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The Absolute Essential Fatty Acid!
Most people have no idea that Omega-3 Fatty Acids are the most important nutrient needed to build your brain, nerves, and every one of your cells…and you can’t make it yourself! That’s why it’s called “essential”, it’s essential you consume it from food sources. But as a society, we are Fatty Acid deficient, people STILL not gotten over the whole “fat scare” of the 1980’s, where food companies (and the FDA!) told us to eat less fat and more carbs. The result? A population riddled with brain and heart disease, overweight, and chronically inflamed. The research is conclusive, from Heart Disease to Cancer, Omega 3’s are critical to your health…so go get your healthy fat!
A: They are a family of essential fatty acids, but the (3) most important ones in the family are: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) – which are found in plants, and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) & EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) – which are found in animal foods (mostly fish) and sea algae.
A: They are the building blocks of fats. And fats make up the structure of everything from your brain, nerves, cardiovascular tissue, hormones, structurally they literally are involved in every important area of your body. Without these essential fatty acids, your body wouldn’t have the material to create most of its organs and systems. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, Omega 3 – EPA inhibits the enzyme that produces pro-inflammatory molecules in the body, EPA is one of the most effective treatments for excess inflammation!
A: Because your body can not function without them, and your body can not make them on its own. You must consume them from foods. And certain foods have higher concentrations of them than others. EPA and DHA are the forms your body can use, therefore other sources, such as ALA, need to be converted to EPA or DHA before the body can utilize them.
A: No, although Omega 6 is an essential fatty acids, it is not as beneficial as Omega 3. Many of our processed foods are filled with Omega 6. Also plant oils have high amounts of Omega 6. At these high levels, Omega 6 is inflammatory and becomes a pro-oxidant. Our standard diet consists of way too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3. It is important that we maintain a certain ratio between each, the optimal ratio is 4:1 or 3:1 ratio of Omega 6:3.
A: The best place to get the DHA/EPA form of Omega 3 is fish. The best sources of fish are sardines and anchovies because they are small fish with short life cycles so they accumulate less toxins. DHA is for brain and nerve development, concentrations of DHA in nerve tissue are 300x higher than anywhere else. EPA is for anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, and joint health benefits, EPA blocks Arachidonic Acid (AA), which is necessary to produce pro-inflammatory species in the body. If you’re vegetarian then you’ll need to get the ALA form from plant sources like Flaxseed Oil, Avocados, which the body will then synthesize to EPA/DHA in the body. However, the body is not that efficient in this conversion, therefor you want to consume more of these plant sources to get the proper amount of DHA/EPA.
A: At least 1 gram per day of DHA/EPA. If you’re focused on brain and/or cardiovascular health, at least 2-4 grams per day. There is no issue in taking more, I personally take up to 6-8 grams per day, but I do it through supplements because I worry about the mercury content in fish.
A: Do not look at the total Fish Oil content, look specifically at the amount of DHA and EPA in the product. The “other” fatty acids are not bad, but all the research has been done on the DHA/EPA forms so focus on how much you get of that.