ALA, EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the functioning of the human body. ALA is alpha-linolenic acid, EPA is eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA is docosahexaenoic acid.
Together they are all essential because they cannot be made in the human body. Small amounts of DHA can be converted from ALA, but not enough for optimum health.
The omega 3 fatty acids, like other fatty acids, are used by the body to produce unique compounds know as eicosanoids.
These are similar to the hormones produced in the body and help to regulate all types of functioning. This includes the major body systems as well as each individual cell.
ALA, EPA, DHA omega 3 fatty acids are usually also found with omega 6 fatty acids. This is known as gamma linolenic acid or GLA. Both are fats that are beneficial to the body and need to be consumed on a regular basis.
Think of the eicosanoids as little control molecules that are found throughout the body. They are helpful to keep blood pressure constant and correct as well as to help to balance cholesterol and triglycerides.
This is why DHA and EPA in the form of krill oil supplements are found to be beneficial in cardiovascular health.
In addition the eicosanoids also help to reduce inflammation at a cellular level. This means that they will also help to control both pain as well as swelling.
People with chronic joint pain and arthritis and related conditions may find that daily krill oil supplements dramatically reduce the symptoms of the conditions.
Women during pregnancy and when nursing need to have a good source of omega 3 fatty acids in their diet. This is because omega 3s are essential in the brain and cellular development of the baby.
The mother must increase her intake to supplement both herself and the fetus and nursing child.
There is always confusion about which option is best when it comes to Omega fatty acids. This is because many people don't realize that omega 3 fatty acids are actually best sourced from fish. Omega 6 fatty acids are more common in plant sources.
There are some microalgae that are found in very deep, cold waters that are an excellent source of both DHA and EPA. This is the only food source for the tiny krill that is used to make krill oil.
Krill oil, in turn, is very rich in DHA, EPA and several other beneficial compounds. These include astaxanthin and phospholipids. Having the right combination of all these compounds is the best option for health.
There are two key points to remember when thinking about omega 3 fatty acids and your health. The first is that DHA omega 3 is essential in your diet to keep your entire body regulated and functioning correctly.
The second is that DHA is an essential fatty acid and has to be consumed on a daily basis as the body cannot make it on its own.