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Free Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Sample Kit

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Omega fatty acids (popularly referred to as ω−3 fatty acids or omega-3 fatty acids) are a family of unsaturated fatty acids that have in common a final carbon–carbon double bond in the n−3 position; that is, the third bond from the methyl end of the fatty acid. Nutritionally important n−3 fatty acids include α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), all of which are polyunsaturated. The human body cannot synthesize n−3 fatty acids de novo, but it can form “long chain” 20-carbon unsaturated n−3 fatty acids (like EPA) and 22-carbon unsaturated n−3 fatty acids (like DHA) from the “short chain” eighteen-carbon n−3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid. The short chain n−3 fatty acids are converted to long chain forms (EPA, DHA) with an efficiency of approximately 5%[1][2] in men, and at a greater percentage in women.[3]
These conversions occur competitively with n−6 fatty acids, which are essential closely related chemical analogues that are derived from linoleic acid. Both the n−3 α-linolenic acid and n−6 linoleic acid must be obtained from food. Synthesis of the longer n−3 fatty acids from linolenic acid within the body is competitively slowed by the n−6 analogues. Thus accumulation of long-chain n−3 fatty acids in tissues is more effective when they are obtained directly from food or when competing amounts of n−6 analogs do not greatly exceed the amounts of n−3.[citation needed] Although omega-3 fatty acids have been known as essential to normal growth and health since the 1930s, awareness of their health benefits has dramatically increased in the past few years.[4] New versions of ethyl esterized omega-3 fatty acids, such as E-EPA and combinations of E-EPA and E-DHA, have drawn attention as highly purified and more effective products than the traditional ones. In the United States, these novel versions are often sold as prescription medications, such as Lovaza. In the European Union, they are available as dietary supplements.

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