OMEGA-3 EPA & DHA – WHY QUALITY OF FATS MATTERS?
The quality of fats is important for the normal functions of the human body. There are four types of fats humans get from nutrition: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and the harmful group of fats – trans fats.
But what kind of fats are good for your health then? Saturated fats are not necessarily harmful but a diet rich in saturated fats may increase the detrimental LDL cholesterol in your blood. Polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats are the most healthful fat qualities and polyunsaturated fats (like fish and krill oil) are the most essential fats for humans, which for example, decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol if used instead of saturated fats. There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (1).
In this blog post, we’ll explain to you the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids called EPA, DHA and ALA.
ESSENTIAL OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS DHA, EPA AND ALA
Fish is traditionally known as a good food source of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. Sources of omega-3 usually contain several different fatty acids and you may have heard of the most beneficial ones - docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These ALA, DHA, and EPA are long-chain fatty acids with plenty of researched health benefits.
BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS EPA, DHA AND ALA
They all are necessary fatty acids for normal health. EPA and DHA have many EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) approved health benefits, which we have listed below:
- EPA and DHA support normal health of eyes & brain*
Did you know that your brain is nearly 60% fat and DHA is the main fatty acid of the nervous system, brain, and eyes? The highest concentration of DHA in the body is found in the retina, whilst it has an essential role for healthy vision. A daily diet rich in omega-3 sources contributes to the maintenance of healthy vision and normal brain function.
- EPA and DHA contribute to heart & blood health*
It has been scientifically proved that DHA helps to maintain normal blood triglyceride levels and the daily intake of DHA and EPA together contributes to normal blood pressure. These effective fatty acids are also good for the maintenance of fasting triglycerides levels in the blood and omega-3 fatty acids are especially good for a healthy heart.
- They are good for the normal brain and visual development of infants and fetus*
Consumption of omega-3 sources is vitally important for pregnant women as the body likely needs more omega-3 fatty acids (especially EPA and DHA) during pregnancy to support fetal growth. EPA and DHA have proven to contribute particularly to the normal development of the fetus brain and eyes. The usual reason for a deficit in omega-3 during pregnancy is related to concerns about the adverse effects of mercury. (2)
- ALA is good for the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.
And for vegans and people allergic to fish or shellfish ALA is especially important, as it’s able to convert small amounts of fatty acids to EPA and DHA form. If you are vegan, your diet should consist of ALA so that you get enough of these fatty acids.
KRILL OIL CAPSULES TO SUPPORT OMEGA-3 INTAKE
Krill oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. What makes krill oil superior compared to many other fish oil-based omega-3 supplements, is that its fatty acids are attached to phospholipids. It is highly bioavailable, doesn’t cause fishy burps and contains naturally astaxanthin and choline. Astaxanthin is a strong antioxidant, and it protects the krill oil capsules from oxidation naturally – which means no preservatives needed. Choline is an important nutrient for the body.
WHAT ARE GOOD FOOD SOURCES OF OMEGA-3?
The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fishes such as salmon, mackerel, and sea bass, which is rich in EPA and DHA fatty acids. The best vegan sources that are rich in ALA are, for example, walnuts, hemp seeds, and flax seeds.
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE OMEGA3 SUPPELEMENT?
Omega-3 supplements can be taken at any time during the day. However, we recommend taking them with food and preferably together with Vitamin D. If you split your vitamin intake during the day Omega-3 supplements could be most ideal to take, for example, with lunch and dinner. Read more about what vitamins and supplements to take and when from our other blog.
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*Claims used in this blog are approved by EFSA.