April 1, 2016

HEALTHY FATTY ACIDS

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential, which means that the body cannot produce them itself so they have to be a part of your diet. The exception is females in a fertile age, which have the ability to produce small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. However, intake of omega-3 fatty acids through the diet is still recommended for females in this group.

Omega-3 is a collective term for a group of long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA. ALA is from plants can be converted to EPA and DHA in fish and many animals, this conversion in adult humans is less than 1% efficient.  In other words, since so little ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA in humans, it is important to get more of these nutrients through the things we eat; or if we can’t, through supplements.

Limited conversion of ALA to EPH/DHA is well documented.

Following are the EFSA approved health claims for EPA and DHA (Commission Regulation (EU) 1924/2006 and 432/2012):

  • DHA and EPA contribute to the normal function of the heart (0.25 g per day)
  • DHA and EPA contribute to the maintenance of normal blood pressure (3 g per day)
  • DHA and EPA contribute to the maintenance of normal blood triglyceride levels (2 g per day)
  • DHA contributes to maintenance of normal blood triglycerid levels (2 g per day in combination with EPA)
  • DHA contributes to maintenance of normal brain function (0.25 g per day)
  • DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal vision (0.25 g per day)
  • DHA maternal intake contributes to the normal brain development of the foetus and breastfed infants (0.2 g DHA plus the daily reccomenden intake of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA+DHA for aduls which is 0.25 g per day).
  • DHA maternal intake contributes to the normal development of the eye of the fetus and breastfed infants (0.2 g DHA plus the daily recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA+DHA) for adults which is 0.25 g per day).

If you want to take a closer look at the EU register of nutrition and health claims, click here.

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