Short Chain versus Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids: EPA, DHA, ALA and the Difference

September 22, 2021

You call Omega-3 many things. It is available in fish oil, essential oils, and polyunsaturated fat acids (PUFA)’s. You can further complicate the matter by stating that there are two types of omega-3s: long-chain and shorter-chain fatty acids. There are some key differences between them. Also, how the body uses them.

Short-Chain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) differences from long-chain fatty acids

Flax, flax, hemp, canola and walnuts are rich in short-chain fatty acid. Digestion converts ALA to long-chain fatty oils. The conversion rate is inefficient and usually takes between 6-10 percent.

The research on ALA has a lot of things in it. Although omega-3 intake has shown health improvement of the body. It reduces the risk of heart attacks, most research has focused on long-chain fatty acid like EPA or DHA.

Studies have shown that diets similar to Mediterranean-style Mediterranean diets can improve your heart health due to an increase in omega-3 intake. These diets are not only rich in short-chain but also long-chain fatty acid, as well as the recommended foods.

Some people are concerned about the possibility of light, heat, or air destroying the short-chain fatty acid ALA. The American Heart Association (AHA), for instance, warns that deep-frying is not a good way to cook with vegetable oil. AHA points out that oil begins to lose its value once it reaches the smoke point. Therefore, you should discard any cooking oil that smokes.

Omega-3 Long-Chain Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA) and their health benefits

Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids are long-chain fatty oils, more commonly known as EPA or DHA. Because of their longer structural makeup, long-chain fatty acid differs from short-chain. EPA and DHA, support body development. You can only obtain them from food.

DHA is an important fatty acid in cognitive development. It is the most abundant fatty acid in brain tissue. A deficiency in long-chain fatty acids can lead to neurocognitive disorders, memory impairment, and an increased risk for certain neurocognitive disorders. Long-chain fatty acid intake can be beneficial for heart health. You can reduce triglyceride levels by the increase of long-chain fatty oils. A lower chance of developing AMD or age-related macular damage (AMD) is also associated with high levels of DHA and EPA.

The food they are found in is another difference between long-chain and short-chain fatty acid. The long-chain fatty acids can be found in foods like fish oil (omega-3) supplements and fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and trout. Recent research also showed that curcumin can help the body absorb EPA/DHA. The body has been shown to have lower levels of inflammation thanks to both curcumin from turmeric as well as long-chain fat acids.

Before you start a new supplement program, make sure to consult your doctor.