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Fish Oil Benefits

Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms

written by Vin Kutty

comments 41 comments

Omega-3 deficiency symptoms

Are You Ignoring These Dangerous Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms?

Tips for Understanding Commonly Overlooked Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms

Ever eat a non-fat cookie or brownie?

Notice how dry, brittle and crumbly it is? Well, not enough Omega-3 does the same thing to your skin.


Your skin is the first place to show signs of deficiency. No amount of moisturizing creams will fix that.

Then look at your hair and nails. Is your hair a bit straw-like? Are your nails brittle or soft?

Scientific Recognition

We know that low iron causes anemia.

And low Calcium causes brittle bones.

But we don’t think much about low Omega-3. Most doctors don’t either. Part of the reason is that Omega-3 deficiency symptoms are shared by other conditions, so they are easily overlooked. Or misdiagnosed.

Scientists have recently given a name to Omega-3 deficiency – it is FADS or Fatty Acid Deficiency Syndrome.

List of Omega-3 deficiency symptoms:

1. Skin related signs

  • Dry skin and hair and soft or brittle nails
  • Rough patches of skin
  • Small bumps (like chicken skin) on the back
    of upper arms and legs
  • Dandruff
  • Dry eyes

2. Attention and concentration problems

3. Mood related signs

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Low frustration tolerance (“short fuse” or highly emotional outburst when things don’t go as planned)

4. Energy and sleep related signs

  • Fatigue
  • Poor sleep quality

5. Joint discomfort related signs

Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms Change With Age

Children and young adults usually have skin and concentration symptoms but as you age, you may begin to notice sleep and energy related symptoms.

Joint and cognitive related symptoms are commonly seen in middle-aged and elderly persons.

So Why is it Dangerous to Ignore these Symptoms?

Most of these symptoms are just inconvenient or annoying but some can be painful or unpleasant. If ignored, your body can stay in a constant state of deficiency. And over time, this can lead to sub-optimal functioning of your body.

Eating the wrong kind of fat is like putting diesel into a car that runs on gasoline.

Except your body somehow manages to keep sputtering along.

Now that you know these easily-prevented deficiency symptoms, eat more fish (salmon), nuts and green leafy vegetables. And if you go a day or two without eating fish, make sure to take a high purity, ultra-concentrated fish oil supplement like OmegaVia.


*  These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Join the conversation

  1. I have a severe seafood allergy. I have a very low omega vitamin count and it has affected my eyes.
    My eye doctor placed omega 3 on my lips to see if they would have a reaction to the omega 3 vitamin for five minutes. Nothing happened in five minutes. He gave me a very pure form of omega 3 s but I have not taken them. Can I really take these with a seafood allergy?

    • Hi Yvette – I cannot advise you on this. This must be monitored closely by your doctor. Generally, seafood allergies are to proteins present in marine animals. However, most high purity Omega-3 products do not have seafood proteins. OmegaVia contains fish gelatin capsules. It is possible that you are allergic to the gelatin from fish. I suggest you work with your doctor and take a liquid Omega-3 that does not have animal gelatin capsules. You may also benefit from vegetarian Omega-3 sources.

  2. Hi Vin – quick one for you. I have been thought tough times with stress, anxiety, sleeping problems, headache, concentration problems and dizziness. I would like to mention that I don’t have any health problems I did all the blood tests etc. It seems that stress is the main cause and my brain isn’t work properly after all this. Would I benefit if I start using Omega 3? Would you recommend Omega 3-6-9 complex or only Omega 3 ? Is there any major side effects? Also how these should be taken (how many times/period?)

    Thanks a lot in advance for your answer. Have a great day ahead!

    • Hi Senell – a high concentration Omega-3 supplement is much better are addressing deficiencies and for addressing dietary imbalance than Omega-3-6-9. So skip the 3-6-9. Along with Omega-3, magenesium, Vitamin D, B-complex, and probiotics along with prebiotic fibers are all good to take if you are stressed. Of course, the obvious first thing to do is address the source of stress and find ways to reduce its impact on your body and mind (exercise, yoga, nature immersion, socializing, meditation etc.). You cannot outrun the effects of stress or poor diet with supplements. You need to address these things at the root cause level.

      • Thanks a lot Vin. Is there any strategy how to take these pills of Omega 3? 3 per day or 3 per week ? I don’t want to make an excess of these I only need a small “push” because I am working on the stress part but it will take time 🙂

  3. Hey Vin,

    Currently I am using OmegaVia 3 supplements (1/day) but also I used to combine this with Magnesium B6 + Zinc daily. Magnesium in the morning after breakfast and Omega before dinner. I’m using these for my anxiety/panic attacks symptoms. I would like to switch from Magnesium to Multivitamin+Mineral supplements in the morning but not sure which is more helpful. I am taking these by my own so I don’t wanna make any mistakes


    • Hi Alex – I assume you are working with your doctor, if not, please do. Your dosage could use some improvement. Aim for 3000 mg Omega-3 per day (or 3 pills per day), 400-500 mg of Magnesium per day. There are also some probiotics that can help with mood. A good B-complex in the morning would be a good idea. Have your doctor test your Vitamin D levels

  4. Hi Vin… I haven’t been having sea food since a long time. I have brittle hair and dandruff too.I have been having anxiety issues and sudden deterioration of academic grades. Are my problems related to my diet? I stay at a place where procuring fish oil isn’t easy… Will cod liver oil capsules suffice? If not then are there any alternate sources of epa and dha?

    • Hi Atif – try cod liver oil if that is what’s available. You may have some Omega-3 deficiency symptoms. Although I suspect there are other dietary issues. Talk to a dietitian if you are concerned.

    • Hi Mary – Omega-3 can help reduce the redness and inflammation in your skin, so it may help indirectly. If you have severe acne, eliminate sugar, dairy, and flour from your diet. Eat ONLY vegetables, seafood, meats, eggs, and fruits – stuff that was alive last week.

  5. Okay so I am 20 years old. My fiance has pointed out that I have a lot of gloomy moods, I’m irritable, easily frustrated, and more emotional than usual. Could this really be caused by DHA or other vitamin deficiencies? I’ve taken a look at my hair and nails, I have always had pretty brittle nails and my hair is quite straw like, my fiance was a hairdresser and he always says I have “nappy” hair. But am I too young to be experiencing this and something else may be to blame?

    • Hi Tabitha – mood issues are caused by several factors – nutritional deficiencies, thyroid or other hormonal disruption, physical or emotional trauma, infections or chronic illness, poor sleep, etc. Yes, Omega-3 deficiency may contribute to this. An Integrative Medicine MD can help get to the root cause, but be prepared to make diet and lifestyle changes. Straw-like hair suggests nutritional deficiencies may be a factor.

  6. So I am wondering if Omega 3 can help with fibromyalgia symptoms, general fatigue and bad mood swings? Any thoughts?

    • Hi Temo – several nutrient deficiencies have been associated with fibromyalgia. These include Vitamin D3, magnesium, zinc, B6, and Omega-3. This does not mean that an imbalance or absence in one of these nutrients is solely responsible for fibromyalgia. While Omega-3 may help, I strongly doubt that Omega-3 alone without addressing other nutritional and lifestyle issues is going to solve the problem. As for fatigue and mood swings, many potential factors can cause this. I strongly recommend that you work with an Integrative Medicine MD to start addressing the root cause of these issues.

  7. Hello, I am a 15 years old, and just recently health and vitamins have caught my attention. So, I went for a hunt on which vitamin I should take and I came across fish oil. I read all the syptoms and I noticed all of them in myself. Also, I have a weird disgust on fish, probably haven’t eaten it in like an year or two. Do you think I should try these, and if I do do you know a dosage (I am very tall and weight around 140 lbs) thank you!

    • Hi Sara – if you are not eating fish often, fish oil supplements may help. Still, keep in mind that fish contain a lot of nutrients that fish oil supplements do not. Try to get at least 500 mg of Omega-3 per day. 1000 mg is ideal. More than 3000 mg Omega-3 is not needed for most people.

  8. He, I’m a 43 year old female and my hair has been falling out in cl9and I’m starting to go bald on some spots. I’m also a vegan. Would omega deficiency cause hair lose?

    • Hi Danielle – there could be several reasons for hair loss. You may need to work with a doctor to get to the root cause of the problem. However, if you are a vegan, there is a possibility that you may not be getting enough protein, B-vitamins, and Omegas. Yes, these deficiencies can cause hair loss. Protein and B-vitamins certainly play a big role in health of your hair. We all need to eat more vegetables, but there is a big difference between more vegetables vs vegan. It takes a lot of knowledge and work to get vegan just right. If you wish to remain vegan, I strongly suggest you supplement with protein, B-vitamins, and Omega-3.

    • You need proteins if you don’t eat meat get it from Greek yogurt ( check label) nuts, peanut butter.

      Provitamin b5 ( pantothenic acid) biotin and the rest of b vitamins.
      Also, dark chocolate at least 80% cocoa. Fruits, get rid of junk food and alcohol! Black rice is extremely helpful too.

  9. My son sees a chiropractor and is telling me that this chiropractor has advised him through that he is omega deficient. I feel he has lost his sanity (my son) Could omega deficiency cause a person to change behavior when starting a new regimen? Please advise. Concerned mom

    • Hi Suzanne – you can easily measure your Omega-3 status with brainspan or OmegaQuant. If your Omega-3 index is below 4%, then you are deficient. Ideally, you need to be over 8%. Depending on where your son was with his Omega-3 index, it is possible that there was some behavior changes. After all, the brain is mostly fat and DHA Omega-3 is the primary fat in the brain. If you don’t have enough Omega-3, it is possible that the brain works suboptimally. Having said that, I’ve never heard of anyone losing their sanity from starting to take Omega-3 supplements.

  10. Hi Vin,

    my Daughter Diagnose Skin psoriasis and most of the Doctor said no cure on this. Omega 3 can help on this type of problem? ex. Chia Seeds or salmon, sardines.
    hope you can help me on this. thank you


    • Hi Rico – psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. It needs to be treated by a doctor. While you may not be able to fully cure this condition, you can use diet, lifestyle and possibly Omega-3 may help reduce some symptoms. Omega-3 alone will not cure it, but it may help some of the inflammation. Sardines and salmon are definitely great ideas.

  11. I suffer from occasional emotional outbursts and mild depression sometimes. Occasionally, I have also sufferred from allergies. I also have a digestion problem ( acidity, gas ). Would a 500mg omega 3 pill help as a general health supplement or what is the dosage for general mood health as well as bone health( I am 47 years). Must I take this all my life, or just when i find i am depressed? I do practise meditation and is about to plan my exercise and diet in a balanced way. As a part of this, I got interested in adding health supplements that I could add for the rest of my life if needed. Please suggest.

    • Hi Shalini – can a 500 mg Omega-3 supplement daily help with general health and prevention of Omega-3 deficiency? Absolutely.

      Will it fix all the health issues you mentioned above? Unlikely.

      Popping an Omega-3 pill for depression is not like taking a pain medication for a headache. It does not work that way.

      Depression, allergies, and gastrointestinal issues are complicated health conditions that require medical attention. You may need prescription medications and you will need to dramatically improve your diet and lifestyle. Combining prescription medications, with lifestyle changes, dietary changes and Omega-3 supplements is a good idea. There are very few medications that 500 mg of Omega-3 will interfere with, but still, check with your doctor before taking.

      Start with elimination of sugar and refined grains (flour). Then begin increasing vegetable and seafood consumption. Then work on physical activity levels. Only then should you be reaching for supplements.

  12. i took omega 3’s for over 20 yrs. i stopped taking omega 3, rich included fish oil, flax and borage a year and 1/2 ago because of the cost. i have experienced since then extremely dry hair and a very oily scalp that smells within hours of showering and washing my hair. my skin also feels like there is a film on it after i shower. its ruining my clothes and sheets. i am also 20 yrs. and now am almost 70 and female. last week it dawned on me there might be a connection between discontinuing the omegas and the very dry skin and and oily scalp. could there be a connection? i will start taking the omegas again and changed my body wash that have oils in it and shampoo with moisture. thank you all my labs and thyroid and hormones are within normal limits. i may also see dermatology if no improvement within a certain time frame.

    • Hi Rose – what you’re saying is entirely possible. But it depends on how much Omega-3 is currently in your diet. If your diet is already rich in Omega-3, then adding more with a supplement may not help. However, if your diet is deficient, the yes, your skin is a place where you will see it firs. Here is a hint: look at the back of your upper arm in the mirror. Does it look bumpy sort of like chicken skin? This is a common Omega-3 deficiency symptom. Still, it can’t hurt to take Omegas (about 1000 mg Omega-3 daily) for a month or two and see what you notice. If things dont change, well, you can then focus on other factors contributing to the situation.

  13. I bought omega 3 capsules. Serving Size 2 Softgel Capsules
    Total Fish Oil2000 Mg
    EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid)720 mg
    DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)480 mg
    Other Omega-3 Fatty Acids200 mg
    Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids1400 mg
    It mentions fish oil quantity separately than epa and dha. What does it mean?

    • Hi Asb – fish oil contains Omega-3. Like milk contains calcium.

      In your case, each capsule contains 1000 mg or 1 gram of oil. Within this oil, 360 mg is EPA and 240 mg is DHA and 100 mg of other Omega-3. This is a fairly good potency. If you take 2-3 of these a day, you will not have any deficiency issues.

  14. My son is 10 year old autistic, Is omega 3 helpful in autism? How can you tell if he has Omega 3 deficiency? What is the correct dose? I have not given him fish to eat.

    • Hi Vipul – there aren’t enough scientific studies to know if Omega-3 can help with autism. The limited number of studies show that the benefits are small and insignificant. So, we don’t know if the doses used in these studies were sufficient, so there is no way for me to suggest a effective dose.

      Having said that, if your child does not eat fish, then supplementing with Omega-3 becomes critical. A daily dose of 500 to 1000 mg of Omega-3 is a good target. A product like this may work: Dosage for kids are listed in the link above.

      The best way to tell if there is an Omega-3 deficiency is to do an Omega-3 index test from It is a simple finger prick blood test that can be done at home and sent off for results.

  15. Hi! I have been suffering from extremely fatigued/ strained eyes that doesnot go away no matter how I try to rest them. It started by forcing my eyes open one early morning to finish my work on the computer. It started watering but I ignored it to finish the work. Now it is 2 years forward and the struggle with my eyes never stopped or waned no matter how I rest them. I visited several opticians to figure out the problem and they all agreed that there is eye related issues upon examination. Reading, watching TV and surfing the Internet have become all eye-soring tasks. And of course I quit my job because of my eyes. Do you think omega-3 can help fixing it?! I just feel them burning all the time though they never turn red

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