Omega-3 fatty acid
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acidsfound in certain fish tissues, and in vegetable sources such as flax seeds , walnuts , and canola oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are classed as essential fatty acids These fatty acids were originally designated as "Vitamin F", until it was realized that they must be classified with the fats.
The term "omega-3" signifies that the first double bond in the carbon backbone of the fatty acid, counting from the end opposite the acid group, occurs in the third carbon-carbon bond.
Common omega-3 fatty acids in the body are linolenic acid (18:3), eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5), docosahexaenoic acid (22:6).
It has been conjectured that the diet in the Human Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness may have been rich in seafood, and that modern diets are deficient in the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids perhaps leading to a number of modern illnesses.
Possible benefits of omega-3 fatty acids
A number of remarkable benefits have been attributed to omega-3 fatty acids in recent years. However, these are so far provisional results, and cannot yet be regarded as fact until they have been confirmed by further studies.
Known and suspected risks of omega-3 fatty acids
In its letter entitled Letter Regarding Dietary Supplement Health Claim for Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Coronary Heart Disease the U. S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements noted that the known or suspected risks of omega-3 fatty acids may include:
In addition, another potential risk is the possibility of vitamin poisoning from taking large doses of supplements which contain significant amounts of vitamins in addition to Omega-3 fatty acids.
For these reasons, the FDA recommends that total dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids be limited to 3g/day, of which no more than 2g/day should come from nutritional supplements. (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2004/NEW01115.html) However, many nutritionists recommend more than this, pointing out that the studies used by the FDA only indirectly show that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids are harmful.
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