What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids which have a double bond (C=C) at the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain. It is a group of fatty acids which have the first unsaturated bond in the third position from the omega carbon.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids are believed to prevent insulin resistance, reduce serum triglycerides, prolong bleeding times, improve lipid profile, decrease platelet adhesiveness, and reduce platelet counts.
Structure of Omega 3 Fatty Acid
The fatty acids have two ends, the carboxylic acid (-COOH) end, which is considered the beginning of the chain, thus “alpha”, and the methyl (CH3) end, which is considered the tail of the chain, thus “omega”.
The chemical names of Omega 3 Fatty Acids are Omega-3, Fatty Acids, N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid, Omega-3 Polyunsaturates. The molecular formula of Omega 3 Fatty Acid is C60H92O6 with molecular weight 909.39 g/mol.
Types of Omega 3 Fatty Acid
There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids that are involved in human physiology.
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which is found in marine oils.
- α-linolenic acid (ALA) found in plant oils.
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is found in marine oils.
Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are often of marine origin. Marine algae and phytoplankton are the primary sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
Sources of plant oils that contain omega 3 ALA fatty acid are:
- Edible seeds
- Algal oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Clary sage seed oil
- Echium oil
- Sacha Inchi oil
- Hemp oil
Sources of animal omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids are:
- Egg oil
- Fish oils
- Krill oil
- Squid oils
List of omega-3 fatty acids
The list of different names for the most common omega-3 fatty acids found in nature is mentioned below.
|α-Linolenic acid (ALA)||all-cis-9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid||18:3 (n-3)|
|Hexadecatrienoic acid (HTA)||all-cis-7,10,13-hexadecatrienoic acid||16:3 (n-3)|
|Eicosatrienoic acid (ETE)||all-cis-11,14,17-eicosatrienoic acid||20:3 (n-3)|
|Stearidonic acid (SDA)||all-cis-6,9,12,15-octadecatetraenoic acid||18:4 (n-3)|
|Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)||all-cis-5,8,11,14,17-eicosapentaenoic acid||20:5 (n-3)|
|Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA)||all-cis-8,11,14,17-eicosatetraenoic acid||20:4 (n-3)|
|Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)||all-cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid||22:6 (n-3)|
|Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA),
|all-cis-7,10,13,16,19-docosapentaenoic acid||22:5 (n-3)|
|Tetracosahexaenoic acid (Nisinic acid)||all-cis-6,9,12,15,18,21-tetracosahexaenoic acid||24:6 (n-3)|
|Tetracosapentaenoic acid||all-cis-9,12,15,18,21-tetracosapentaenoic acid||24:5 (n-3)|
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are very important. This acid all sorts of powerful health benefits for human body and brain. Some benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids are mentioned below.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can fight depression and anxiety
- It improves eye health
- The fatty acid promotes brain health during pregnancy and early life
- It improves risk factors for heart disease
- It can reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome
- Omega-3s can fight inflammation and fight autoimmune diseases
- It helps to improve mental disorders
- Omega-3 fatty acids can fight age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease
- It can reduce asthma in children
- Omega-3s helps to reduce fat in the liver
To know more about the properties and benefits of fatty acids stay tuned with BYJU’S.