Choosing the right fish oil supplement may not always be easy. One of the things to consider is that one should know about what makes such supplements valuable to health, which is its omega 3 fatty acid content. There are various sources of such essential fatty acids. It can be easy to question if there is indeed a difference between getting this nutrient from different sources.
Three Types Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
One of the things that people should know is that there are three known types of omega 3 fatty acids, the essential nutrient found in fish oil supplements. The three types of omega 3 fatty acids include EPA, DHA and ALA. ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid is a short chain omega 3 fatty acid that is usually found in plant sources such as flax seed, walnuts, canola and soybean oil. DHA or docosahexaenoic acid and EHA or eicosapentaenoic acid are considered as long chain omega 3 fatty acids. The latter two are those found in fish oil supplements.
The difference between short chain omega 3 fatty acids such as ALA and long chain omega 3 fatty acids has to do with how the body processes them. In order for the body to make use of such essential fatty acids, it has first to convert the short chain types into its long chain form. This does not usually happen readily. That is why fish oil supplements are considered more effective in providing the omega 3 fatty acids that it needs because it is already the long chain form which does not require any more conversion before the body can use them.