WHY OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our health and provide many health benefits. Our body doesn’t produce omega-3 fatty acids on its own, meaning they must be obtained through food. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids, the most important for our health being DHA, EPA and ALA. DHA and EPA are primarily found in fish (note that the fatty acids are originally synthesized by microalgae, not by the fish), while ALA is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds.
A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids typically manifest in rough, scaly skin and dermatitis, and DHA plasma and tissue levels decrease when an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is present. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can benefit heart health, brain health, immune/inflammatory responses, skin/hair, eyes, joints and more. Intake of DHA and EPA is typically low in vegan and vegetarian diets; ALA can be converted to DHA and EPA, and steps such as reducing linoleic acid intake can help optimize this process.
- Saunders AV, Davis BC, Garg ML. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vegetarian diets. Med J Aust. 2013;199(S4):S22‐S26.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS?
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is important for brain function, and depends on dietary intake. A 2012 study reviewed the cognitive abilities of 176 healthy adult participants and found that those who consumed 1.16 g of DHA (omega 3s) /day showed improved memory on computerized cognitive tests compared to the placebo group (1).
Decreases in DHA plasma is associated with cognitive decline in healthy elderly adults as well as Alzheimer’s patients, and a study examined whether DHA supplementation improved cognitive performance in elderly adults with ARCD (age related cognitive decline). 485 subjects aged 55 and older were randomly assigned 900 mg/d of oral DHA or a placebo for 24 weeks. Results showed that 900 mg/d supplementation of DHA improved memory and learning function of adults with ARCD and is beneficial in supporting cognitive health and aging (2).
- Stonehouse W, Conlon CA, Podd J, et al. DHA supplementation improved both memory and reaction time in healthy young adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97(5):1134‐1143. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053371
- Yurko-Mauro K, McCarthy D, Rom D, et al. Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimers Dement. 2010;6(6):456‐464. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2010.01.013
Research has shown supportive (but inconclusive) evidence that combined intake of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids from both food and supplements may reduce risk of hypertension by lowering blood pressure (1)..
- FDA Announces Qualified Health Claims for Omega-3 Fatty Acids Federal Drug Administration, FDA News Release, 2004
Our omega-3 fatty acid is plant-based and sourced from organic chia seeds and spirulina. Chia seeds are high in linoleic acid, a fatty acid that helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. They also pack quite a punch with 8x more omega 3s than salmon, 3x more antioxidants than blueberries, and 15x more magnesium than broccoli.
What kind of Omega-3 fatty acid is the best?
There are three different kinds of Omega-3’s (but that’s not where the name comes from): ALA (α-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). ALA typically comes from plants, while DHA and EPA more commonly come from fish. It’s important to have a balance of all three in your diet, and in fact all three are in GEM! Where do fish get their DHA and EPA from, you ask? The very same algae that you do when you bite into your daily GEM. To round things off, the ALA in GEM comes from chia seeds, which are one of the highest sources of ALA out there.
How much Omega-3 should I take each day?
Recommendations for how much Omega-3 to eat vary widely, and an official nutritional recommendation is not published by the FDA. However, the National Academy of Medicine recommends about 1g of daily Omega-3 as the “Adequate Intake” for adult women, which you can consider to be the safe upper end recommendation.