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DHA EPA ALA Explained – So You Can Understand These Fatty Acids

DHA EPA ALA Explained in a very non scientific manner.  There is much scientific information available, all you have to do is search for it 🙂 So, in my words:

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Omega-3, which is the name for a combination of fatty acids.  These fatty acids are not at all alike, and there is a lot of confusion about them.  As a matter of fact, not many people even know that the exist.  Sure, they heard the terms, but it really means nothing to them.

First, Fatty Acids – What are they? (Fatty acids are acids produced when fats are broken down.)

Essential fatty acids:  We need these fats.  Hence “Essential Fatty Acids”, they are essential for our well being.  These are fats sealogix_oil2that we need to ingest, our bodies cannot make these, or, derive these from other sources.  We have to eat them, or take supplements to get them into our system. THESE ARE THE GOOD FATS. Saturated fatty acids: Saturated fat is a type of fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturatedfatty acids.  These are the heart attacks, the plaque.  They are the bad fat! This fat remains hard – even at room temperature.

Foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include animal fats such as cream, cheese, butter and ghee; suet, tallow, lard and fatty meats; as well as certain vegetable products such as coconut oil, cottonseed oil, palm kernel oil, chocolate, and many prepared foods.


Unsaturated fatty acids: A fat derived from plant and some animal sources, especially fish, that is liquid at room temperature. Intake of foods containing more unsaturated fats than saturated fats may contribute to reduced blood cholesterol levels.

Further Broken Down:

Polyunsaturated fatty acids Many common vegetable oils (e.g., soybean, corn and sunflower oil), fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, smelt, herring and trout), fish oils, flax seed, sunflower seeds, soybeans and some nuts (e.g., walnuts) contain a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Monounsaturated fatty acids Olive oil, canola oil, high oleic sunflower oil, avocados and certain nuts (e.g., cashews, pecans, almonds and peanuts) contain a high proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids.

Trans fats: These are killers, you need to stay away from them: These are found naturally in small amounts in certain foods (e.g., dairy products, beef and lamb). Also, small amounts of trans fats are formed during the refining of liquid vegetable oils (e.g., canola and soybean oil). Trans fats are also created when manufacturers use a process called “partial hydrogenation.” This process turns liquid oil into a semi-solid form, such as shortening or margarine.

Here are the full name of the fatty acids in omega3

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) Essential Fatty Acid
– Cold water ocean fish are an excellent source of DHA
– DHA is most abundantly found in the brain and in the retina.  I am thinking, that’s why omega 3 is so necessary for heart health and eye health
– DHA deficiencies have a tremendous ill effect on our bodies, as you can well imagine.  And, unfortunately, many North Americans are sadly lacking in this fatty acid in their diet.

(Eicosapentaenoic Acid) Essential Fatty Acid
– EPA is an Omega 3 Fatty Acid and it is a polyunsaturated acid by nature
– The body can’t make EPA fatty acid, and must get it from food or supplement sources. It also has many benefits

So I’m thinking that now you understand why you need to ingest, (by fish or supplement) Omega 3!  And, If you read my whole blog, you will also know the many benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids!

And, Finally, ALA – Alpha-Linolenic acid
is an organic compound found in many common vegetable oils
– Alpha-linolenic acid is a type of omega-3 (it is not actually an omega 3) fatty acid found in plants
– Alpha-linolenic acid can – and musb be-converted into EPA and DHA in the body. Hence, some professionals say it is NOT as efficient as ingesting the Omega 3 fatty acids.   Alpha-linolenic acid is highly concentrated in flaxseed oil and, to a lesser degree also in canola, soy, perilla, and walnut oils.

Here are some posts that relate to DHA EPA and ALA

PS, these article / posts / website is never meant to diagnose or treat or even advise.


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