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What should you know about omega-3 fatty acids?

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Omega-3s may help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. These healthy fats are being added to everything from eggs to peanut butter. You can also get them naturally in fish, including salmon and tuna.

There are different types of omega-3s: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

Your body can turn ALA into DHA and EPA, though not very efficiently. So, many dietitians recommend getting DHA and EPA. (Only about 15% of the plant based ALA can be converted to DHA and EPA in the body.) While there's no standard recommendation for how many omega-3s we need, dieticians consider the Adequate Intake (AI) for adults to be 1600 milligrams (mg) for men and 1100 mg for women. You can find more than 500 mg in a can of tuna or a few ounces of salmon. Some fortified foods offer 100 mg or more.

From: Your Omega-3 Family Shopping List WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: Pereira, C.   , July 2001. University of Maryland Medical Center: "Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)." Peck, P. , Nov. 11, 2004. Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute: "Essential Fatty Acids." WebMD Medical Reference: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids."




International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition ResearchMedscape Medical News

Reviewed by Ellen Stokes on June 3, 2019

SOURCES: Pereira, C.   , July 2001. University of Maryland Medical Center: "Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)." Peck, P. , Nov. 11, 2004. Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute: "Essential Fatty Acids." WebMD Medical Reference: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids."




International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition ResearchMedscape Medical News

Reviewed by Ellen Stokes on June 3, 2019

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