The term ‘Omega-3’ might sound like it belongs in sci-fi movie, but Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The term Omega-3 describes the structure (for those interested, its due to the presence of a double bond three atoms away from the terminal methyl group. OK, I'll get back to the lab!). Omega-3s are essential for our health.
The term ‘Omega‑3’ might sound like it belongs in sci-fi movie, but is actually an essential fatty acid.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential for our health.
The main omega-3 forms are DHA, EPA and ALA Omega-3. DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is responsible for making up 40% of the grey matter and is absolutely vital component of the brain and the retina. EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) stimulates powerful anti-inflammatory processes in the body, so is essential for joint health. DHA and EPA are the forms of Omega-3 typically found in fish. ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) is a form of Omega-3 found in Flax, Chia and other seed oils but needs to be converted by the body into EPA and DHA to be of use. Unfortunately the conversion rate from ALA to EPA is a maximum of 5% and ALA to DHA a maximum of 0.5%.
So when it comes to getting Omega-3 into our diet, sources high in DHA and EPA are preferred over those high in ALA. Indeed, due to the low conversion rate, you would need to take about a month's supply of Flaxseed (ALA) to obtain the equivalent bio-available Omega-3 as you would obtain from a single day's supply of Fish Oil (DHA & EPA).
What if you don’t eat oily fish, follow a plant-based diet or just don’t support unethical fishing practices? How do you ensure you are getting enough of the strands of Omega-3 you need without fish oil supplements?
Fish-Oil Free Omega‑3 DHA & EPA Source
Well, thankfully there is a fish oil alternative that does contain Omega-3 DHA and EPA, the forms your body needs. And the story of this source also begins in the oceans...
To identify a fish oil free alternative for those following a plant-based or planet-conscious diet, scientists started with the premise that fish don’t naturally produce Omega-3 DHA & EPA: they get it from their diet of algae. The big fish eat the little fish… who eat the Omega-3 rich algae in the ocean.
So scientists decided to cut out the middleman… or middle fish in this case! By going straight to the source, the algae rich in Omega-3, it is possible to have a plant source without compromising on quality and health benefits. The ocean bed is a complex ecosystem and small fish rely on this algae and seaweed to survive, so disturbing this ecosystem to obtain Omega-3 rich algae could be a damaging thing. So scientists decided to grow this algae in thanks at a Pharmaceutical-quality setting, which also means that the algae is cultivated in conditions just like the seawater but without the pollutants that unfortunately affect many of our seas and oceans now. The end result is a high quality, plant-based source of Omega-3 DHA and EPA.
Is Plant-Based Omega‑3 DHA & EPA as effective as fish oil Omega‑3?
Change is often met with resistance. People are used to fish oil being a recognised source of Omega-3 DHA and EPA and consider plant-based fish oil alternatives to be less effective. Many people question whether plant-based Omega-3 do as good a job. The answer is a resounding yes!
Here are 3 reasons why:
Is it time you gave plant-based Omega‑3 a try?
If you, as many people have, considered fish oil Omega-3 to be superior to plant-based alternatives, perhaps it’s time to think again. Fish oil alternatives will be at least as effective as traditional fish oil Omega-3 supplements, and can actually be the preferred option. Approximately 50 fish are killed for each bottle of Fish Oil Omega-3 supplement. Many people, regardless of their diet, agree that ending the needless killing of fish for fish oil supplements (when a perfectly viable, pure plant-sourced alternative is available) is a positive move.
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Looking after our health and wellbeing includes a healthy diet, regular exercise and getting enough sleep, but often we can turn to supplements to help too.
If you regularly take a vitamin supplement, a vegan supplement or even just a tablet to help your overall health,