Active duty military personnel are at higher risk for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) than your average civilian. This is well known, but what is not so well known is that consumption of higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 FAs) can exert many beneficial effects on not just you general health, but in terms of both protection and recovery from brain injury. A paper (cited below) looked at this in depth, and found that active duty military personnel should consume omega-3 fatty acids for this very reason.
The abstract concludes saying “Generally Recognised As Safe amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexanoic acid (up to 3,ooomg daily) should be considered for the athlete and solider, not only for its general health benefits, but particularly also for those at risk or high exposure to brain impact.” (1)
But how much is the average person consuming a day?
“Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Oily fish are the major dietary source of EPA and DHA. Dietary surveys in the US indicate that average adult intakes of EPA range from 0.03-0.06 g/day, and average adult intakes of DHA range from 0.05-0.10 g/day” (2)
This is only about 30-60mg per day to 50-100mg per day. Far below recommendations. (2)
An adult male needs 1.6g omega-3 per day, a female 1.1g per day. As you can see from the average intake listed above, many are falling far below this needed amount.
Where are some food sources of omega-3s you might ask? (2)
There are many more sources of omega-3 than those just listed above, but it may be hard to hit the required amounts each day. I personally do not like fish, and thus, supplement with fish oil everyday to allow me to hit the required amounts for adults above.
If you are your average Joe or Jane, you need omega-3s. If you are an active duty military members in any of our armed forces, it is highly recommended that you particularly pay attention to your intake of these fatty acids again not just for general health, but the brain protective effects the fatty acids have in terms of TBIs.
Omega-3 fatty acids / fish oil is a big topic, and in another blog post, we will go more in depth to the amazing benefits of this nutrient. Till then.