Omega-3: A Fatty Acids Essential for Health

Omega-3 fatty acids receive a lot of attention from the scientific community on a regular basis, and with good reason. These fats have been found to have a positive impact on our overall health as they are found in the membranes of the cells in the body where they positively impact signal pathways, as well as overall cellular health. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can positively impact many aspects of our physical and mental health, some of these include:

  • Heart Health – Researcher suggests that omega-3 may improve heart health outcomes, [1-4]. In addition, studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids decrease triglycerides and may lower blood pressure [5-9] .
  • Mood – Research suggests that individuals who consume higher amounts of fish, a source of omega-3 or have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood are less likely to report signs and symptoms of depression[10-12]. Furthermore, additional studies suggest that omega-3 may help to alleviate depression and help regulate mood [13, 14].
  • Brain Health – Omega-3 has also been linked to improved cognitive health in a variety of people, including healthy young people and the senior population [15-19]

So, what are omega-3 fatty acids and where are they found?
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, meaning we have to get them from the diet for good health, as our body can’t produce them. Of the omega-3 essential fatty acids there are 3 that stand out. They are:

  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid),
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

ALA is found in greater quantities in green leafy vegetables, plant oils, including nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flaxseeds. While ALA is an omega-3 to provide the health benefits associated with omega-3 it must be converted into the longer-chain EPA or DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, the human body isn’t great at converting ALA. Studies show that we convert ALA into EPA and DHA at a rate of about 5% [20, 21].  This means that while foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds are healthy foods to get in the diet and sources of ALA, they are not very efficient at providing EPA and DHA due to this limited conversion.

Direct sources of the omega-3 EPA and DHA are marine oils, such as fish oils and algal oils.

What about supplementation?
Many people choose to supplement their diet with a fish or algal oil as a direct source of the health promoting omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

When selecting a supplement choosing a product that has been third party tested by a program like PureCheck is a great to ensure the product is high quality. With PureCheck you can access the third party test results for potency, purity and oxidation for each lot of product online ( The results are accessible 24/7 online to provide assurance you are getting a product that is potent, pure and tastes great.



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