Nothing Fishy about Health Benefits of Plant-based Omega-3 Fatty Acid

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the country,” said Fleming. “Learning what you can do to prevent heart disease is important and relevant for everybody.”

Cooking with Kathy Man

Increasing the amount of omega-3s in your diet, whether from fish or flax, will likely decrease your risk of getting heart disease, according to Penn State nutritionists.

A substantial amount of evidence exists supporting the heart-health benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA), marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids. However, much less evidence exists to demonstrate the positive effects of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid.

“The benefits reported for EPA and DHA are stronger because supplements of EPA and DHA were tested, and EPA and DHA was the only difference between the treatment and control groups,” said Jennifer Fleming, instructor and clinical research coordinator in nutritional sciences. “In contrast, in the ALA studies, there were diet differences beyond ALA between the treatment and control groups.”

EPA and DHA can be found in seafood and fish oil, and are often consumed in the form of dietary supplements…

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Filed under healthy eating, heart, heart disease, heart problems

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