The Potential Health Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
There has been a great deal of research over the past few decades on the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids to human health. It has been found that the omega 3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, which can help in the regulation or prevention of many ailments, such as arthritis, allergies, IBD, asthma and even cancer.
EPA and DHA, found mainly in oily fish and in algae (kelp), are also thought to contribute greatly to cardiovascular health, reducing the 'bad' cholesterol, raising the 'good' cholesterol, preventing clots and furring of the arteries, and lowering blood pressure. In addition, these two important fatty acids have an important function in the brain, helping to alleviate depression and aid concentration. They may even help to prevent serious diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
These medical benefits make it absolutely crucial to include omega 3s in our daily diets, whether through natural food sources or through omega 3 fatty acid supplements. It is important to note though that not all omega 3 fatty acids can produce these health benefits; alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in plant-based sources, such as flaxseed, has not demonstrated these health effects. However, ALA is converted by the body into a small amount of EPA and then into DHA, and so can indirectly produce these effects to a small extent.
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