All About Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Odds are you've heard about omega-3 fatty acids. And for good reason! From brain development to heart health, they've been found to have many different health benefits. Read on to get a quick breakdown of the basics.
What are Omega-3s?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats. While they have many functions in our body and are important for good health, our bodies cannot produce them, so we have to get them through our diet1.
The three key types of omega-3 fats are:
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid): Found in certain high-fat plant foods, especially flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts1.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid): Found in fatty fish, seafood, fish oil and algal oil1.
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid): Found in fatty fish, seafood, fish oils, and algal oil1.
Which Forms of Omega-3s are Beneficial?
Omega-3’s EPA & DHA are the forms of omega-3’s that confers the health benefits of Omega-32. The omega-3 ALA needs to be converted into the longer-chain EPA or DHA omega-3 fatty acids to provide the related health benefits3. Unfortunately, the human body isn't great at converting ALA3,4. Studies show that we only convert ALA into EPA and DHA at a rate of about 5%3,4. So, many people choose to supplement their diet with EPA and DHA from fish or algal oil.
Why are Omega-3s So Important?
Omega-3 EPA & DHA have been studied thoroughly over the years2. Research suggests that they can positively impact many aspects of our physical and mental health, including:
- Support the maintenance of good health
- Help support and maintain cardiovascular health
- Help support the development of the brain, eyes and nerves in children up to 12 years of age
How Can I Get More Omega-3s?
If you don't eat fatty fish regularly (or are a vegetarian or vegan!) you may want to consider taking an omega-3 supplement with EPA and DHA.
Omega-3 supplements are typically made from fish and algal oils. Be aware though that their quality and potency can vary widely. In Canada, look for supplements that have a Natural Product Number (NPN).The NPN ensures that the product has met the standards for quality, safety and efficacy set by Health Canada for Natural Health Products. When it comes to health benefits from omega-3, it’s the EPA+DHA that matter. Check the medicinal ingredients panel and make your choice based on the amount of
EPA+DHA. It’s also worth looking at the serving size and figuring out the cost per milligram of EPA+DHA.
Made from sustainably sourced fish or plant-based ingredients, NutraSea and NutraVege Omega-3 supplements are pure and great-tasting. Plus, they're PureCheck Certified –so you can trust that what you read on the label matches the product inside. When choosing an omega-3 supplement, it is important to look at your individual health: your diet, your lifestyle, any chronic conditions or concerns you might have, before determining the one that is right for you. You should also check the medicinal ingredients panel for the amount of EPA+DHA per serving when making your choice. Please consult with your healthcare provider or dietician if you have specific questions about how a dietary supplement could benefit you and your family.