Whether you want to know what are omega-3 fatty acids or feel like exploring the various benefits that they endow on the human body, this article will serve your needs perfectly.

What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can be described as essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the human body, on its own. Rather, they have to be obtained from outside sources i.e. the food that a person consumes as a part of his regular diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, mainly found in food items like fish (such as salmon, tuna, and halibut), other marine life (such as algae and krill), certain plants (including purslane) and nut oils, is considered essential for the overall health of a human being and this is the reason why American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly the ones containing the fatty acids) at least 2 times a week. By now, you must have learnt exactly what are Omega-3 fatty acids? So, let us now learn about the most common types of Omega-3 fatty acids, along with the benefits of consuming the same.
                                          Most Common Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Common Name
Lipid Name
Chemical Name
α-Linolenic acid (ALA)
18:3 (n−3)
all-cis-9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid
Stearidonic acid (STD)
18:4 (n−3)
all-cis-6,9,12,15-octadecatetraenoic acid
Eicosatrienoic acid (ETE) acid
20:3 (n−3)
Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA)
20:4 (n−3)
all-cis-8,11,14,17-eicosatetraenoic acid
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
20:5 (n−3)
all-cis-5,8,11,14,17-eicosapentaenoic acid
Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), Clupanodonic acid
22:5 (n−3)
all-cis-7,10,13,16,19-docosapentaenoic acid
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
22:6 (n−3)
all-cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid
Tetracosapentaenoic acid
24:5 (n−3)
all-cis-9,12,15,18,21-docosahexaenoic acid
Tetracosahexaenoic acid (Nisinic acid)
24:6 (n−3)
all-cis-6,9,12,15,18,21-tetracosenoic acid
16:3 (n−3)
all-cis-7,10,13-hexadecatrienoic acid
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • One of the main health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids arise from the fact that their consumption has been related to reduced risk of coronary heart diseases in people.
  • Studies have come up with the view that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids might help in the treatment of people suffering from the problems of depression and anxiety.
  • Though there is no hard-core evidence of the same, there have been researches suggesting that intake of the fatty acids might help reduce the risk of ischemic and thrombotic stroke.
  • There have been indications that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-cancer properties. However, till date, there has been no solid evidence indicating the same.
  • Many researches conducted in relation to omega-3 fatty acids have indicated that it leads to an improvement in immune function maturation, with no apparent reduction in immune activation.
  • It is believed that regular consumption of omega 3 fatty acids can help protect the body against the accumulation of a protein that is said to be linked to Alzheimer's disease.
  • It has been observed that omega-3 fatty acids help prevent blood from clotting and also help lower blood pressure slightly. With this, they also help reduce the risk of stroke in people.
  • Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help overweight individuals have good control over their blood sugar levels. This, in turn, helps them in losing weight.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can help increase the level of High-density lipoproteins (HDL), also known as the 'good cholesterol'. At the same time, it lowers Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), also known as "bad cholesterol".

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