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Fatty Acids/Omegas

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What do Fatty Acids / Omegas do?
Essential fatty acids or EFAs are types of fat that humans and other animals must ingest to maintain good health as they cannot be synthesised in the body. Only two fatty acids are known to be essential for humans: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). Some other fatty acids ...Read more are sometimes classified as "conditionally essential," meaning that they can become essential under some developmental or disease conditions; examples include docosahexaenoic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and gamma-linolenic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid).

Am I getting enough Fatty Acids / Omegas?

Essential fatty acids play a part in a variety of metabolic processes, and there is evidence to suggest that low levels of essential fatty acids, or the wrong balance between different types, may be a factor contributing to a number of illnesses.

Fish is the main source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), omega-3s that thought to be protective for the cardiovascular system, but some plant-based foods also contain omega-3 in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The human body can convert ALA from plants into EPA and DHA to some degree, although EFA intake in vegetarians and vegans can be enhanced with supplementation e.g. EFA supplements made from algae.

How do I choose a Fatty Acids / Omega supplement?
You may also have seen products with omega-6 and omega-9. Omega-6 is a different kind of fatty acid that is found in meat products, grains, and seeds. An average Western diet has a far too high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats, possibly explaining susceptibility to inflammatory disorders. Omega-9 is commonly found in olive oil and occurs naturally in the human body, so it does not need to be supplemented. Omega-3 or balanced omega 3-6-9 supplements are useful when optimum intake of the different types of fats is not maintained through the diet.

If you would like help choosing a Fatty Acids / Omega supplement, or if you are taking any prescribed medication, give our nutritionists a call on 0345 2222 828 (option 3). 


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