The benefits of omega 3 fatty acids in protecting the heart and the nervous system have been known for some time now. Doctors have been prescribing their patients omega 3 supplements to treat multiple medical conditions: arthritis, mental conditions (ADHD, depression), or problems of the circulatory system. Being one of the main elements of cellular membrane, omega 3 fats also have a general positive effect on the human body and scientists are trying to find new roles for the essential fats.
Recent studies have shown that omega 3 extracted from fish oil could help in the treatment of acne by alleviating some of the inflammation associated with acne. It also inhibits the process that leads
to the overproduction of sebum. If too much sebum is produced, pores can become blocked leading to a buildup of bacteria, infection, and finally to a breakout of acne.
This contains three fatty acids: ALA (±-linolenic acid), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Among these, EPA helps increase the level of anti-inflammatory Prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone like substances that are found in every cell in the body.
A study has shown that the production of leukotriene B4 (a prostaglandin that has a inflammatory action), could be a contributory factor to developing acne. A diet too rich in Omega 6 and in the same time, deficient in Omega 3, can lead to the over production of leukotriene B4. Medics concluded that increasing the consumption of the fatty acids could help to re-make this imbalance.
Another benefit omega 3 acids have in fighting acne is that these fatty acids also help to keep the production of androgens under control. Androgens are hormones that influence sebum production and are particularly active during adolescence, which is possibly why many teenagers suffer from acne.So, their recommendation is to increase the amount of these oils.
But, adding these fats through diet can be difficult sometimes, especially in winter, when green vegetables are harder to find. At the same time, fish are some of the richest sources of omega 3 fatty acids, but most fish live in polluted waters. Mounting concern over the amount of toxins in our fresh fish means that the current recommendation is to eat only 1 or 2 portions of oily fish a week but no more.
Taking omega 3 supplements is highly recommended to ensure the proper amounts of EPA, as the fish is purified before using it to obtain the fatty acids.