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Essential Fatty Acids for Healthy Skin

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Essential Fatty Acids for Healthy Skin

Essential fatty acids might be best known for their role in promoting brain development and function or promoting cardiovascular health, but they are also important for healthy skin.

Essential fatty acids might be best known for their role in promoting brain development and function or promoting cardiovascular health, but they are also important for healthy skin.

What are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids?

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Vital for human health, these fatty acids aren’t made by the body, so they must be obtained through food or supplements.

Do I need to increase my intake of both?

A healthy diet contains a balance of both omega-3s and omega-6s. However, the typical North American diet tends to contain 14 to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. This dietary imbalance may promote harmful inflammation in the body.

Sources of omega-3

A high quality source of omega-3s is the fat of cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel. Canada’s food guide recommends consuming two servings of fish every week. Other omega-3 sources include flax, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans; however, plant-based sources of omega-3 need to be converted in the body so it may not be as easy to obtain sufficient levels from these sources alone.

An easy and convenient way to increase your intake of omega-3 is to add a high quality fish oil supplement to your daily routine.

Essential fatty acids and psoriasis

Psoriasis is characterized by a reddish, scaly rash that can appear on the surface of the skin all over the body.

Some research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can help to treat psoriasis. For instance, one study found that people with psoriasis who took omega-3s along with prescription medications had more improvements than those who took the medications alone.

Essential fatty acids and eczema

Eczema is a group of chronic skin conditions that includes atopic dermatitis and causes dry, itchy inflammation of the skin.

Omega-3 supplementation may also provide relief for eczema sufferers. One study found reduced eczema symptoms in eczema sufferers after 12 weeks of omega-3 supplementation. Researchers think that fish oil helps reduce leukotriene B4, an inflammatory substance that plays a role in eczema.

Consult a health care practitioner

Those who have a tendency to bruise easily, have a bleeding disorder, or take blood thinning medications should exercise caution when supplementing with omega-3s. This is because high doses of omega-3 fatty acids can increase the risk of bleeding. Omega-3s can even increase the risk of bleeding in people without a history of bleeding disorders.

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