How much do you know about omega-3? Chances are, you know that it is very beneficial for heart health and that it’s typically found in fish. The truth is, there’s more to omega-3 than that, both in terms of health benefits, and sources. Omega-3 can be obtained from many plants and animals. Furthermore, there are many types of omega-3, three of which are particularly important. This is because they contribute most notably to heart health, but also our overall bodily health in other ways as well. The three types are Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).
Two of those three types, EPA and DHA, are found in animal sources, including krill and fish. On the other hand, ALA is generally found in plant sources, such as flaxseed, and hemp, along with others. While all three types are beneficial, typically EPA and DHA are more heavily favored, because omega-3s from animals tend to offer us more significant health benefits. On top of that, the way our bodies function makes it much easier for us to absorb EPA and DHA. ALA, by comparison, is a little more difficult for us to make the most of. That being said, there is no reason to *not* take in ALA; just bear in mind it is ideal to also take in EPA and DHA whenever you consume ALA.
Because of the health benefits that they provide, it is not at all difficult to find omega-3 fish oil supplements in department stores, pharmacies, and nutrition clinics. Ideally, you can obtain sufficient omega-3s from your diet, but if you can’t, the supplements can make it much easier to maintain an adequate concentration of omega-3’s, specifically DHA and EPA, if you aren’t getting them naturally from your dietary habits. You probably have some understanding of the benefits of omega-3, but there are quite a few ways that the body can benefit from appropriate levels of all three of these omega-3 varieties.
It goes without saying that omega-3 is great for heart health. For example, one Italian study found that individuals who had experienced heart attacks were able to greatly reduce their odds of suffering additional heart attacks by regularly supplementing their diets with fish oils. How does omega-3 help the heart? It increases the level of HDL cholesterol (the good kind) in the body, and at the same time, decreases the level of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). This leads to the reduction of buildup in the arteries that would otherwise make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood.