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About Omega-3


Omega-3 fatty acids belong to a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids with the first carbon-carbon double bond in the third carbon from the omega end.

The important Omega-3 fatty acids in nutrition include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexenoic acid (DHA).


Omega-3 fatty acids are vitally important to human health and can not be synthesized by the body but must be obtained from food.

 

In nature, Omega-3 fatty acids are bound or attached to other molecules such as in triglycerides, the fatty acids are attached to glycerin. Fatty acids which are not attached to other molecules are known as "free fatty acids". Breakdown of triglyceride yields free fatty acids and glycerin.

 

Free Fatty Acids are important sources of energy for many tissues since they can yield relatively large quantities of ATP, an energy rich compound. Fish oil and certain plant oil contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil is high in both EPA and DHA and flaxseed oil is high in ALA. However, these oils need to be brokendown into free fatty acids in stomach before they can be used by human body.

 

There are 3 families of fatty acids; saturated fatty acids(SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and poly unsaturated fatty acids(PUFA). The predominated saturated fatty acids( SFA) are derived mainly from animal fats, dairy products and manufactured foods. Saturated fatty acids are considered as unhealthy because they are the major risk factors for heart attack and strokes. Unsaturated fatty acids are widely regarded as being protective against cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are subgroups of polyunsaturated fatty acids and are beneficial to human health.

 

The balance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet is very important to our health. The western diets are usually high in Omega-6 but low in Omega-3 fatty acids. Supplementation of Omega-3 fatty acids becomes crucial for our health.

 

Health Benefits of Omega-3:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are essential for human body growth and development. Health claims on cardiovascular heart disease have been granted by FDA. Extensive scientific research on brain/retina development and a wide-range of health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids related to DHA, EPA and ALA has been continuously conducted. The findings have been well published and presented in scientific journals and various conferences.