Three Essential Omega-3 Fatty AcidsThe concept and importance of, essential Omega-3 fatty acids in the human diet are becoming more familiar to all of us, especially those of us in the health education field. Many of us are also aware of essential Omega-6 fatty acids. It turns out that both Omega-3s and 6s are, to some degree, essential to our health, and we require approximately a 1:3 ratio of them (one part omega 3 to three parts of the more common Omega-6). Omega-3 fatty acids (Omega-3s) are anti-inflammatory, improve the immune response, improve cellular membrane health and transportation of nutrients, and decrease blood clotting. Omega-6 fatty acids (Omega-6s) may do the opposite: boost inflammation, reduce cellular membrane transportation and thicken the blood. You will hear far more about Omega-3s and health than Omega-6s. Read on and you’ll see why.
Three Omega-3s**Note: (Yes, there are THREE omega-3s!) The three main Omega-3 fatty acids (in order of importance) are:
- DHA (DocosaHexaenoic Acid): Marine source (comes from fish, fish oil, algae, algae oil, and other marine life). DHA is a critical nutrient for a healthy nervous system. It is also an anti-inflammatory and heart- protective compound. Additionally, DHA is also purported to increase beauty, improve immunity in children, and is associated with longevity.
- ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid): Terrestrial source (comes from plants). ALA is known primarily as a heart-protective and anti-inflammatory fatty acid.
- EPA (EicosaPentaenoic Acid): Marine source (comes from fish, fish oil, very specific algae and algae oil, as well as other marine life). EPA is an anti-inflammatory and heart-protective compound that may also act as a neurotransmitter, thus improving overall nervous system health.
DHA Molecular Structure.
ALA Molecular Structure
EPA Molecular Structure