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Signs and Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency

Signs and Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency

It is known that we should take omega 3 fatty acids as they are important for our system and our bodies can't produce them.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). The main and most important omega 3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and their essential precursor alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

And as a quick refresher, Omega 3 fatty acids supports skin, eye, brain, and immune health.

If our bodies don't get enough omega 3 fats, we will have omega 3 deficiency. This will put you at a risk of harmful effects.

According to some preliminary research, Let us discuss 5 possible signs and symptoms of omega 3 deficiency.


Symptoms and signs of omega 3 deficiency

1. Skin irritation, dryness and acne

Omega-3 fats improve skin barriers, preventing moisture loss and protecting it from irritants, making it less rough and more resistant to sunburn and other irritants.

If our body don't get enough omega-3 fats, our skin will be dry and sensitive or even unusual increase in acne.

According to some studies, taking omega-3 supplements can help with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

2. Depression

In our brain, omega 3 fatty acids are essential component and have neuroprotective and anti inflammatory actions.

Many studies proved that there is a relation between low omega 3 levels and risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and bipolar disorders.

Also low omega 3 is associated with depression incidence and many studies found that taking omega 3 supplements improve depression symptoms especially supplements that contain at least 60% EPA.

3. Dry eyes

Omega-3 fatty acids maintains eye moisture and probably even tear production.

According to some studies, If you take omega 3 supplements, you may experience less tear evaporation, more tear production and then less eye dryness. For this reason, there are many healthcare providors who prescribe omega 3 supplements to relieve dry eye syndrome.

4. Joint pain and stiffness

According to some studies, if you are taking omega 3 supplements, you will experience improvement in joint pain and grip strength.

Also some studies suggests that taking omega 3 supplements may improve rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis

5. Hair changes as brittle/thinning hair

Omega-3 fatty acids retain moisture in the skin.

Taking omega 3 supplements may reduce hair loss, increase hair density and also hair quality.

How to know that you have an omega-3 deficiency?

No standard test to check omega 3 deficiency, but there are ways, if necessary to know including:


  • Taking blood sample and analyzing omega 3 levels in the blood fats or blood plasma, which are expressed as a percentage of total phospholipid fatty acids by weight.

  • To know long term dietary intake of omega 3, ask for analyzing fatty acid composition of red blood cells


Still, it’s important to know that the amount of fatty acids in the blood depends on what you ate last and when so you must be fast overnight before blood sample taking.

How to improve omega-3 levels

  1. You should - at least - eat twice weekly omega 3 rich foods like almon, herring, trout, mackerel, sea bass, and sardines or take omega 3 supplements.
  2. Don't depend on ALA rich foods like chia seeds, plant oils, flax seeds, walnuts and other plant food, as conversion of ALA into DHA and EPA is very slow and not enough and if you are vegan or vegetarian you can take omega 3 supplements from algae instead of seafood.


If you don't consume enough dietary sources of omega 3 or don't take omega 3 supplements, you will have omega 3 deficiency as you body doesn't have enough omega 3 and your body can't produce it.

According to some preliminary studies, Omega 3 deficiency may lead to or worsen dry and irritated skin, inflammation, hair loss and thining, depression, dry eyes, and joint pain or stiffness.

If you want to boost your omega 3 levels, you should get from your diet or omega 3 supplements.


Signs and Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency

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