I remember wandering the supermarket as a young man, finally entering the terrifying wilderness of puberty. I was on the hunt for some much-needed cosmetics. My peach-fuzz moustache wasn't doing me any favours. I searched for razors and found myself confused.
On one side of the aisle were pink, smooth-looking razors, with a pretty woman looking far too smiley for my liking. On the other, there was an Adonis with a jawline carved by the gods. I wasn't sure what the magic formula was that made a razor appropriate for men: but I went for it.
As I grew older, I realised how strange this was. Deodorant is deodorant…what makes it for men or women?
However, while male/female deodorant and razors are simply a marketing ploy, there are some real differences in the biology of males and females, and there are some considerations you need to make in your supplementation.
This article will run you through one of those crucial supplements for women.
Why everyone needs Omega-3
This piece will refer to 'women' in reference to 'biological women from birth' - because that's what the research uses and the studies are tested on. But whether you identify as a woman, man, or neither, omega-3 is crucial for your health.
Omega-3 is made up of Alpha-linolenic acid (known as ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). All of these play crucial roles in the body. For instance, ALA plays an essential role in nerve and eye health.
EPA and DHA help to manage blood pressure, the production of hormones, inflammation, and brain health. We can't produce these fats on our own: we need to get them in our diet. DHA and EPA can be made from ALA - if you get enough of it. It's found in flaxseeds, nuts, and oils. However, it's challenging to get it enough - that's why it's recommended that you supplement with a potent dose of DHA and EPA.
Overall, the most scientifically backed benefit of Omega-3 is promoting a healthy heart. Proper levels of Omega-3 in your body are clearly linked to lower blood pressure, blood fat levels, clogged arteries, and a regular heart rhythm. An omega-3 supplement has also been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
The benefits for womenNaturally, the above benefits are probably enough to convince you that supplementing with omega-3 is a good idea. But if you're a woman, there are some specific benefits that makes it even more important.
For a start, it may help to...
1. Reduce menstrual pain
If you've had the joy of menstruating, then it's likely you've experienced menstrual cramps and general abdominal discomfort - sometimes even every month. The science for what is happening is that the uterus is contracting strongly, which means pain.
Now, it's not a sure thing, but a couple of well-researched studies found that omega-3 may be beneficial in easing menstrual pain. This is due to its inflammatory properties.
Another study looked at participants with irregular periods. One group was given a daily omega-3 supplement, and the other a placebo. The percentage of regularity increased in the O3 group compared to the placebo (47.2% for the omega-3, 22.9% for the placebo).
Participants took a capsule of omega-3 fish oil a day for 3 months. There was no instant reduction in pain, but over time, it went down. While Omega-3 might not work as quickly as Ibuprofen, it doesn't have downsides. Long-term use of NSAIDS like Ibuprofen can cause ulcers in your stomach. Omega-3 is a natural way to give your body what it needs and make your periods less uncomfortable!
#2: It alleviates rheumatoid arthritis
Did you know women are nearly three times more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis? This is where the lining of the joints becomes painful and inflamed, usually starting from middle age.
The current research thinks that women are more susceptible to it due to specific genes in sexual chromosomes.
Recent studies have shown that omega-3 supplements can reduce inflammation in women with rheumatoid arthritis. Participants who took the supplement had a clear alleviation of swelling, pain, and morning stiffness. This also reduces the reliance on medication like Ibuprofen.
There are some indications that keeping a high level of omega-3 may actually prevent RA from developing. However, more research is needed. But with all of the benefits that omega-3 brings you anyway, it's worth taking regardless.
#3: …and osteoporosis
Ahh, did you think you were out of the woods after the pain of menstruation, (possible) childbirth, and rheumatoid arthritis? No chance. As a woman, you generally have a higher risk of osteoporosis than men - particularly after menopause! Scientists think this is due to a sudden drop in estrogen levels.
How could this be alleviated, you might ask?
Omega-3. Studies have shown that omega-3 supplementation (along with calcium) positively affected the bone mineral density of female osteoporosis sufferers. However, there are some limitations to the research. The exact dose needed wasn't quite clear. But as there is little risk of overconsuming omega-3, it's recommended that you supplement with a high-dose omega-3 supplement to be safe.
#4: It can benefit your mental health
Did you know that women are two times as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety as men? Now, there are some suggestions for why that might be. Men typically seek help (and thus diagnosis) for mental health problems. But regardless of your biological sex, mental health is an issue that seems to hit us all at some point - no matter who you are.
That's where omega-3 comes in. Meta-analyses (a review of lots of studies) found that omega-3 is effective in improving the symptoms of depression. This is because omega-3 travels through brain cell membranes, strengthening mood-related portions of the brain. Scientists also think that the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 can relieve depression.
According to Harvard Health, an effective omega-3 supplement should be about 60% EPA relative to the DHA to be of most benefit. Early studies have shown promising results for improving other mood disorders, including postpartum depression and bipolar disorder.
If you are experiencing mental health problems, don't just knock back an omega-3 supplement and hope for the best. Reach out to your doctor.
#5: It may reduce cancer risk
Again - of course, men get cancer too. But gynaecological cancers, like cervical, ovarian and endometrial cancers, are some of the most commonly diagnosed and devastating cancers for women.
While omega-3 is hardly going to guarantee a cancer-free life, there is some research that argues that high omega-3 levels can slow down the development of cancerous tumours. Naturally, this needs many more studies, but it's hardly surprising. With all of the benefits omega-3 brings to your general health, it seems logical that it would reduce your cancer risk.
#6: It's essential for a healthy pregnancy
If you're considering a child, supplementing with omega-3 can be really beneficial. Research shows that keeping your omega-3 levels high is crucial for the baby's development - particularly DHA. Studies show that a high intake of DHA during pregnancy and through breastfeeding is important for supporting a baby's eye health and brain development. Of course, you need to get some DHA for yourself as well! That's why it's so important to take a high-potency supplement during and after pregnancy. It's better to have a little extra than not enough.
Should I take fish oil?
If you've taken an omega-3 supplement in the past, it's probably been fish oil. And that makes sense. Fish contain high levels of omega-3.
But did you know that fish only contain omega-3 because they get it from the algae they consume? In our modern world, fish are heavily contaminated with heavy metals, PCBs, microplastics, mercury…the list goes on. All things that are very bad for your health.
At Vivo Life, we decided that we wanted to eliminate that risk and created a high-quality liquid omega-3 supplement derived from Algae. With a high dose of EPA and DHA, our omega-3 gives you everything your body needs - without the contamination risk.
To be extra safe, we even third-party test every one of our supplements to ensure it's safe and isn't contaminated.
If you're human, you ought to be taking a high-quality, high-potency omega-3 supplement. If you're a biological woman, you really ought to be taking a high-quality, high-potency omega-3 supplement.
It can help make your periods less uncomfortable, reduce your risk of bone conditions, improve your mental health, and reduce your cancer and heart disease risks.
Our liquid omega-3 supplement contains a high dose of EPA and DHA without any of the bad stuff found in fish.
Kostoglou-Athanassiou I, Athanassiou L, Athanassiou P. The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Rheumatoid Arthritis. Mediterr J Rheumatol. 2020 Jun 30;31(2):190-194. doi: 10.31138/mjr.31.2.190. PMID: 32676556; PMCID: PMC7362115.
Freitas RDS, Campos MM.
Protective Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Cancer-Related Complications. Nutrients. 2019 Apr 26;11(5):945. doi: 10.3390/nu11050945. PMID: 31035457; PMCID: PMC6566772.
Nadjarzadeh A, Dehghani Firouzabadi R, Vaziri N, Daneshbodi H, Lotfi MH, Mozaffari-Khosravi H. The effect of omega-3 supplementation on androgen profile and menstrual status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. Iran J Reprod Med. 2013 Aug;11(8):665-72. PMID: 24639805; PMCID: PMC3941370.