Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that your body needs every day in order to function at its best. The human body depends upon three of these Omega-3 fatty acids, namely DHA, EPA and ALA for various metabolic processes.
DHA and EPA are classified as essential fatty acids since the body does not produce and store them. They can only be obtained through a healthy diet. ALA, on the other hand, is produced in small quantities in the body. However, to ensure optimal consumption, your food must contain enough sources of ALA as well.
To help you understand the importance of these fatty acids, let us explore each one in more detail.
Alpha Linoleic Acid
Since it is present in most plant oils, ALA is one of the most commonly consumed Omega-3 fatty acids. The body converts this into EPA and DHA when needed.
- It is the precursor for other Omega-3 fatty acids, namely DHA and EPA.
- It is used up to generate energy.
- Consumption of ALA is known to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- It has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Helps control sugar levels
- ALA also boosts weight loss.
It is mostly found in plant-based foods like soybeans, kale, spinach, walnuts and seeds like hemp, chia seeds and flax seeds. Seed oils like canola oil, flaxseed oil and olive oil are also known for their high concentration of ALA.
Also known as EPA, this is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that is mostly found in animal-based products. It is not produced in the body and must be consumed through a healthy diet or supplements like HK Vitals Super Strength Fish Oil.
- It is known to reduce the triglyceride levels in the body, providing protection for the heart.
- Blood pressure is regulated with regular consumption of EPA.
- Prevents free radical damage.
- Helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Boosts energy levels significantly
- Helps in faster fat loss
- Known to reduce common symptoms of menopause like hot flashes.
The highest concentration of EPA is found in foods like shrimp, salmon, herring and eel. Some animal products derived from grass-fed livestock may also contain EPA. This includes both meat and dairy products.
DHA is one of the most important Omega-3 fatty acids as it is necessary even in the early years for proper development.
- It is necessary for brain function and development in children
- Helps improve vision in infants
- It is a primary structural component in the retina and skin
- DHA can prevent issues like ADHD and learning disabilities in children. In adults, it prevents brain related degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
- It helps reduce blood pressure, symptoms of arthritis and some types of cancer.
It is mostly found in fatty fish and some forms of algae.
For adults, at least 1000mg of Omega-3 fatty acids with a good concentration of these three variants is a must to keep you at the peak of your health.