Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Everyone talks about how “healthy fats” are good for you, particularly if you battle psoriasis. But omega-3s may still be a mystery to you. Omega-3 fatty acids are nutrients that you must get through food because your body can’t produce them. They may be beneficial to many chronic health conditions, including psoriasis, heart disease, and arthritis.

Omega-3s Explained

Simply put, omega-3 fatty acids are fats that are present in your cell membranes. They affect many bodily functions, from blood clotting to inflammation.

There are three kinds of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • alpha-linoleic acid (ALA): found in oils, vegetables, and nuts
  • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): found mainly in fish
  • docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): called a marine omega-3, also found in fish and shellfish 

ALA, EPA, and DHA are polyunsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats may not contribute to plaque buildup in your artery walls. They may also lower triglyceride levels and blood pressure levels in some people, which is why they’re good for heart health.

Omega-3s and Psoriasis

Omega-3s help psoriasis because of their possible role in inflammation. In psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, your immune system tells your skin cells to turn over at an abnormally rapid rate for unknown reasons. The result is redness, inflammation, and dry, scaly patches of skin that can cover almost any part of your body.

Immuno-suppressant drugs can try to slow the progression of the disease and stop your body from attacking itself. However, the issue of inflammation remains. Inflammation causes itching, pain, and discolors the skin. Although medications can help temper inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids can enhance the management of your condition.

Omega-3s through are often used in conjunction with medical treatment for a long list conditions, many of them autoimmune and inflammatory diseases,  including:

  • rheumatoid arthritis: another type of autoimmune disease
  • Crohn’s disease: an inflammatory bowel condition
  • ulcerative colitis: inflammation of the digestive tract
  • lupus: an autoimmune disease
  • atopic dermatitis: a skin condition 

Omega-3 fatty acids may be effective in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis can interfere with both physical and mental functioning, just as cancer or depression does. The discomfort and loss of self-confidence associated with the skin rash can make the completion of everyday activities difficult and energy-draining. If boosting your intake of omega-3 may help you look and feel better, it is certainly worth a try.

Sources of Omega-3

Two out of the three types of omega-3 fatty acids are found mostly in fish and shellfish. For those who love seafood, increasing consumption of this essential nutrient can be easy. But don’t worry if you’re not crazy about eating marine life. A number of other foods, including berries, green vegetables, and tofu also contain omega-3s. Speak to your doctor or nutritionist about taking fish oil supplements if your diet is lacking omega-3s.