EPA and DHA – The important fatty acids
The long chain fatty acids EPA and DHA are found in the brain and eyes and are necessary for the heart to function normally. These substances resemble a bit a small long bending serpent, but in the research language they are called unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids.
Because DHA and EPA are long and thin, they can bend and stretch. According to Norwegian research, it is this ability to move and bend that makes DHA so important for your eyes and brain.
DHA is important for vision
The eye’s retina consists of over 60% fat, while the entire eye consists of about 20% fat. DHA is one of the most important components of the eye’s retina.
In the eyes there is another important substance called rhodopsin that sends signals to the brain. Because of the flexibility of the DHA fatty acids, they help the rhodopsin to move fast so it can be ready to receive new light signals. In this way DHA helps us to maintain good eyesight.
Helps the brain
DHA also makes sure that everything runs as it should in the brain. Between the brain cells, millions of messages leave every single second, and the flexible DHA fatty acids help brain cells to work at lightning speed.Both omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are important for the brain’s structure and function, and it is essential that the intake of these fatty acids is sufficient and balanced.
Omega-3 for the heart
EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are structural components in the cells in your heart, and we are still learning about all the good health effects they have on the heart.
As part of a healthy lifestyle, omega-3 fatty acids can help to contribute to healthy triglyceride levels in the bloodstream.
The body’s needs
ALA is another omega-3 fatty acid. The body cannot produce this fatty acid itself and need to be fed via the diet. ALA is derived from the plants, and you can find it in flax and chia seeds.
Your body can produce limited amounts of long-chain fatty acids EPA and DHA if you eat ALA, but the conversion rate is low. In fact, as little as 1 percent of the ALA fatty acid you eat can be converted to EPA and DHA in your body.
Therefore, you must eat fatty fish and other seafood, as well as foods that are added to these omega-3 fatty acids to meet the body’s needs.