Health and Social Work


Sophia Osmond



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Sophia Osmond, NFS 330: Integrative and Functional Nutrition/HON 400: All College Honors Colloquium
Faculty Mentors: Professor Suk Oh, Health, Nutrition and Dietetics, Professor Drew Hemler, Health, Nutrition and Dietetics and Professor Andrea Guiati, Modern and Classical Languages

Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be imperative to a healthy mind and body. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish and fish oils, and in some plants such as flax and chia seeds. Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is the omega-3 fatty acid present in plant sources. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish that provide the most benefit to human health. ALA is the precursor for EPA and DHA in the body. The latter two play important roles in smooth muscle contraction, blood pressure, platelet aggregation and thrombosis, and inflammatory response as prostaglandins in different cells. In addition, DHA is present in the retina and brain and influences brain development and function. Recent nutrition research highlights the importance of adequate consumption of omega-3 fats to promote reduced inflammation and thrombosis, and to support cognitive function and vision acuity. For a healthy body, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been found to influence the body's inflammatory response, platelet aggregation, cardiovascular disease risk, and to provide a complementary treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and reduce the risk of adverse effects of pregnancy. For a healthy mind, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been found to be essential for fetal brain development and a child’s cognitive performance, general mental health, and treatment of cognitive diseases and disorders. In summary, omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in prevention, treatment, and function of numerous aspects of the mind and body.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A Healthy Mind and Body
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