What Is It?
Alpha-linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid and the major omega-3 fatty acid found in food. Essential fatty acids are not produced by the body and must be present in the diet to maintain health. The unique biochemical structure of alpha-linolenic acid is important and helps to make it a key player in immunity, vision, cell membranes, and the production of hormonelike compounds.
Essential fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid, are extremely important for healing and maintaining good health. Compounds made from alpha-linolenic acid have been shown to decrease blood clotting and decrease inflammatory processes in the body. Study results from international clinical trials demonstrate that people who eat two servings of fish per week run a lower risk for heart attacks, compared with people who eat very little fish. The probable mechanism is reduced blood clotting because of fish oils, which results in a cardiovascular benefit.
Some signs of alpha-linolenic acid deficiency include loss of motor coordination, tingling in the extremities, vision impairment, and behavioral changes.
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David Edelberg, MD