A study published in the journal Scientific Reports has found that women who had higher levels of serum Omega 3s had a more diverse gut microbiome correlating to better overall health. This includes lowering the risk of diabetes, obesity and inflammatory gut diseases like colitis and Crohn’s. Interestingly enough, these results were independent of whether or not the women in the study had a diet that was rich in fiber.
Biodiversity of our gut microbiome is necessary for good health. Among other things, a healthy gut microbiome promotes good digestion, a strong immune system, aids in detoxification and in reducing inflammation.
In trying to understand the association between Omega 3s and gut biodiversity, the researchers found that:
“high levels of omega-3 in blood are correlated with high levels of a compound called N-carbamylglutamate (NCG) in the gut. This compound has been shown in animals to reduce oxidative stress in the gut. We believe that some of the good effects of omega-3 in the gut may be due to the fact that omega 3 induces bacteria to produce this substance.”
Omega 3s are essential fatty acids. They are fats that are essential for our good health but they must be consumed through our diet and/or supplementation to get the amounts that are needed on a daily basis. There are three different types of omega-3s: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Although often supplemented for, it is preferable to get our Omegas through diet. Some very good food sources of Omega 3s include wild caught salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and spinach.
Cultivating a healthy gut is vital for our good health. This study, demonstrating the apparent role that Omegas can play in establishing the diversity of our gut microbiome, offers us yet another tool in our diet arsenal to help us achieve our health goals.