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Omega-3s, DHA & EPA: Immune System Boosters

Key Takeaways:

  • The Importance of Healthy Immunity

  • Why Omega-3s, EPA and DHA, are Crucial to the Immune System

  • Foods that Boost the Immune System

Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are nutrients for the immune system that have been shown to have important immune-regulatory functions, exerting a positive influence over the immune system throughout life.

The Importance of Immunity 

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The immune system is a complex network that involves organs, cells, and proteins. If your immune system is running smoothly, you don’t notice it’s there. Without it, we would have no way to fight outside invaders from producing changes in our body. It’s our body’s on and off switch for protecting against new or unknown substances. When your body is exposed to foreign substances, the immune system jumps into action to recognize and get rid of them. How quickly our body responds is dependent on how robust our immune system is.

Omega 3 and the Immune System

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Omega-3s, EPA and DHA, are important nutrients for healthy immune function. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) are omega-3s specifically from marine sources like mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and even algae, to name a few. These marine-sourced omega-3s are essential nutrients, meaning we need them to function properly, but our bodies can’t make them from scratch, so we must get them through our diets or through supplementation. While research has been focused on the well-documented benefits of omega-3s for heart health, mental health, maternal and child health, healthy vision, and skin health, we lose sight of the importance of EPA and DHA as essential nutrients for all our cells. One of the greatest roles of EPA and DHA in our body is to support a normal, healthy metabolism, heart function, immune response, and other life-sustaining functions.

Omega-3s: Immune System Boosters

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The immune system is made of different cell types that move through the bloodstream around the body. Research shows that EPA and DHA boost the immune system by supporting the functioning of immune cells, like white blood cells (also known as B cells). EPA and DHA are also important components of our cell membranes' and can influence and regulate the membrane's ability to receive nutrients and remove waste. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids strengthens the cell walls, including the membranes of the immune cells. This keeps our cells functioning optimally and able to react quickly when needed. Due to this, Omega-3s are considered nutrients for the immune system.

Unfortunately, A recent study reported that two-thirds of adults and 95% of children don’t get enough omega-3s, EPA and DHA in their diets.  Viactiv Omega Boost chews provides 1200mg of omega-3 fatty acids, that includes over 1000mg of EPA and DHA per day. Viactiv, along with a healthy diet, can provide the daily requirement of essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy cells.

Foods That Boost the Immune System

Foods that boost the immune system like lemon, ginger, broccoli, oranges, garlic, honey, and more

In addition to omega-3s, other immune boosting foods to incorporate into a nutritional routine include foods high in vitamins for the immune system like vitamin C, vitamin E, and antioxidants.

First, Vitamin C is one of the ultimate immune system booster vitamins and is another essential nutrient that our bodies can’t make or store. Citrus foods like oranges, lemons, and limes are all good ways to consume vitamin C, but did you know vegetables are also a great source? Onions, broccoli, and carrots are high in vitamin C and are foods that boost your immune system.

Next, Vitamin E is another immune system booster vitamin. It’s most commonly found in plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Some examples include almonds or almond butter, peanuts or peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Lastly, some foods containing antioxidants include spinach, garlic, and ginger. Spinach contains an antioxidant called lutein in it which gives it its green color. Spinach also contains high amounts of calcium. Garlic contains the antioxidant, allicin, which gives it its distinct aroma and flavor. Ginger has a natural component called gingerol and has been shown to aid in healthy digestion.

Busy lifestyles can present a challenge when trying to maintain a healthy and varied diet that includes sufficient omega-3s, vitamins, and antioxidants to optimize overall immune function. However, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy snacking and supplementing essential nutrients in addition to regular exercise is a great start!


A New Perspective on Omega-3s: Supporting Optimal Immunity | Vitafoods Insights

Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

DHA-Enriched Fish Oil Targets B Cell Lipid Microdomains and Enhances Ex Vivo and In Vivo B Cell Function | Journal of Leukocyte Biology

DHA-Enriched Fish Oil Targets B Cell Lipid Microdomains and Enhances Ex Vivo and In Vivo B Cell Function | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Studies Show Kids, Adults & Pregnant Women Don’t Get Enough Omega-3 | OmegaQuant

15 Foods that Boost the Immune System | Healthline

Last Updated On: December 9, 2022

First Published On: November 18, 2022

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