Our bodies require a well-rounded diet, which includes essential fatty acids. However, our bodies can only manufacture 1 of the 3 essential fatty acids we need, which is Omega 9. Our bodies cannot manufacture the essential fatty acids we need, so we have to make sure that the many sources available are included in our diets. Seeing that our diets are so high in Omega 6 already, and many doctors are suggesting that the Omega 3:Omega 6 ratio is anywhere from 1:20 to 1:40, where it should be at 1:1, the easiest way to increase your Omega 3 intake is with supplements.
Below is an explanation of the three types of Omega 3 supplements available on the market today.
Flax oil is a non-marine source of Omega 3 and contains the Omega 3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which the body needs and cannot make for itself. Several other sources of ALA do exist, most notably walnuts and hemp seed. However, because flax only yields ALA, which then must be converted into EPA and DHA by the body, it is not an effective source of Omega 3 for the following reasons:
Converting ALA into EPA and DHA is not very efficient, especially as one gets older
Bodily conversion of ALA results in low levels of EPA and DHA
Flax oil contains no DPA, the third main component of Omega 3
Flax oil is high in Omega 6, something our bodies do not need
The estimated rate of ALA to EPA and DHA conversion ranges from 5% to 25%. This means in order to make sufficient amounts of EPA and DHA, one would need to consume 5 to 6 times more ALA than you would if you were to use fish oil alone.
Whether you are eating fish or taking fish oil supplements, fish has been known to contain numerous health benefits, especially fatty species that are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Proven benefits range from lowering triglycerides and blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, to the more subtle effects of reducing chronic inflammation. Fish oils provide a direct source of EPA and DHA. There are, however, some problems with fish oils:
High in Omega 6
Low levels of DPA
Fish are susceptible to chemical pollutants and dioxins in the water
Seal oil is one of the best and most direct sources of EPA, DHA and DPA, the third component of Omega 3. While DPA is present in some fish and fish oils, the levels are much lower than seal oil, about 1/5. Seal is oil has been determined to be the best source of Omega 3 for the following reasons:
Seal oil contains the highest levels of DPA (up to 10 times more than fish oils)
It is chemically similar to the Omega 3 found in our bodies
Seals can filter out chemical impurities better than fish
Unlike both flax and fish oil, seal oil has only traces of omega 6, and may be one of the best Omega 3 supplements to reduce the imbalance of Omega 3:Omega 6.