want to become very intelligent.
Though I would not go as far as that eating fish will definitely make you more intelligent, I would say that by eating fatty acid rich fish, you’ll improve your memory and overall mental performance.
What the Omega-3s do is support the building of new cell membranes in your brain. And these are so important for your brain health. So you really do not want to miss out on that.
My personal advice is to absorb a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids (on food or supplement).
This is critically important if you want to end up with an efficient brain function.
In fact, scientists have shown that low intake may lead to attention-deficit (this is true for many and even children at school – does that ring the bell?).
What can omega-3 do to your children and your health?
It can also lead to what is called as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (5) and as such pretty poor academic performance.
There have been several studies about ADHD. One of them was published in 2010 in Nutrients reports. The study illustrates that low intake levels of omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to ADHD.
The same study further develops that such a low level of fatty-acids intake lead to developmental and other mental health issues.
In 2011, another study published in Nutrients reports described that DHA has a fairly positive role in neurodevelopment.
It also showed that fatty-acids prevent neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. This is something really important for adults.
The following year, in 2012, the Clinical Nutrition Experimental report showed DHA is responsible for an improve literacy in children with ADHD.
The study described that children with ADHD and ingesting omega-3 oil improved their behavior.
All in all, with the above positive effects on children and adults, I find it difficult to believe that one would not want to buy some salmon or other fish.
And if you feel it is a little bit expensive, then get canned salmon. It is cheap and you can cook very nice meals with these.
4. Depressions are symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency
Depression is becoming a very common disorder (it is now treated almost like a disease).
The good news is that Omega-3 fatty acids can help in preventing such disorder.
Both the EPA and DHA are very effective in preventing and helping people with depression.
The lower the level of fatty acids in your body, the higher the risk of depression.
The 2009 CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics study describes that omega-3 fatty acids are more effective than placebos for depression.
This study investigated both adults and children. They focused on bipolar depression.
In addition to this, the 2014 study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity did summarise the role of omega-3s in fighting psychiatric diseases.
It showed that absorbing a good quantity of this healthy fat can maintain and increase your brain structures.
In fact, it showed that it can even preserve your brain function as well as prevent and/or decrease some inflammatory issues that are associated with a depression.
We have only seen four of the symptoms and sign of fat-acid deficiency and I am sure that you are by now feeling the need for.
I personally need it after writing the above points. Nevertheless, this is not it.
Below are many more points that I want you to take on board and share with friend and family.
5. Weight gain due to lack of Omega-3
This is something that I get really disturbed about.
And the solution is so simple, yet people are still denying it.
The lowe your diet in omega-3 fatty acids is, the more difficult it is for your body to lose weight.
Why don’t we all pause for a second?
I want to say it again. The solution is simple. Ingest Omega-3 and your body ability to lose weight will increase.
How difficult is this? You eat and you lose weight. Hurrah.
And to make it even better, if you wish to lose weight even faster, you just need to eat a lot of omega-3 fatty acids and at the same time reduce your carbohydrate intake.
What you are doing here is just telling your body to access directly to your stored fat and burn that excess. You will not even feel hungry.
In addition to the above, eating fatty acids will promote a higher resting metabolic rate.
It will then speed up your body cell activity leading to a better burn of excess calories.
When you eat omega-3 related food, these will suppress your appetite.
The healthy fat will have a direct effect on your leptin levels which is a hormone that directly affects your appetite.
In 2007, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition described that a combination of fish oil supplements can reduce body fat.
In the same article, ingesting supplements and regular exercise can reduce body fat even further and faster.
Doing both of these things, ingesting supplements and exercising will, in turn, improve your heart and metabolic health.
6. Unusual cold hands and feet
I am a woman and I can tell you that I get cold hands and cold feet too.
But I do not get these often.
However, I have friends that have cold hand and feet in summer months where it is very warm outside.
This is definitely not right.
So I advise them that they may have omega-3 fatty acid deficiency.
Obviously, I get the usual denial. But when I explain the facts and the solution, then I get confronted with a positive response.
A couple of weeks later, all my friends, one after the other, who I advised call me and say that they were victims of this deficiency.
They listened and got to eat fish and added supplements to their diet. And no more cold feet neither hands.
If you feel cold all the time, your body may lack the important omega-3 fatty acids.
I need to add that I told them to increase their intake of magnesium and iron.
These are also the cause of feeling cold all the time. Note that they are other factors that can lead to this issue.
7. Lacking omega-3 lead to low energy level
A deficiency in fatty acids can cause low body energy level.
This is true even if you are getting some good and sound sleep and rest.
But you may lack intake of fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are the most prominent healthy fats that your body needs.
Your body needs this fat in order to properly function, whether it is for proper growth and development or for an optimal brain function.
What you really need to know is that fatty acids are the most concentrated and the best source of energy for your body.
That’s why when you ingest them, you do not feel hungry for hours and lose weight (see previous point 6).
Another important point you need to know about. Your brain is mainly composed of fatty acids.
So if you think about it, if you do not nourish your brain with fatty acids, then you are definitely going to miss out on energy levels.
And do not forget, your body DOES NOT naturally produce these fats.
Let’s recap a bit
To provide you a mental picture, if you do not eat fatty acids, then you’ll end up with physical as well as mental fatigue.
To close up this point, I want to tell you that there is some good news for you if you eat food with omega-3 fatty acids.
Especially if you eat the food along with carbohydrates.
The ingested omega-3 fats slow the digestion of carbohydrates.
In other words, it makes your digestion process pretty slow that your body has time to do other important things.
For instance, the slow digestion increases your insulin sensitivity.
Therefore, it reduces the sugar crash that you are experiencing after eating simple carbohydrates.
For instance when eating white bread or pasta.
8. A deficiency of fatty acids can cause vision issues
This is something that is quite important.
A lot of people thinks that failing eyesight or other eye problems are signs of aging.
They feel this is a normal process and it is in our genes.
Basically, they just accept this issue.
They just go to see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).
Depending on their eye problem, they get medicine or a pair of glasses.
But the real fact is that we do not feed our bodies with the appropriate food.
Everything in our bodies needs to be feed with the appropriate food to be functioning to its optimal characteristics.
And the fatty acids are full of fat molecules that keep your eyes healthy.
These molecules are so good for our eyes that they even support proper drainage of intraocular fluid.
In effect, this dramatically reduces the risk of high eye pressure and glaucoma.
On the other hand, lack of omega-3 intake does lead to dry eye syndrome.
What scientists have to say about fatty acids and your vision?
In 2009, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article.
To date, the article is still valid.
It shows that individuals that eat omega-3s regularly and in good quantities have a 30% less risk to develop macular degeneration.
Though the study was performed a long time ago, its findings are so critical to our eye health that they are still valid.
There is more to omega-3 and your eyesight.
Look, Glaucoma is a huge cause of vision impairment in the USA.
But now Glaucoma is propagating fast around the world due to “bad quality food”.
In fact, the 2011 International Journal of Ophthalmology reported that cod liver oil can help treat glaucoma.
Note that cod live is full of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Also, note that I took a lot of this oil when I was a child.
What is my personal experience with cod oil?
I did not like the taste of it when I was a child (in fact I hated it), but now I thank my granddad for being so patient with me at the time.
He gave me one spoon to ingest every day at lunchtime for years.
Do not get me wrong. I loved my granddad to bits.
But every lunchtime I hated him for 10 minutes.
He came, sat and ate with me.
Then, he said very calmly, it is time for our sweet.
And for him, a sweet was drinking a spoon full of cod liver oil.
Even now I hate the taste of this oil.
But I want to thank my granddad for being so patient as I have full eyesight and I am not getting any younger.
Everyone around me has glasses, but me.
There is something that is different between me and them.
I eat healthily and I still ingest cod oil.
A 2013 report by the International Journal of Ophthalmology provides an important conclusion.
It shows that you can enhance your dry eye syndrome just by absorbing omega-3 fatty acids.
And it also concludes that people with conditions such as blepharitis and meibomian gland disease are the ones that can benefit the most from fatty acids.
To end this section, let me tell you about a recent 2014 study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.
The study clearly identified that if you increase your oily fish and seafood intake, it simply lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
How good is that? I leave you with that thought and move on to your immune system.
9. Low immune system
If you are prone to common colds, infections and other health problems, then you may be a victim of low ingest of omega 3s.
I think by now you got the point.
If you ingest adequate amounts of fatty acids, you’ll end up boosting your defense immune system.
The way it works is quite clever.
You already have an immune system.
But the fact that you ingest omega-3s means that you give food (nutrients) to your immune cells.
Being properly fed, the immune cells will now get stronger and will protect you better.
In essence, these will be enhanced by the DHA and EPA fatty acids, and hence will become what I personally call super-defensive-cells.
When you look at it even closer, you’ll see that fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K need these fatty acids.
They desperately need omega-3s so that your body has a conduit or a catalyst to absorb and store these vitamins.
Without these healthy fats, your body will simply not be able to absorb the vitamins.
This will leave you being even weaker and more prone to sickness.
Scientist findings on immune system
The 2006 Annual Review of Nutrition analyzed several studies.
This results showed that fatty acids have outstanding anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities.
This is true for a large number of diseases ranging from autoimmunity, arthritis, and infection.
In 2012, the Chemico-Biological Interactions described that omega-3 fatty acids enhance human body internal immune response.
The healthy fats also lower the risk of vascular and infectious type diseases.
10. Low level of omega-3 leads to dry skin
As shown in the above picture, you can choose to be the wrinkle face person or the other one.
It is a personal choice. I know what I’d go for.
Anyway, aging wrinkles (like I call it) can be a sign of an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency.
In fact, your face or arms can be dry, itchy or you simply can have a flaky skin.
You need fatty acids to feed your oil-producing glands.
In turn, the glands will be able to work and produce your skin’s natural moisturizers.
By doing so, you’ll have healthy skin cell membranes.
And as a bonus, you’ll produce plenty of lipids.
What you need to remember is that lipids help stop water from escaping through your skin.
They will, therefore, keep your skin hydrated, which will lead to a nice and smooth feeling.
I do not like to be too presumptuous, but omega-3 can even prevent wrinkles and help your body fight against the aging process.
Where to find Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
You can find Omega-3 fatty acids in a number of natural fish. In fact, Salmon is probably one of the best sources of Omega-3 you could ever hope for.
You may think that salmon is expensive and you may not be able to afford it.
The reality is the opposite. If you cannot afford fresh salmon, there are alternatives.
One such alternative is to use canned salmon. These are full of omega-3 that is good for your health.
I have put together many different canned salmon recipes that you can find on Omigy.
On the other hand, if you do not like fish, you can always use supplements. Below is one of those supplements that you can use to increase your level of Omega-3 fatty acid.
Just click on the picture and you’ll be able to access to this supplement. You’ll find other supplements highlighted on the same page.
In this article, I have tried to summarize the most common signs and symptoms associated with omega 3 essential fatty acid deficiency.
In fact, a deficiency of fatty acids can cause a lot of harm to your health.
That’s why I insisted to provide you with the 10 symptoms that are most common around the world.
You can avoid a heart attack, improve your mental health, reduce the risk of depression, etc. What else do you want?
Please do not undermine these symptoms as you may end up in serious health trouble.
If you have any of these essential fatty acid deficiency symptoms, please increase your intake of Omega-3.
It is so easy to address this. You just need to eat more salmon fish or even take supplements.
I have even produced a lot of articles about delicious canned salmon cakes, paleo salmon fish cakes, salmon sandwich etc.
So you have no excuse. Please take action and make sure you do not get depressed, have low energy levels or worse increase your weight.
Back to you
I hope you enjoyed the post. Please do not forget to take action and like the post and eat more salmon fish and Omega-3 fatty acids supplements.
Share it with your friends and families and please leave a comment below.
See you soon in another Omigy post.