Flaxseed Oil: A Great Way to Get Omega-3s

Nature Made Flaxseed Oil

If you are vegetarian or vegan, you might have a hard time getting the recommended amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, since the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are primarily found in fatty fish and shellfish (such as halibut, sardines, salmon and krill). Flaxseed oil is a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids for those who avoid fish in their diet. Read on to discover more about flaxseed oil and its benefits.


Flaxseed Oil is Rich in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Flaxseed oil has a unique blend of the “good” fats: the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA). Essential fatty acids must be consumed through food or supplements, as they cannot be made in the body. Approximately 53% of the fatty acids in flaxseed oil are ALA, making it the richest plant source of this essential omega-3 fatty acid.1


ALA Intake is Below Recommendations
The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of 1.6 g/day ALA for men and 1.1 g/day ALA for women, with an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 5:1 to 10:1.2 However, national surveys report that most Americans are not meeting these recommendations. Data from the 2003-2008 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that over 40% of adults are not meeting the recommended intake for ALA.3

Although the Institute of Medicine recommends an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 5:1 to 10:1, most American diets consist of much higher ratios, about 16:1 or higher.4 This is because Americans consume oils that are usually higher in the omega-6 fatty acid LA, such as soybean and canola oil. Consuming more flaxseed oil, whether in the diet or as a supplement, can help to improve the ratio to recommended levels, since flaxseed oil contains more than three times as much omega-3 as omega-6 fatty acids.


ALA Helps Support a Healthy Heart
The American Heart Association recommends consuming omega-3 fatty acids from various sources, including tofu, walnuts, flaxseeds and their oils.5 Large population-based studies suggest that consuming both plant and marine sources of omega-3 fatty acids help support a healthy heart. Flaxseed and its oil, whether through your diet or as a supplement, is a great way to get the recommended amount of the essential omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Try Nature Made Flaxseed Oil 1000 mg, made with organic flaxseed oil.


References:
1. Choo WS. J Food Compost Anal 2007;20:202-211.
2. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients). Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2005.
3. Papanikolaou Y, et al. Nutr J 2014;13:31.
4. Liu J, et al. Nutrients 2014;6:5184-5223.
5. American Heart Association. 2014. Fish 101. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Fish-101_UCM_305986_Article.jsp#.V-6p1vkrKUk
Accessed September 30, 2016.