The power of 3's
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids: ALA, EPA, DHA— WTF?
Schoolhouse Rock said it best, “Three is A Magic Number”— its the magic formula for making us laugh, presenting ideas, and even helping us process information. In the 2nd installment of the Omega Series we’re applying the Power Of Three to what else? Omega 3s!
With deficiency symptoms like: dandruff, hair-loss, fatigue, dry skin, PMS, depression, and anxiety, its no surprise that the power of these fatty acids extends beyond just being “essential”. They are called Essential Fatty Acids because the body does not produce them which means that we must get them through the diet or supplmentation. Omega 3s act as a starting point for making hormones — these regulate things like how blood clots & and contractions of the artery walls. These Essential Fatty Acids also bind to receptors in cells that actually regulate genetic function— aka that other 3 letter word DNA!!!
Although the majority of research on Omega 3s has been focused primarily on the heart and cardivasculor benefits, The Power of Omega 3 has been shown to also have the following benefits for our health:
Improves Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Promotes Brain Health & development of the brain in the womb
Can Improve Vision and overall eye health
Fights Depression and Anxiety
May reduce symptoms of ADD and ADHD
May reduce symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Can improve Mental Disorders
Fights Age related decline and Alzheimers
May prevent Cancers
Reduces symptoms of Asthma
Reduces Fat in the liver
Improves Bone and Joint health and integrity
May alleviate menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms
Fights Auto-immune Disorders
Improves the quality of skin & skin conditions like eczema
Omega 3s, essential like our three unalienable rights, “Life, Liberty and The pursuit of Happiness” — but are they all created equally? Out of the 11 different types of omega 3 fatty acids— three take top priority in benefiting our health. ALAs, EPAs, and DHAs— together they improve the health of the brain, heart, and body. But you know what else they say,“threes a crowd”.
Although ALA (alpha linolenic acid) is the most abundant Omega 3 found in dietary sources, its not very bioavailable. To utilize ALA, the body must first convert it to EPA and DHA….which it doesn’t do very well, thus minimizing the total EPA and DHA produced which is where all the amazing health benefits start to happen!
Fast-forwarding to the bottom line: use it or lose it, (and we’re not all great at using it). However, the body can actually improve it’s ability to convert the omega 3 foods you’re eating into more usable forms of Fatty Acids— it’s dependent upon having adequate levels of other nutrients like B6, B7, Copper, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, and Iron— The Daily Essentials needed for the Essential Fatty Acids. Lifestyle Factors can also increase or decrease our ability to convert. While high alcohol intake and elevated levels of vitamin A can hinder conversion, things like sex, can help improve it. The conversion ability of non-meat eaters has been a source of debate in the Omega World but, the newest research has shown that plant based diets actually INCREASE conversion— perhaps due to the higher consumption of those necessary nutrients.
In our upcoming Omega Blog, we’re sharing our top choices for omega 3 foods- and how they stack up against their fishy competition!