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Fatty15 is 3X better than omega-3. Read the science.

Omega-3 Benefits, Side Effects, and a Better Alternative

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights

HIGHLIGHTS

Many people take omega-3 supplements expecting to see beneficial effects relating to their heart health, mental health, and brain health. 

Unfortunately, recent evidence suggests that omega-3 fish oil supplements may not be as beneficial as we once thought.

Recent studies have shown, however, that another essential fatty acid called C15:0 outperforms omega-3 when it comes to supporting our heart, metabolic, brain, liver, and immune health. 

Sometimes, we find ourselves following a health trend without really understanding the potential effects. That might be the case when it comes to omega-3 supplements or fish oil supplements. 

In this blog, we’re going to discuss essential fatty acids in great detail. We’ll explore the benefits and potential side effects of omega-3 supplements and fill you in on the discovery of a new essential fatty acid.

What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids were discovered more than 90 years ago. They are polyunsaturated fatty acids, but only one of them (alpha-linolenic acid) is considered to be an essential fatty acid. 

Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that our bodies need to function properly and stay healthy but can’t produce naturally. That means that we have to get them through our diet or from supplementation. 

Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids. 

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA is found mainly in cold water, oily fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, swordfish, and tilefish.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DPA). This acid is found in fatty fish like salmon, shellfish, albacore tuna, and some algae. 
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This is the only plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. It’s found in flaxseed oil, soybeans, canola, and chia seeds. 

Surprisingly, only one omega-3 — ALA — is considered to be an essential fatty acid. So, why not create an ALA supplement? Well, our bodies simply don’t need more of it than what we get from food. We generally get enough ALA from regular food sources, and we typically don’t need supplementation to reach our daily requirements. 

Omega-3 Benefits

There are many different reasons why people take omega-3 fatty acid supplements. A sufficient intake of omega-3s has been associated with improved cardiovascular health, may help support a healthy pregnancy, maintain the circulatory system, and potentially help support mental health and feelings of wellness.

Here, we’ll cover the main potential benefits of omega-3 supplementation. 

Heart Health 

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death globally, and heart disease has been the leading cause of death among Americans for decades. 

Research has shown that populations that enjoy higher levels of fish consumption don’t experience as many risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It’s worth noting that the communities that experience lower risks of heart disease are eating higher levels of fish that contain omega-3s, rather than a fish oil supplement or doctor prescribed omega-3 supplement. 

When looking at fish oil supplements and prescription omega-3s, science supports that pure omega-3, a concentrated dose of EPA that’s only available via prescription, has been shown to improve cardiovascular health. 

There are a few ways that pure EPA can support your heart health: 

  • Triglycerides. Triglycerides are fatty lipids in your blood that the body stores as a source of energy. While high triglyceride levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, pure EPA supplements may help to promote healthier triglyceride levels. 
  • Blood pressure. High blood pressure levels are also associated with an increased risk of heart disease and severely damaged blood vessels. Pure EPA may help to lower blood pressure and maintain a healthier range. 
  • Good HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is important for helping to remove the “bad” LDL cholesterol from your blood. Pure EPA may help to increase the “good” HDL cholesterol, which collects excess cholesterol in your blood and takes it to the liver for disposal, further supporting your heart health. 

Fetal Development

DHA is incredibly important for developing eye and brain health. Some healthcare providers may offer medical advice recommending that women who are pregnant take an omega-3 dietary supplement to help support healthy fetal development. Because pregnant women should avoid eating fish that contain mercury, a supplement containing a high-quality, pure DHA may be the best way to ensure they’re safely getting enough omega-3s each day. 

Mood and Mental Health Disorders

Mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) significantly affect the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Additionally, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and age-related cognitive decline are becoming an increasing public health concern. One of the most often studied benefits of omega-3 has been its potential effect on these mood and neurodegenerative disorders

Omega-3s have been shown to support the life cycle of neurons within the brain and limit the damaging effects of oxidative stress and inflammation on cognitive functions. However, while there is clear evidence that higher levels of omega-3 can play a role in supporting mental health, more research is needed before any definitive conclusions can be made. 

Cancer

When you have a cancer diagnosis, your oncologist wants to prevent cancer cells from proliferating. Cell proliferation means cells are actively reproducing and making new cells. A higher proliferation rate means the cells are aggressively dividing more rapidly and the cancer is spreading much faster as a result. 

Populations that consume more omega-3s have been associated with fewer cancer occurrences, and research suggests that omega-3s may be a potential supportive treatment to people undergoing cancer treatment. However, more data is needed to make any firm recommendations.

Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s response to an irritant, whether a disease, illness, or injury. If you get a cut, your body responds by sending immune cells to the cut to heal it, and you might take an anti-inflammatory drug to decrease the pain. 

When inflammation is long-term, it can increase the risk of developing serious health conditions and diseases. Chronic, low-level inflammation happens when our body forgets to stop sending immune cells, and those cells begin attacking our own tissue. 

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects and may aid in lowering markers of inflammation. However, it’s worth noting that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved omega-3 supplements for the treatment of inflammation. 

ADHD

EPA has been studied as a possible solution for young children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. This may be because children with ADHD have been shown to have lower blood levels of omega-3s. Additionally, DHA has been shown to be important in normal brain development. 

However, it is important to note that these are early results, and omega-3s are not an approved treatment method for ADHD. 

Side Effects of Too Much Omega-3

Can there be too much of a good thing? Even when it comes to essential nutrients like omega-3s, the answer to this question is very often: yes.

Excessive consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can lead to several side effects, especially when taking an omega-3 supplement daily. 

Blood Issues

Omega-3 thins blood, which can cause side effects like low blood pressure and a higher risk of bleeding excessively. If you were to sustain an injury, then your body might have a more difficult time with blood clotting because of the side effects of thinner blood. As a result, even a minor injury could result in major internal damage.

Rancidity

Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids contain double bonds, creating bending points that cause the molecules to become weak and flimsy. This makes the molecules susceptible to oxidation. 

Oxidation creates rancidity, the same way that cooking oil that has been on your shelf too long becomes rancid. Disturbingly, one in every 10 fish oil supplements for sale on store shelves was tested by an independent company and found to be rancid. 

Many omega-3 supplements include vitamin E to help combat oxidation. While this potent antioxidant can help to delay the oxidation of omega-3s, it’s not a perfect remedy, and rancidity remains a concern.

Cell Toxicity

Omega-3 supplements are usually administered in doses between 2,000-3,000mg daily. Because there is so much variability in the quality of these supplements, some people may require higher amounts to experience the benefits of omega-3s.

The problem is that high doses of omega-3 can be toxic to cells. In some scientific studies, high amounts of omega-3 were found to be toxic to lung cells and red blood cells. 

Fish Burps

Because omega-3 supplements are derived from fish oil, some people complain of fish burps, bad breath, and general GI discomfort. Your body chemistry can interfere even if you purchase a “burpless” formula. 

If your stomach doesn’t empty very fast, you’ll potentially be at a higher risk of developing fishy indigestion. Additionally, low-quality omega-3 supplements are more likely to produce these unpleasant GI side effects than high-quality sources. 

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Where To Get Omega-3s

Getting your omega-3s from food is the best way to get omega-3 into your body. Food sources of omega-3s are more bioavailable than omega-3 supplements, so your body can absorb a higher percentage of the fatty acids that are present. Eating more seafood and certain plants are the best ways to naturally increase your omega-3 intake. 

Should You Take Omega-3 Supplements?

So, what do the experts say about omega-3 supplements? If you’ve had a heart attack, the American Heart Association says that increasing your omega-3 intake can help reduce your risk of experiencing another cardiac event. 

Still, dietary consumption is usually enough to meet your needs. Whether or not you should take an omega-3 supplement is really determined by whether or not you are getting enough omega-3s in your diet. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies that prevent you from eating seafood, then an omega-3 supplement is the best alternative to help you meet your daily requirements.

Where To Get Omega-3 Supplements

The FDA regulates the distribution of supplements but doesn’t approve them for treating illness or disease. That means that you don’t need a prescription to get them and can find them over the counter at virtually any retail store. 

As a result, there are a lot of omega-3 supplements on store shelves, with many of them being fairly low in quality and others having already gone rancid. They can contain weird blends of fish oil, and strange preservative ingredients and might very well have been sitting on the shelf a bit too long. 

Additionally, omega-3 supplements aren’t usually friendly to vegetarians or vegans. If you desire the effects of omega-3 but don’t consume meat or animal products, then you’ll need to concentrate on plant-based sources or opt for a different solution. It just so happens that we’ve got one for you. 

A Better Fatty Acid

Fish burps alone might be enough to make you avoid an omega-3 supplement. Coupled with the possibility of cellular death, rancidity, and other questionable side effects, you might wonder if there’s a better solution. The good news is that there absolutely is.

Fatty15 is a ground-breaking, globally-recognized, science-backed C15:0 supplement containing an award-winning, pure, vegan-friendly, plant-based C15:0 powder called FA15™. 

C15:0 is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that research shows is broader, better, and safer than the highest performing, purest omega-3:* In a recent study comparing fatty15 to pure, prescription-only EPA (the highest performing omega-3), fatty15 was found to be better, broader and safer:

  • Better. Not only does fatty15 help support cholesterol homeostasis, but it can also help balance immune function, support glucose homeostasis, support mitochondrial function within your cells (up to 45%), and help repair cell membranes, strengthening them by up to 88%.* In fact, science supports that fatty15 has over 26 more clinically relevant benefits than even the purest omega-3 EPA supplement.*

  • It also activates AMPK, which helps clear damaged cells that are no longer functioning and helps regulate the body’s inflammatory response by claiming and lowering proinflammatory cytokine, a key driver in aging. 

  • Broader. Out of 12 different cell types (including cells involved with immunity, gut, heart, lung, joint, skin, and red blood cell health), fatty15 was able to repair all types.* Omega-3 only safely repaired four. In addition, fatty15 can help balance functions like mood and immunity by activating special receptors called PPARs that control these functions.*

  • Safer. Fatty15 strengthens cells, whereas omega-3s are toxic to cells at higher doses. Out of 12 cell-based systems studied, fatty15 safely supported all 12 of them at all concentrations tested. Omega-3 was toxic to four out of the 12 systems, killing multiple types of cells at higher doses. 

When compared with the purest, highest-performing omega-3 EPA supplement, fatty15 did more for total health and wellness and was safer for your cells (the foundation of your body).*

If omega-3s come from fish, then where does fatty15 come from? 

Fatty15 is derived from plants and contains only one pure powder, vegan-friendly and sustainably produced ingredient. Omega-3 supplements are generally sourced from fish or algae, and usually contain filler ingredients, blends of fish oils, and other preservatives. 

By developing the only pure, vegan-friendly version of C15:0, fatty15 is able to deliver the benefits of this powerful good fat with just one single calorie — nothing else.

What About Rancidity?

Fatty15 is a saturated fatty acid, sturdy and resistant to the lipid peroxidation that can be toxic to cells. This means you’ll never experience a rancid bottle of supplements, nor will your cells be at risk of damage due to oxidized supplements. 

How Much C15:0 Do I Need?

Unlike omega-3, you need much less C15:0 to help maintain your bodily health and restore your circulating levels of this macronutrient. Each fatty15 capsule contains 100 mg of pure C15:0. That’s all that is needed to reap both the short-term and long-term health benefits of C15:0. When compared to omega-3 fish oil supplements, fatty15 offers a lot more benefits in a much smaller pill. 

Fatty15: The New Stable Fatty Acid on the Block

Taking a fatty acid supplement is a good way to add potential benefits to your health stack, but an omega-3 supplement might not be the best option for you. Consider allowing a science-backed, C15:0, essential fat to take the wheel instead — fatty15 is here to help support your health at the cellular level like omega-3 never could.

The future of essential fatty acids is here - Ready to try fatty15? Place your order for C15:0 today to experience the benefits for yourself. Between our 30-day trial kit, 90 starter kit, and annual supply kit, we’ve got you covered when it comes to fatty acids.

Sources:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Consumer | NIH

Historical overview of n-3 fatty acids and coronary heart disease | PubMed

Eicosapentaenoic acid versus docosahexaenoic acid in mild-to-moderate depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial | PubMed

Long-chain (n-3) fatty acid intake and risk of cancers of the breast and the prostate: recent epidemiological studies, biological mechanisms, and directions for future research | PubMed

Oxidation of Marine Omega-3 Supplements and Human Health | PMC

Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (Fish Oil) Supplementation and the Prevention of Clinical Cardiovascular Disease | AHA


Efficacy of dietary odd-chain saturated fatty acid pentadecanoic acid parallels broad associated health benefits in humans: could it be essential? | Scientific Reports 

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) Information | Mount Sinai 

Broader and safer clinically-relevant activities of pentadecanoic acid compared to omega-3: Evaluation of an emerging essential fatty acid across twelve primary human cell-based disease systems | PLOS ONE

Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Brain Functions: A Systematic Review | PMC

Profile photo for Eric Venn-Watson

Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.

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