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Essential Fatty Acids Omega-3 (EPA, DHA) and Omega-6 (LA) in vegan diet (100% vegetarian) – Myths and facts


The most important things about essential fatty acids:

* A well-planned vegan diet will not produce essential fatty acids deficiencies.

* Eessential fatty acids are those that our body can not synthesize so we have to get them from the diet. Their deficiency can lead to serious problems.

* There are two types of essential fatty acids: linoleic acid (omega-6 family) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 family). The organism transforms them into necessary substances. See families below.

* Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, the omega-3 family) is transformed into the famous EPA and DHA. The linoleic acid (LA, omega-6 family) transforms into GLA and AA. See families below.

* It is important to have a balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 (which is often much more abundant in the vegan diet), much of one and not much of another affects their transformation .

* The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) For adults is set at an omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 2:1 to 4:1, that is, intake 2-4 parts of omega-6 for each part of omega-3. In grams: LNA (omega-3) at least 4-5g/day and LA (omega-6) not more than 18g/day.

* Pregnant women, breastfeeding, boys and girls, people with diabetes, hypertension, etc., have special EPA and DHA needs and may need supplements (check for the vegan ones). Check with your nutritionist.

Most common foods rich in fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6:

Fatty Acids Omega-6:
+ LA: sunflower seeds, grapes, pumpkin seeds, sesame, hemp, nuts, corn, soybeans and oils extracted from these foods.

Fatty Acids Omega-3:
+ LNA: green leaves of dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, seaweeds, flax seeds, chia, hemp, rapeseed (canola), nuts, soybeans and oils extracted from these foods.

 + EPA and DHA: seaweeds and microalgae.

* It is recommended to grind the seeds before consuming them to digest them and not to expel them.

* See full list of iron fatty essential acids omega-3 and omega-6 rich plant foods.


* Avoid using omega-6-rich concentrated oils as the main source of fats and limiting processed foods. Consume oils rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

* Consume sources of omega-3s every day, such as flax seeds, seaweed and microalgae.

* Carry a diet as varied as possible: fruits, vegetables, vegetables, legumes, cereals, nuts, seeds …

* Make blood test from time to time to see that everything is fine.

More info:

* Essential fatty acids are necessary for the formation and integrity of cells. They are necessary for the production of eicosanoids (substances similar to the hormones), essential for work and development of the brain, nervous system and other vital organs.

* Essential Fatty Acids Scheme:
  Fatty Acids Omega-6 Family:
 + Linoleic Acid (LA).
 + Gamma-linoleic Acid(GLA).
 + Arachidonic Acid(AA).

  Fatty Acids Omega-3 Family:
 + Alpha-linolenic Acid (LNA or ALA).
 + Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).
 + Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).


U.S. Agricultural Research Service Nutrition Data Releases.

Davis, Brenda and Vesanto, Melina. Becoming Vegan: the complete guide to adopting a healthy plant-based diet. Book Publishing Company, 2000. ISBN: 1570671036.

The 2002 Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases.

NutricionVegana.com/en: Please note that the information contained on this website is for educational purposes only. The admins of the website are not doctors or nutritionists (but the info is aproved by nutritionists, of course). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. That is why we ask that you consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet and that you take into account the treatment that has been prescribed, if you have. Nutritionists can help you to take a well-planned vegan diet.

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