Omega-3 Fatty Acids

5 MIN READ | January 11, 2024

Polyunsaturated fats that come in 3 different forms and collectively support heart health and other processes for normal function

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats. There are three main omega-3 fats, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Not all omega-3 fatty acids act the same way in the body. ALA is necessary for normal growth and development, a healthy nervous system, and enhanced skin health. But both EPA and DHA play an important role in heart health.

The body is capable of making EPA and DHA from ALA, but the conversion rate is relatively low, so it’s usually consumed from fish or seafood. DHA is especially important for brain development during gestation and early childhood. It’s found in high levels in the brain and in the cells of the retina, the part of the eye that registers images and transmits them to the brain for processing.

Why are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Important?

Omega-3s offer structural support for cell membranes, the barriers that separate and protect the inner workings of cells from their environments. Omega-3s also serve as the raw materials for making compounds that are critical to proper blood clotting, helping arteries to relax and contract properly.

1.1g for Men

1.6g for Women

Recommended ALA

Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Chia Seeds
  • Walnuts

Show References :

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution. The Nutrition Source, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Omega-3 Fatty Acids. National Institute of Health.

3. Consuming about 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day may lower blood pressure. American Heart Association.