The term Omega-3 fatty acids are describing 3 fats: ALA, EPA & DHA. Omega-3s are considered essential fatty acids, meaning that they cannot be synthesized by the human body – except for a limited ability by mammals. Omega-3 fatty acids are all polyunsaturated fatty acids – today we are going to talk about the most common omega, ALA.
ALA, or alpha-Linolenic acid, is an organic compound found most commonly in seeds, nuts, and many vegetable oils. ALA is a member of the group of essential fatty acids (EFAs) so it must be consumed in our diets.
|Chia||chia sage||Salvia hispanica||64%|||
|Kiwifruit seeds||Chinese gooseberry||Actinidia chinensis||62%|||
|Sea buckthorn||seaberry||Hippophae rhamnoides L.||32%|||
Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to provide a wide range of health benefits, including a lower risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in cholesterol. There have also been promising results from studies looking at omega-3 for cancer, depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
A 2005 study found that daily administration of α-linolenic acid significantly reduced self-reported anxiety, stress levels, and objective measured cortisol levels in college age students. Alpha-linolenic acid is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, diabetes, renal disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Other uses include treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), migraine headache, skin cancer, depression, and allergic and inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
ALA is the most common of the 3 omega’s but is still an essential fatty acid. It is often consumed heavily in the ‘typical American diet’. Supplements exist that can give you specifically ALA, but it would be more helpful to take a supplement that includes all 3 omegas, such as phytoplankton.
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