DHA Vs ALA Vs EPA Omega 3 Health Benefits

Essential nutrients are nutrients that the human body requires for its normal functioning. A majority of essential nutrients are metabolically important, but organisms cannot synthesize them. These nutrients must be obtained from dietary sources or supplements. Essential nutrients include dietary minerals, vitamins, essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Some of these essential nutrients are dangerous when taken in large quantities.

Omega 3 is an example of an essential nutrient. It is extracted from fatty fish such as salmon fish and is in vegan foods such as hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. It is the ALA or the alpha-linoleic acid that makes it essential. The ALA is readily found in a majority of vegan foods. A tablespoon of these products in the morning together with your favorite smoothie will definitely be a plus for your health needs. Apparently, ALA is the only ‘essential’ omega 3 that the body is unable to produce. EPA and DHA are Omega 3’s active fatty acids, and that makes them essentially important.

Omega 3 is a short-chain fatty acid and is extremely nourishing to the brain. In particular, it nourishes the part of the brain that deals with moods or cognition. For parents who want their children’s brains to develop healthily, omega 3 supplements do not go amiss. It has been proven to improve the IQ of children when taken early and consistently.

Moreover, the function of every cell membrane depends on Omega 3 and this means we cannot depend on daily foods since we are not eating fish on a daily basis. We would probably need to eat salmon daily, which would be unlikely for many people. Therefore, since Omega 3 is an essential nutrient, it is more desirable to ask people to supplement since our diets are rarely sufficient.

In addition, Omega 3 is an anti-inflammatory, and patients use it for regulating blood pressure. Also, it reduces the risks of terminal illnesses such as coronary heart disease and stroke by 40%. Omega 3 can also nourish the skin, making it look younger and more supple.

Why DHA And EPA?

When you think of the health benefits of Omega 3, DHA and EPA rich foods or supplements should be your first preference. The essence of these nutrients are well documented and largely recognized by scientists, nutritionists, and doctors across the globe. These nutrients are important for our everyday lives despite ones' gender or age.

DHA, which stands for docosahexaenoic acid, and EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, are both nutrients of omega 3 fatty acids that are extracted from absorbed dietary foods and ALA such as algae or salmon food. Technically, salmon gets omega 3 from algae and humans can source it from either algae or fish, and it is essentially the same thing. DHA is responsible for strengthening the brain, the CNS (Central Nervous System), and the eyes. On the other hand, EPA maintains a healthy immune system, the heart, and is also responsible for inflammatory responses.

How DHA And EPA Are Synthesized

For DHA and EPA to be completely synthesized, a sequence of reactions is stimulated. Three reactions synthesize EPA from ALA and consequently another four reactions convert EPA to DHA. The optimum of these reactions is accomplished through adequate supplies of B6 and B3 vitamins, and also zinc and magnesium. Nevertheless, these chemical processes may abort due to incomplete enzymatic activity. This means that the lack of enzymes can be an inhibiting factor for the process of converting ALA into DHA and EPA. Besides, the process may be disrupted due to other natural factors such as health, age, and genetics.

The type of diet you take also dictates whether or not the process will be complete. For instance, diets containing too many omega 6 fatty acids may be detrimental for the completion of the reactions. For westerners, the problem of omega 6 to omega 3 ratios is imbalanced due to the prevalence of fried foods, vegetable oils, and processed foods. The presence of omega 6 seriously causes a decline in the reactions that lead to the conversion of ALA to EPA and then to DHA. It is estimated that these conversions can decrease the rate of conversion by 40 or even 50% depending on the concentration of Omega 6.

Why We Should Be Worried

Omega 3 is the most vital for the functioning and also the structuring of the brain membranes. The human brain is made of 60% fat by dry weight and 97% of these fats are DHA. Literally, the brain is 58% DHA and the body converts it at a 1.9% rate.

By extension, DHA deficiencies lead to learning deficits and the risk of heart attack is at least 50% higher. The lack of DHA can also result in sudden onset Alzheimer’s. A daily intake of at least 200mg can reduce the risks of the above conditions incredibly. EPA is also equally important since it inhibits the production and synthesis of molecules responsible for inflammation that ultimately lead to the onset of heart disease, stroke, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and eczema.

DHA And EPA Review Summary

This information is based on evidence based studies with proven benefits to the consumer. There are no assumptions, only what has been established to be beneficial. There are many rich sources of Omega 3, especially DHA and EPA, that have indeed met the criteria. For starters, the fact that fish obtain Omega 3 nutrients from algae, which leads one to wonder…why wouldn’t we humans do the same?

Since Omega 3 cannot be sufficiently obtained from the diet, the plan is to find good supplements that will ensure one maximizes the benefits. Nonetheless, the supplements should be made from real, organic products and of high quality. The giant-sized capsules that taste like dirt are not necessary or helpful to your health. Be sure to consult your doctor before using any supplement, as they can help to ensure you are taking the best product for your needs. In addition, omega 3 nutrients can be obtained from the intake of foods such as broccoli, spinach, flaxseed, cauliflower, shrimp, salmon, and brussels sprouts.

As discussed in previous sections, Omega 3 is not only designed to improve heart health but also boost brain functioning, fight inflammations, cure depression, and is essential for healthy brain development in kids that prevents diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Generally, the ultimate heart and brain health depend on these essential nutrients. Therefore, the body not being able to synthesize EPA and DHA is indeed a big deal.

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