We often hear Omega 3 oils being called “Essential Fatty Acids” this is because our bodies are not capable of making them i.e. it’s essential to obtain them through diet or supplementation.
While plant-based Omega 3 fats are important, it’s the EPA and DHA from marine sources that are key for our health.
3 main components:
ALA (α-Linolenic acid) – from plant sources
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) – from marine sources
DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) – from marine sources
EPA and DHA is very low in plant-based sources so must be obtained from fish or microalgae.
EPA and DHA are so important in fact, they are in mother’s breast milk. They are crucial for health throughout the lifespan, from prenatal development through to healthy ageing.
Once consumed, they are incorporated into our cell membranes. They are used to make chemical messengers which influence tissue health in joints, heart, brain and eyes.
Where you can get Omega 3s?
Best plant sources (ALA):
• Flaxseed (also known as Linseed)
• Chia Seeds
• Hemp seeds
• Canola oil
Some plant-based Omega 3s can be converted into EPA and DHA but our bodies are not efficient at this job, so it’s only a small amount.
Best Marine sources (EPA & DHA)
• Marine microalgae
For a better world, it’s important to choose sustainably sourced fish. In NZ the most sustainable sources of EPA & DHA are anchovies, blue mackerel, pilchards and marine microalgae. (According to NZ Forest & Bird Best Fish Guide 2017)
What’s the difference between EPA and DHA?
EPA and DHA work together, both are important for the health of cells in the brain, joint, eye, heart and blood vessels.
DHA is particularly important for brain health and function. The body uses EPA to support healthy balance of prostaglandin chemical messengers. EPA helps the body to broadcast good messages to support healthy tissue.
What are EPA & DHA important for?
DHA makes up 20% of our grey matter.
• Fetal and childhood neural development and mental focus
• Mental clarity and focus throughout the lifespan
• Mood and emotional well-being
• Maintenance of cognitive function in old age
The optic nerve is made of the same tissue as the brain.
• Eye growth and development
• Visual acuity, healthy ageing of cells in our eyes
• Fluidity of cells and membranes in the eye
• Coronary vessels that supply oxygen to the heart
• Healthy blood pressure
• Healthy triglycerides levels
• Healthy HDL and LDL cholesterol ratios
Joint health depends on EPA for healthful messages.
• Joint tissue health
EPA & DHA are also important for supporting healthy blood sugar balance and maintenance of healthy skin condition for positive ageing.
Eating plenty of beautiful, colourful fruit and veges will supply protective plant chemicals to support tissue health in these areas too.
Although fish are a dietary source of Omega 3 fatty acids, fish do not synthesize them; they obtain them from the algae (microalgae in particular) that they eat. For people who prefer plant based options, or want to avoid fish, BioBalance High Strength Vegan Omega 3 is now available.
This high strength, vegan omega 3 supplement derived from marine microalgae is a rich source of EPA and DHA, provides 100% of your recommended daily intake of omega 3 and has added vitamin D3 to support mood and a healthy immune system.