Where do EPA and DHA come from?
When we discuss “omega-3 fatty acids” we generally refer EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). “Omega-3 enriched” foods sometimes contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a “vegetable omega-3″.
Plant derived Omega-3 (ALA) is not so effective
Indeed, this is also an omega-3 fatty acid but unfortunately it has only very limited (if at all) beneficial health effect for our body. According to numerous clinical studies, only approximately 1/10th of the ingested ALA can be converted in our bodies to the physiologically active EPA. Nothing of the ALA can be converted to the important DHA because our human body lacks the necessary enzyme for this conversion. Therefore EPA and DHA must be directly found in our diet.
By far the most important food source of EPA and DHA is oily, cold water marine fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel, tuna, herring and salmon.
These fish do not synthesize the EPA and DHA themselves but ingest them with their diet rich in cold salt water algae. Thus, algae or algae oil is also a potential source for EPA and DHA. However, unfortunately, no one has yet developed a cost effective way to extract the omega-3 rich oils from algae. Therefore EPA and/or DHA originating from natural algae sources are still very expensive, generally too expensive for the consumer. Beps Biopharm has established relationships with several algae farmers to ensure that we can be among the first companies to launch an 100% vegetable based omega-3 supplement when available.. The following two tables show the relationship between saturated/polyunsaturated fats, omega6 and omega3 and may serve as an helpful guide for you to choose a more healthy diet.
It is very important to remember that the values given in the two tables above are indicative. They are not absolute values. The composition of the fat of the animals changes with their diet, temperature, season of the year, etc.. However they do serve as a good orientation.