Your Heart’s True Desire: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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Whether you think it’s that cute guy at the gym or the chocolate cake still in the fridge, what your heart really wants is Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

What is Omega-3 fatty acid?

There are three main Omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (ELA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Alpha-linolenic acid is the only Omega-3 fatty acid sourced from plants. Inside Empahty Plant Co. protein powder, hemp seed protein delivers that good, good alpha-linolenic acid.

Inside the body, ALA is converted into EPA and then DHA to be used.

Okay, so, what do Omega-3s do?

In-action, omega-3 fatty acids are used to create cells. Specifically, the membranes outside of each cell (of all kinds) use essential fatty acids.

Why are Omega-3s especially good?

Besides being an essential nutritional component, since the body doesn’t produce its own, research has connected Omega-3 fatty acids with decreased risks to cardiovascular (heart) health.

In a large-scale research review approved by the American Heart Association Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee in 2002, individual studies were compared and referenced to summarize an overall perspective on the effects of Omega-3 fatty acids on risk factors for heart issues. Since you know we love to dish, here’s the gist of it:

-Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the frequency of Coronary Heart Disease, a leading cause of death.

-A healthy diet should include vegetable oils or food sources high in alpha-linolenic acid (especially for those who do not eat fish, which has higher rates of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids).

When considering alpha-linolenic acid specifically, the only of the omega-3 fatty acids from plants, marked reductions were seen in all types of heart problems from severe failure to minor events.

For plant-based diets, the rate of alpha-linolenic acid is considerably less than the other Omega-3 fatty acids (because the body has to convert it), which to me sounds like an excuse to have another smoothie, right?

Other studies show positive effects from omega-3 fatty acids for heart health in regards to other specific heart problems.

→ Considerable evidence supports that Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent fatal arrhythmias. That is when the electrical impulses for the heart are off so the hearts beating isn’t coordinated. It causes heartbeats that are too quick, slow, or irregular to properly pump blood out of the heart and through the arterial system. Within the above review, over a dozen specific studies were sourced on the effects of Omega-3 fatty acids for arrhythmia specifically with a positive conclusion. The consensus overall supports a decline in dangerous arrhythmias as Omega-3 fatty acid is increased.

→ Omega-3 fatty acids may assist in the managing inflammatory and autoimmune diseases due to its anti-inflammatory properties. For diseases characterized by increased pro-inflammatory elements  (like coronary heart disease, but also like psoriasis, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and lupus erythematosus) increased Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to help in studies so far with decreased symptoms and decreased use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

→ Daily consumption of alpha-linolenic acid specifically is connected to a lower rate of hypertension (elevated blood pressure) and endothelial dysfunction (constriction of blood vessels on the heart) by decreasing oxidative stress in the heart.