ALA is an omega-3 essential fatty acid. This means the body needs to get ALA from dietary sources in order to function properly, and cannot make up ALA using other nutrients. Unfortunately, the modern diet contains a lot less ALA than our ancestors’ used to. The “Western” diet contains far fewer nuts, seeds and dark green, leafy vegetables than in earlier times, and omega-3s are easily damaged during heating and other forms of food processing. Because it can be difficult to get sufficient dietary omega-3s, many nutritionists recommend using omega-3 supplements, such as flaxseed oil.
Omega-3s play an important role in many biochemical processes. Research suggests benefits in the following areas:
– Strong anti-inflammatory properties
– Lower blood pressure
– Improved cardiovascular health
– Healthy skin
– Reduced symptoms of ADHD
– Healthy brain development in children
Daily recommended intake of EPA and DHA
Int’l Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids 650mg
US National Institute of Health 650mg
Australian National Health and Medical Research Council 610mg
American Heart Association 250-500mg
The US Food and Drug Administration recommends not exceeding 3 grams per day of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, with no more than 2 grams per day from a dietary supplement.