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Understanding Omega-3: Why EPA & DHA are superior to ALA

When we see ‘Omega-3’ splashed across product labelling we immediately feel good, and rightly so. Omega-3s are known as essential fatty acids for a reason!

However, there is a world of difference between Omega-3s and it does lead to individuals believing they are getting benefits when they may not be.

What are the key Omega-3s and what are the differences?

Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) is a short chain Omega-3 fatty acid. It is found in a variety of plants and seed oils. The human body cannot make ALA, it is obtained through our diet.

Eicosapentaeonic Acid (EPA) is a long chain Omega-3 fatty acid. The most common source of EPA is oily fish. Our body can produce EPA out of ALA, but the conversion rate is very low.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a long chain Omega-3 fatty acid. It is also mostly found in oily fish. Our body can convert EPA to DHA to a limited extent.

Flax, Chia, Blackcurrant seeds etc. as sources of Omega-3

Seed oils such as Flaxseed, Chia, Blackcurrant all contain Omega-3 in the form of Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). ALA needs to be converted by the body into Eicosapentaenoic Acid.

However, the conversion rate is low and inconsistent. In fact while most research suggests a conversion rate of ALA to EPA of 5%, some research has suggested the conversion rate can be lower and even zero. The key point is that individuals consuming Flax and other seed oils with the intention of obtaining meaningful levels of Omega-3 will not be fulfilling their aims through such products.

 

In short, consuming even large quantities of Flaxseed, Chia, Blackcurrant and other seed oils may well be good for you generally, but as sources of bioavailable Omega-3s, probably not so useful. 

Algal Omega-3: the solution to bioavailable Omega-3s

The key Omega-3s we require are Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaeonic Acid (EPA). This is because these Omega-3s are in bioavailable forms meaning the body can absorb and utilise them directly without any conversion or modification required.

In the past the only dietary source of meaningful levels of DHA and EPA was oily fish. In recent years DHA was successfully obtained from Algae, which opened up new opportunities for Vegan and Vegetarian Omega-3 supplements. More recently we have managed to create an Algal Omega-3 formula not only rich in DHA but also EPA. This is what makes Opti3 so special.

Algal Omega-3: cutting out the middle man (fish)

 Opti3 Omega-3 EPA & DHAFish do not naturally produce Omega-3 in the forms of DHA and EPA. Research found the reason they accumulate high levels of these Omega-3s is because of their Algae-rich diet.

To cut a huge amount of research and development down into an unfairly simple summary, all we’ve done is cut out the ‘middle fish’ and go straight to the algae.

Extensive research and development work has allowed us to obtain not only high levels of DHA from Algae, but also EPA. We are very proud of the high strength formula in Opti3.

 

Opti3 is unique because not only does it contain a high level of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), it also contains a level dose of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), plus a dose of Vitamin D3. It is 100% vegan and vegetarian-suitable, offering Omega-3s in exactly the bioavailable forms the body requires.

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