Why you might want extra EPA and DHA than you are getting

Although EPA, DHA, and ALA are all long-chain PUFAs, ALA is the shortest of the three. To be a bit more scientific, EPA has 20 carbons and double bonds, DHA has 22 carbons and six double bonds, and ALA has 18 carbons and three double bonds. As these chemical differences indicate, they are the only three fats that play a unique role in our physiological health and well-being.

Another difference is availability. Follow Chip Lavie, MD, FACC, FACP, FCCP, Medical director of cardiac prevention and rehabilitation at Ochsner Health.

In contrast, EPA and DHA are not widely found in the food supply. nor are these marine omega-3s widely consumed of the Americans. And since only a small amount of ALA is converted to EPA and DHA, we are missing these PUFA MVPs overtime for heart, brain, redox balance and more. * “Generating EPA and DHA from ALA is possible but very inefficient, and achieving optimal levels of the omega-3 index is nearly impossible with ALA alone,” says Harris.

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