eXtension Launches Omega-3 Fatty Acids Community of Practice

A new Web resource on eXtension.org promises to be a gateway to answering all of life’s little questions about omega-3s. Consumers and health professionals can find the latest research and information about the different kinds of omega-3s that help the body in different ways, what foods contain the different omega-3s and what omega-3 foods are the best.

Omega-3s are particularly important to those who are suffering from or have a history of heart disease and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Omega-3s are healthy fats that must be consumed as food or supplements. There are three commonly studied omega-3 fatty acids: alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

ALA is consumed primarily in plant foods, while DHA and EPA are found mostly in seafood. Research shows that eating foods rich in ALA, EPA and DHA prevents dermatitis, scalp inflammation and bleeding, impaired wound healing and growth retardation that can be attributed to omega-3 deficiency.

Recently DHA and EPA are the omega-3s that are touted as having multiple health benefits. These include lowered triglycerides, improved pregnancy and birth outcomes, heart disease prevention, reduced fat in the liver, decreased incidence of certain cancers, increased visual acuity, aide and treatment of some mental disorders and reduced levels of inflammation (which may help with asthma, arthritis and other conditions).

The site includes 146 frequently asked questions and 37 recipes. http://www.extension.org/omega-3