What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) which are healthy fats that your body can’t make on its own, which means you’d have to get it from your diet.
The two most beneficial types are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA supports the immune system and the heart, whereas DHA supports the central nervous system, the brain and the eyes.
What are the best dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids?
Fatty fish are the best source, particularly anchovies, mackerel, salmon and sardines.
The following are also good to incorporate into your diet:
- Almonds, cashews, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts
- Avocado oil and coconut oil for cooking
- Hemp seed oil and olive oil for salad dressings
Omega-3 & Men
Omega-3 fatty acids support sperm production. In fact, sperm contains high concentrations of DHA and is very important for its maturation and function. Studies have also shown that men who consumed more omega-3s had improved sperm morphology and motility.
Omega-3 & Women Trying to Conceive
Omega-3s support ovulation and play an important role to promote egg quality and enhance reproductive success rates.
When a woman approaches menopause, her FSH (follicle stimulating hormone levels start to increase. Researchers found that women who supplemented with fish oil showed decreased FSH levels! Another study that showed that mice who were fed a high omega-3s diet could reproduced into an advanced maternal age. Put the information from these two studies together, and it makes a good case for women to incorporate more fish into their regular diet well beforehand!
A recent study found that women who ate more trans fats had decreased fertility rates, whereas women who ate high omega-3 fats had greater fertility rates.*
Omega-3 & Pregnancy
Omega 3s have been shown to decrease the risk for preeclampsia, depression and post-partum mood disorders.
Omega-3 & The Baby
Omega-3s help with the fetus’ neurological, cognitive and visual development. They also reduce the risk of preterm labour. And it’s been shown to help decrease the risk for allergies in infants.
Omega-3 & Mothers
Omega-3s are important after birth to help the mom make her breast milk.
** Please note that this is NOT medical advice and that you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking this supplement
If you’d like to discuss how I can support you during your fertility journey, CONTACT ME HERE to set up a complimentary 15 min discovery call/meeting to get started.
What’s a discovery call/meeting? It’s where we get to know each other better to ensure that I’m the right practitioner for you and that you have the opportunity to ask your questions about Naturopathic Medicine before we move forward with an initial Naturopathic consultation.
Here are a few more blog articles related to fertility that you might be interested in:
- Fertility: How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help
- Acupuncture for Fertility
- The Effect of Obesity on Fertility
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Trying to get pregnant? Test your ferritin levels!
- CoQ10 & Fertility: What’s all the fuss about?
- Vitamin D and Fertility
And if you’re interested in reading about my personal struggles with my own fertility journey:
- My Crazy IUI Story
- My IVF Story: Part 1
- My Surgery Surprise
- My IVF Story: Part 2
- TW: My Big News!
- My Fertility Journey on Facebook for #CIAW2020
- My Fertility Journey on Instagram for #CIAW2020
Lenzi et al. Fatty acid composition of spermatozoa and immature germ cells. Molec Human Repro. 2000; 6(3): 226-231.
Norwitz et al. Implantation and the survival of early pregnancy. N Engl J Med. 2001 Nov 8; 345(19):1400-1408.
Greenberg et al. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during pregnancy. Rev Obst & Gyne. 2008 Fall; 1(4): 162-169.
Sturmey et al. Role of fatty acids in energy provision during oocyte maturation and early embryo development. Reprod Domest Anim. 2009 Sep; 44 Suppl 3: 50-58.
Coletta et al. Omega-3 fatty acids and pregnancy. Rev Obst & Gyne. 2010; 3(4): 163-171.
Hammiche et al. Increased preconception omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake improves embryo morphology. Fertil Steril. 2011 Apr; 95(5): 1820-1823.
Safarinejad et al. The roles of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in idiopathic male infertility. Asian J Androl. 2012 Jul; 14(4): 514-515.
Nehra et al. Prolonging the female reproductive lifespan and improving egg quality with dietary omega-3 fatty acids. Aging Cell. 2012 Dec; 11(6): 1046-1054.
Al-Safi et al. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation lowers serum FSH in normal weight but not obese women. J Clin Endocrin & Metab. 2016 Jan; 101(1): 324-33
Kar et al. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids in prevention of early preterm delivery: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized studies. Eur J Obst & Gyne & Repro Biol. 2016 Mar; 198: 40-46.
* Updated References in 2018
Wise et al. Dietary fat intake and fecundability in 2 preconception cohort studies. Am J Epidemiol. 2018; 187(1): 60-74.
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