Omega 3 Fatty Acids

 Fatty acids are very important for the body. They are parts of cell membranes, they provide energy and they are the precursors for hormone like chemicals called prostaglandins and related regulators. These compounds have a range of activities including activation of immunity, controlling the release of digestive juices, pain sensing and constriction of air sacs in the lungs.

 The body can synthesize a lot of fatty acids, but there are some it cannot. These are called essential fatty acids, as they have to be supplemented externally through diet. These are the omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids play an important role in brain function and normal growth and development like stimulating skin and hair growth, maintaining bone health, regulating metabolism and maintaining reproductive health. However, omega 6 fatty acids are abundant in our diet. Most people don’t consume enough Omega 3 fatty acids. There are ample reasons to supplement these in our diet.

 Omega 3 fatty acids affect multiple organ systems from before birth till old age. They are vital parts of cell membranes. Through their interaction with other fatty acids in the membrane, the net effect is reduced inflammation. The extent of incorporation in the cell membrane is dependent on dietary intake. While they are important in all cells of the body, they are concentrated in high levels in the eyes and the brain. Because of this, it is beneficial in a plethora of eye and brain related conditions. Supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids reduces the risk of age related macular degeneration and improves night vision. Their concentration in the brain helps reduce depression, prevents cognitive decline and helps maintain neurocognitive function in certain people who are predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease. Omega 3 fatty acids also support cardiovascular health by lowering triglyceride levels, raising HDL levels and lowering blood pressure.

 These essential nutrients are available in both food and supplemental forms, but their absorption in the body depends on its form, age, overall health and disease status, genetics and other factors. Supplements are available in the form of natural triglycerides, ethyl esters, free fatty acids and phospholipids. Of these, triglyceride and phospholipid forms are more bioavailable than others, but consumption of all forms increases the levels of plasma omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are found in fish and seafood, nuts and seeds such as flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts, plant oils such as flax seed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil and fortified foods. This is the reason we have incorporated these seeds in all our bars. Though it may not meet all recommended daily allowance (for which you may have to take supplements), it’s still a tasty way to get your Omega 3’s!