Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have been praised for their health benefits. Many health professionals recommend the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Some health benefits include: improves blood circulation by promoting the breakdown of fibrin (a compound involved in clot and scar formation), lowers circulating triglyceride levels, reduces blood pressure and your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Recent studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids help with memory and brain function. It has even been shown to have potent antioxidant properties. But one question remains. Are all forms of omega-3s created equal?
There are varieties to choose from: fish oil, cod liver oil, flax seed and chia seed are among the most common. What you may not know is that everyone will not benefit the same from plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids as they will from animal sources. It’s all about the EPA and DHA. Plant sources of omega-3s contain ALA (alpha linolenic acid) which requires an enzyme to be broken down to EPA and DHA. There is a percentage of the population that do not have this enzyme and therefore cannot complete the conversion. You are still getting healthy fats but not the most efficient forms.
The most potent and efficient mode of omega-3 delivery is fish oil. Choosing good quality is essential. It should not smell like fish. You may notice a slight hint of fish, if you have a sensitive nose, but nothing strong. This becomes tricky when taking fish oil capsules. Break one open and notice the freshness for yourself. Rotten oil can have negative health effects and should be avoided. The oil should always be stored away from light in a cool place to preserve its quality and integrity.
Carlson Laboratories is a long-time favorite of mine. They produce pure and high quality fish oil and cod liver oil supplements. Locally, Carlson’s fish oil can be found at Whole Foods and New Seasons Markets.