Cold-water fish and plant matter such as flax seed oil, both provide Omega-3 fatty acid. But do they both provide the same quality of Omega-3? This article will examine the fatty acids you receive from cold-water fish and those you receive from plant matter.
Omega-3 is also known as an Essential Fatty Acid (EFA). This is because the body cannot produce it and the body must get it from diet or supplements. Cold-water fish that provide EFAs are such fish as wild Alaskan salmon, cod, trout and sardines to name a few. Essentially, the oily the fish the better the source of EFA.
Plant material that can provide you with EFA are such items as walnuts, flax seed oil, pumpkin seeds, dark green leafy vegetables and soy beans to name a few.
Omega-3 From Cold Water Fish
The fatty acids you get from fish are DHP (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). The fatty acid DHP is used in the brain to improve mental focus and has been determined to prevent depression and improve people who have depression. It is also used in the retina to improve vision.
EPA is used by the rest of the body to improve heart function, prevent some cancers, reduce cholesterol and provides many other health benefits to the body.
Omega-3 From Plant Material
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The fatty acid you get from plant material is called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). This is different from that received from fish. Where as DHP and EPA can be absorbed immediately by the body, ALA cannot. ALA must first be converted by the body to DHP and EPA before it can be used. The amount that is converted varies on who your source is, from one per cent up to twenty-five per cent.
Based on the need to convert ALA first, and the low conversion rate, it is questionable as to the effectiveness of the health benefits provided by plant matter EFAs, as compared to the EFAs provided by cold-water fish.
The EFAs you receive from fish is different from the EFAs you receive from plant matter. Fish provide fatty acids in the form of DHA and EPA that can be immediately used by the body. Plant matter; on the other hand, provide fatty acid in the form of ALA. This needs to be converted to DHA and EPA before it can be used. The ALA conversion rate is somewhere less than twenty-five per cent.
The effectiveness of plant material providing the needed amount of ESF is questionable because of the need to be converted to be of any use.
To learn more about the benefits of Omega-3, and receive a free e-book which discuses all the benefits of Omega-3 at Walter Chase’s web site Good Fatty Acids.
Flax seed crackers
Image by papertygre Oven-dehydrated golden flax seed crackers. Yum.
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