You’re certainly one of most people who have heard that omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely essential for good health.

And yet it is not always clear what exactly their benefits are, and more importantly, how to take full advantage of them.

To help you see more clearly and understand why Omega 3s are so important for your body, we’ve prepared a little guide for you!

Omega 3 fatty acids, what are they at juste ?

Omega 3 fatty acids are part of the family of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are necessary for human health, but the body is not capable of making them. This means that you have to get them from your diet.

Omega 3 is a group of fatty acids, which are found in different forms:

  • ALA (alpha linolenic acid) ,
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid),
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Where can you find these omega fatty acids 3 ?

Omega 3s are found in the diet. The foods richest in omega 3 are of different kinds.

ALA sources

ALA is mainly present in plants. The best sources of ALA are vegetable oils (such as linseed oil, walnut oil or perilla oil) but also nuts as well as chia or flax seeds.

Sources of EPA and DHA

EPA and DHA are present in foods of marine origin, including fatty fish (salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, cod liver, sardines, anchovies, etc.).

It should be noted that omega 3s of animal origin are better assimilated by the body than omega 3s of vegetable origin. It is nevertheless advisable to vary these two forms of Omega 3!

What is the recommended intake of omega 3?

The recommended daily allowances are as follows:

  • ALA: 2.5 g for a man and 2 g for a woman,
  • EPA: 250 mg
  • DHA: 250 mg

Is the food enough to cover our needs?

Unfortunately, the diet is often insufficient to cover the full recommended intake of omega 3.

In fact, it is estimated that only one third of the French population complies with the weekly Omega 3 recommendations.

What should the ratio of omega 6 / omega 3 be?

It is essential for our body to obtain omega 6 and omega 3 in the right proportions. In order for this omega 6 / omega 3 ratio to be balanced, we must consume a maximum of 5 times more omega 6 than omega 3.

However, it is estimated that the current trend in Western countries such as France is 20 to 1. Such an imbalance can notably promote obesity as well as cardiovascular and inflammatory disorders.

What explains such an imbalance?

Modern diets favour the consumption of omega 6 to the detriment of omega 3. Foods rich in omega 3 are much less represented in our diet than those concentrated in omega 6.

How do we restore the balance?

To restore the balance between omega 6 and omega 3, it is both recommended to increase one’s intake of omega 3 (omega 3 rich foods, food supplements) and to limit one’s consumption of unbalancing foods that are too rich in omega 6 (sunflower oil for example).

The benefits of omega 3 fatty acids

As we announced at the very beginning, omega 3s are essential for the proper development and functioning of the entire body.

The benefits of omega 3 for the body

Research into the benefits of Omega 3 for the body is still ongoing. However, some discoveries have already been made:

  • Omega 3 contributes to normal heart function.
  • Omega 3 promotes good blood circulation in the body.
  • Omega 3 helps reduce inflammation.
  • Omega-3s can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

It should be noted that the benefits on cardiovascular health are mainly due to EPA and DHA type omega 3s found in fish oils.

Conversely, a deficiency in omega 3 can have harmful consequences for health. Indeed, a number of studies suggest that omega 3 deficiency could contribute to an increased risk of diabetes and cause skin problems (dry skin, acne…).

The benefits of Omega 3 for the brain

In addition to significant benefits for the body, omega 3 fatty acids are also beneficial for the brain.

  • Omega 3 contributes to the proper development of the brain (during pregnancy and early childhood) as well as its proper functioning.
  • Omega 3 helps maintain normal vision.
  • Omega 3 promotes concentration and memory.

Recent studies also indicate that omega-3s may help combat age-related mental decline and have beneficial effects on depressive disorders and mood.

Spring is coming back soon and so, let’s hope, sunny days! As the body synthesizes vitamin D in contact with the sun’s rays, the body can receive more vitamin D in March than it does during the winter.

Despite this, it is estimated that 80% of the French population is deficient in vitamin D, 20% of whom are deficient.

Why? Because certain factors such as age, pollution, skin pigmentation or lack of sunlight limit the body’s ability to produce vitamin D.

What are the risks of a deficiency? Why is vitamin D important? Some answers below!

The risks of vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is essential for the proper functioning of the human body, so a deficiency is problematic. Vitamin D helps maintain optimal bone and muscle health and has a positive effect on inflammation. By attacking bacteria and viruses that damage the immune system, it also fights infections such as the flu and colds.

A vitamin D deficiency can then have serious consequences on bone metabolism and can lead to certain diseases (asthma, Alzheimer’s, depression, eczema) or cancers (colon, pancreas).

3 major benefits of vitamin D

Although vitamin D has a myriad of health benefits, here’s our top 3:

1. It makes the bones stronger

Calcium is very important for healthy bones and for increasing bone mineral density. Research has shown that vitamin D promotes the deposition of calcium in the bones, making them stronger and healthier.

In the case of vitamin D deficiency, the body begins to slow down or stop the deposition of calcium in the bones; the calcium is then released into the bloodstream. Over time, this continuous cycle of deposition and withdrawal weakens the bones and puts the body at high risk of fracture.

2. It protects against cardiovascular disease

Did you know that vitamin D has a protective effect on the heart? Recent data has shown that people with vitamin D deficiency are at increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, sudden cardiac death or heart failure.

Although the exact mechanisms remain unclear, it appears that vitamin D helps to lower blood pressure and improve blood compliance and glycemic control.

3. It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can lead to long-term, life-altering conditions including nerve damage, heart disease, eye damage, vision loss and kidney failure.

Recent studies suggest that vitamin D may play an important role in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly in people at risk of developing the disease. Several observational studies have shown that high levels of vitamin D lead to improvements in beta cell function, insulin sensitivity and whole body inflammation.

One study calculated the risk of developing type 2 diabetes based on baseline vitamin D status and found that patients with the highest baseline levels had a 38% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Should I take vitamin D supplements?

As discussed in a previous article, vitamin D is obtained primarily through exposure of the skin to sunlight. The problem is that it’s not always easy to get enough vitamin D through this route – especially in winter when the sun barely shines!

itamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential vitamin for the human body. Water-soluble, i.e. soluble in water, it is naturally present in fruits and vegetables.

Known for its antioxidant and immunostimulant properties, vitamin C is undoubtedly one of the most widely consumed vitamins in the world as a dietary supplement by athletes.

But since the body cannot make it or store it, it is important to consume it regularly to meet its nutritional needs. This is especially true for athletes and bodybuilders, as vitamin C is eliminated through perspiration.

Why take vitamin C? What is the recommended dosage for athletes? In what form should it be supplemented? Let’s take stock.

Sport and weight training: increased vitamin C requirements

Regular physical activity significantly increases the body’s need for vitamin C. This is because the body produces substances that are harmful to the body during sporting exercise, known as free radicals. Because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it helps neutralize damage caused by free radicals. It is therefore important to increase your intake accordingly.

The 4 main benefits of a vitamin C cure for athletes and bodybuilders

It helps reduce fatigue

Vitamin C plays a major role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system. It also contributes to normal energy metabolism and the normal functioning of the immune system! It is therefore the ideal vitamin to fight against temporary fatigue and restore the body’s vitality!

It promotes recovery after intense effort

Thanks to its antioxidant role, vitamin C supports the normal functioning of the immune system and protects muscle cells from damage caused by free radicals. Its action thus helps promote muscle recovery and growth.

It helps prevent muscle breakdown

Vitamin C promotes the absorption of iron, which is needed to help oxygen bind to hemoglobin in the blood. Vitamin C thus has a positive effect on the regulation of oxygen levels in muscle tissue and helps to strengthen the walls of the blood capillaries in the muscles.

It facilitates the healing of wounds and fractures.

Vitamin C is involved in the formation of collagen, a protein essential for the maintenance and regeneration of bone, skin, tendons and muscles. It thus supports the repair of body tissues. This role is particularly beneficial during and after exercise to reduce the risk of injury and facilitate the healing process.

What is the recommended intake to improve sports and muscle performance?

Regular intake of vitamin C is recommended to improve performance and achieve your sporting goals. Many athletes and bodybuilders include vitamin C in their daily routine in addition to other supplements, such as whey and amino acids.

For strenuous physical activity, the suggested dosage is 1000 mg-2000 mg per day. It is advisable to divide the daily dose into 2 or 3 intakes during the day and to consume vitamin C during a meal.

As vitamin C is water-soluble, there is no risk of overdose – excess vitamin C is eliminated in the urine. Excessive intake of vitamin C can, however, lead to side effects (diarrhoea, bloating, cramps). It is therefore necessary to listen to your body and increase your dosage gradually.

It’s almost impossible to get all the vitamins your brain needs to be in shape without supplementation. That’s not only because it’s not always easy to have a varied and balanced diet. But also because certain factors such as stress and food medication or the consumption of sugar, caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol increase the body’s need for vitamins.

Yet, numerous research and studies have shown that certain vitamins can improve brain function and protect it from mental decline. A vitamin deficiency therefore has harmful consequences for the body. While all vitamins are necessary for optimal brain health and function, there are a few vitamins that are particularly noteworthy.

So, which vitamins help to keep your brain performing?

1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most popular vitamins for several good reasons. It is safe to eat, inexpensive and has many benefits for the body. However, those on the brain are often overlooked. Here are just a few of the many reasons why vitamin C is one of the best vitamins to help the brain function properly.

It contributes to the production of neurotransmitters.

The brain has about 86 billion neurons that communicate with each other through brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters affect just about every aspect of the body’s life. They affect the ability to concentrate and remember information. They also control mood, cravings, addictions and sleep. Vitamin C is essential in the production of these neurotransmitters.

It helps to improve the mood

Vitamin C can make you happy! In a recent study, subjects (randomly selected) who took vitamin C reported feeling happier, often even after just one week of consumption.

Vitamin C is a cofactor necessary to synthesize serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, three neurotransmitters essential for good mood.

It helps defend the body against neurodegenerative diseases.

The brain is particularly sensitive to free radical damage due to its high oxygen utilization. You can observe free radical damage when you cut an apple and watch it turn brown.

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidant vitamins. Just dip an apple in lemon juice and see the discolouration stop. The same goes for vitamin C, which protects the brain from free radical damage.

Since neurodegenerative diseases generally result in high levels of oxidative stress, the effects of vitamin C appear promising for the treatment of ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

The antioxidant power of vitamin C can be further enhanced with vitamin E. A meta-analysis of studies has shown that a diet rich in vitamins C and E leads to a 20 to 25% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

It helps to detoxify the body

The brain accumulates toxic heavy metals such as mercury and aluminum. Mercury enters our systems from seafood and amalgam (“silver”) dental fillings. Aluminum, on the other hand, often comes from the use of aluminum cookware; it is also found in deodorants and antacids.

Vitamin C acts as a powerful detoxifier that easily crosses the blood-brain barrier to remove these metals from the brain.

It helps to reduce excess glutamate

Glutamate is a natural brain chemical, but too much of it is harmful to the brain. In excess, it becomes an excitotoxin – it literally excites brain cells to death.

An excess of glutamate then contributes to many neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and multiple sclerosis. Vitamin C protects the neuroreceptors that control the release of glutamate.

It contributes to a better blood circulation

By helping to build collagen (which keeps arteries flexible), vitamin C improves blood flow. Better blood flow provides more oxygen and nutrients to the brain, keeping it well nourished.

What are the best dietary sources of vitamin C?

When we think of foods rich in vitamin C, we usually think of citrus fruits. But there are many other excellent sources of vitamin C, whether fruit (kiwi, mango, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon…) or vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers, winter squash…).

Is it necessary to take vitamin C as a dietary supplement?

If you’re not sure whether to adjust your diet or supplement your vitamin C, consider these factors:

  • Vitamin C is fragile and destroyed by heat. How many raw products must be eaten each day to achieve the desired dose of vitamin C?
  • Do you smoke? Smokers need more vitamin C.
  • Are you under a lot of stress? Stress increases your need for vitamin C.

2. Vitamin D

Getting the minimum amount of vitamin C that your body needs is quite simple: just eat fruits and vegetables. But for vitamin D it’s a bit more complicated.

First of all, vitamin D is technically not a vitamin, it is a pre-hormone. And, unlike other vitamins, we rarely get it from the food we eat. In fact, vitamin D is synthesized by the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight.

In addition to having protective effects against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoporosis, vitamin D plays a major role in the brain.

Promotes brain development and health

The brain needs vitamin D at all stages of life.

Pregnant women, for example, need enough vitamin D during pregnancy for their baby’s brain to develop properly. Afterwards, children must continue to have enough vitamin D to allow their brains to develop normally. Finally, vitamin D can prevent cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

It helps to improve mood

Some studies have shown that an insufficient level of vitamin D contributes to the depression that many people often experience in winter.

How do I get enough vitamin D?

Getting Vitamin D from food? We forget! The usual source of vitamins is food, but in the case of vitamin D, it’s almost impossible to get everything you need from food.

Few foods contain vitamin D3, the form best used by the body. By far the best food source is cod liver oil or fish oil. Some foods such as fortified milk or mushrooms contain vitamin D2, but this form is poorly used by the body.

The only way to obtain vitamin D naturally is therefore exposure to the sun. If you spent most of your time outdoors, as our ancestors did, getting an adequate intake of vitamin D wouldn’t be a problem.

But these days it’s complicated to rely solely on sun exposure to get this essential brain vitamin – even if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Several factors such as age, skin pigmentation, use of sunscreen, living in a region with little sunlight or high pollution levels affect the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D.

This is why taking vitamin D as a dietary supplement is a necessity for most of us. It is recommended to take vitamin D3 1000 IU, the form best assimilated by the body, as a supplement.

3. B vitamins

The term vitamin B actually includes a set of 8 vitamins: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin, folic acid and cobalamin (B12).

Essential for good brain health, B vitamins are sometimes nicknamed “happiness vitamins” or “anti-stress vitamins”. By participating in the formation of neurotransmitters, B vitamins help increase energy levels and improve stress tolerance. They also help improve memory and prevent brain aging.

Are all B vitamins the same?

B vitamins are all essential for your health. But three of them, B6, B12 and folic acid (B9), are especially important for brain health.

Studies have shown that these three vitamins work synergistically to help prevent mental decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. An Oxford University study showed that taking B6, B12 and folic acid together reduces brain atrophy, improves brain function and significantly reduces brain shrinkage in the part of the brain most affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Beware of vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency can manifest itself as memory loss or the feeling of being constantly in a state of brain fog. Vitamin B12 deficiency is quite widespread in France, especially among the elderly (who are unable to absorb it properly) and vegetarians (since only foods from animal or marine sources contain this vitamin). A study has moreover shown that 90% of vegetarians are deficient in vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency should not be taken lightly as it can lead to serious neurological symptoms: memory loss, dementia, depression, brain atrophy….

Where to find B vitamins in food?

Let’s look at the best food sources for these 3 vitamins essential to brain health:

  • Vitamin B9: vegetables and lemon.
  • Vitamin B6: avocado, banana, vegetables, beef, pork, almonds and grains.
  • Vitamin B12: meat, fish, eggs and milk.

Is it necessary to take vitamin B in the form of supplements?

Although it is possible to get enough vitamin B through a varied and balanced diet, some people are at increased risk of deficiency, especially those over 50 years of age or those with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or other digestive disorders.

People who have undergone weight loss surgery, drink alcohol regularly, follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or are pregnant may also be prone to deficiency.

Supplementation with B vitamins thus avoids any risk of deficiency.