Omega- 3 fatty acids are essential cornerstones of human nutrition. They are deemed ‘essential’ because we need them for proper health-much like certain vitamins and minerals- but cannot produce them on our own. We must therefore consume these fats through diet or supplementation. Omega-3 fatty acids are required for a number of body functions, from proper blood flow to brain development; these long chain fatty acids are integral components of tissues and organ systems throughout the body, including the heart, skin, joints, eyes and immune system. In nature, omega 3s occur as Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), found mostly in plants, and as long-chain EPA and DHA, which primarily originate from cold-water fish. The body is able to slowly convert the shorter chain ALA to the more active long-chain, EPA and DHA. However, many people lack the enzymes delta-5 and delta-6 desaturase necessary to make the conversion, making a higher dietary intake of EPA and DHA necessary. In addition, major changes in Western diet over the last century have led to a decrease in the general consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, and a dramatic increase in the dietary ratio of omega-6: omega-3. Since omega-3 fatty acids are known to benefit cardiovascular health, support healthy brain function and cognition, and have also been proven to maintain a healthy inflammatory response, achieving the proper balance of omega-3s has become an important health strategy, requiring supplementation for most people.  The American Heart Association recommends that those concerned about blood lipids take up to 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day. 
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