Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Why do people eat Chia seeds?
People eat Chia seeds because they contain omega 3 fatty acids. Specifically ALA omega 3 fatty acids. So what am I getting in my Nordic Naturals that I eat 4g of per day? That's says EPA/DHA on the bottle. So do I need to take ALA too?
By the looks of things the answer is No. Heart cells and a few other cells can use the EPA, but the rest of the body just wants DHA. The body spends energy to convert ALA to EPA, and then more energy to convert EPA to DHA. Why not just start off by taking the DHA and save your body the hard work?
Why does nobody sell just DHA fish oil? Is it because there's a load of EPA in there anyway and they would just throw it away otherwise?
So what about the DPA in the Seal Oil I take?
Apparently there are 3 essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that circulate in the bloodstream, EPA, DHA and DPA. Remember that poor cousin ALA is converted to EPA before it's any use. DPA is essential for some stuff that EPA and DHA isn't, you can;t make it yourself and you don't get it in fish oil. Taking Seal oil gets it into your body and fixes the bits EPA and DHA can't.
I'm on the right track taking 4g of net total omega 3s per day in the form of Krill Oil (Because it's bottom of the food chain purer than fish oil), Fish oil and Seal oil.
AND - there's no need for me to start covering all my salads in a smattering of gritty little chia seeds because by the time ALA is converted to EPA and DHA, I've already popped 3 fish oil pills and have my body's needs sorted. Also only a tiny percentage of ALA (0.4 to 4% based on 2 independent studies) actually makes it into EPA, so if that's the only source of omega-3s, you'd better keep your omega 6 intake really really low by eating no olive oil, only grass fed ruminants, no nuts except macadamias and being totally strict paleo.
CONVERSION EFFICIENCY OF ALA TO DHA IN HUMANS