Essential fatty acids with recognised properties
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are found in certain plant-based fats: rapeseed, walnut and linseed (ALA) oils, together with a number of animal fats: fatty fish oils (EPA and DHA). Depending on whether they come from a plant or animal source, Omega 3s have a different profile: ALA is a short chain plant-based fatty acid which has to be converted to EPA or DHA in the body; long chain fatty acids are also available directly in fish oils and active ingredients.
These substances (EPA and DHA) play a prominent role in cell membranes and are essential to many of the body's biochemical processes. They are particularly known to contribute to normal heart function (in a dose of 250 mg of DHA par day).
Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for some 180,000 deaths per year in France and are currently the leading cause of mortality in developed countries. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), 30% of cardiovascular diseases could be avoided by eating a balanced diet. The Japanese and Inuits who have high fish intakes, remain unaffected by this major public health scourge. Their very low incidence of cardiovascular diseases is due to a diet high in fish and therefore in omega-3s. Many studies have clearly demonstrated the heart protection benefits of omega-3s. They are thought to exert a preventive action on a number of risk factors involved in cardiovascular diseases.
Several studies have shown the influence of omega-3s on emotional balance and mood disorders. In fact some 45% of the lipids in the brain are omega-3 fatty acids.
The retina is very rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, DHA in particular. This therefore indicates that omega-3s, and DHA in particular, have a considerable impact on visual function: DHA is especially known to contribute to maintenance of normal visual function (in a dose of 250 mg/day).