What are Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids - PUFAs?
- PUFAs are essential fatty acids meaning they cannot be produced by the body1.
- Required for the growth, development and normal functions of the body at all stages of life1.
There are two main types of PUFAs1:
✔ Omega-3s: mainly EPA eicosapentanoic acid, DHA docosahexaenoic acid and ALA α-linolenic acid.
✔ Omega-6s: mainly LA linoleic acid and GLA gamma-linolenic acid.
What do they do?
ALA – contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels (2 g daily).
Sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 in common encapsulated oils
DHA is found in high in the gray matter of the brain and retina, where it is linked to better development and function by maintaining membrane fluidity14,15.
LA is incorporated into skin ceramides, which is essential for skin hydration, softness and elasticity16. GLA is also linked to improvement of skin function, atopic dermatitis and rosacea16,17,18.
1 Saini R.K. et al., Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids: Dietary sources, metabolism, and significance — A review, Life Sciences 203 (2018) 255–267.
2 Punia S. et al., Omega 3-metabolism, absorption, bioavailability and health benefits–A review, PharmaNutrition 10 (2019) 100162.
3 Candela G. et al., Importance of a balanced omega 6/omega 3 ratio for the maintenance of health. Nutritional recommendations, Nutr Hosp. 2011;26(2):323-329.
4 EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods (v.3.6)
5 Xie D. et al., Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba) Oil: A Comprehensive Review of Chemical Composition, Extraction Technologies, Health Benefits, and Current Applications, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 18(2):514-534, 2019.
6 Iciar Astiasarán, Diana Ansorena, Chapter 19 – Algal Oils, Editor(s): Robert A. Moreau, Afaf Kamal-Eldin, Gourmet and Health-Promoting Specialty Oils, 2009, 491-513, ISBN 9781893997974.
7 Ansorena, D. and I. Astiasarán. Development of nutraceuticals containing marine algae oils, 2013.
8 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
9 Harwood J., Algae: Critical Sources of Very Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Biomolecules 2019, 9, 708.
10 Cholewski M. et al., A Comprehensive Review of Chemistry, Sources and Bioavailability of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Nutrients 2018, 10, 1662.
11 Samani M. et al., The chemical composition, botanical characteristic and biological activities of Borago officinalis: a review, Asian Pac J Trop Med 2014; 7: S22-S28.
12 Eskin M., Borage and evening primrose oil, Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 2008, 110, 651–654.
13 Kiralan M. et al., Fatty acid composition of hempseed oils from different locatins in Turkey, Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 2010, 8(2), 385-390.
14 Xue Z. et al., Development Prospect and Preparation Technology of Edible Oil From Microalgae, Front. Mar. Sci. 7: 402.
15 Calder P., The DHA content of a cell membrane can have a significant influence on cellular behaviour and responsiveness to signals Ann Nutr Metab 2016; 69:8–21.
16 Timoszuk M. et al., Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) Biological Activity Dependent on Chemical Composition, Antioxidants 2018, 7, 108.
17 Simon, D., et al. Gamma-Linolenic Acid Levels Correlate with Clinical Efficacy of Evening Primrose Oil in Patients with Atopic Dermatitis. Adv Ther 31, 180–188 (2014).
18 Kim H. J. et al., A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Gamma Linolenic Acid as an Add-on Therapy to Minocycline for the Treatment of Rosacea, Ann Dermatol. 2020, 32(6):466-472.
19 EFSA – Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for fats (EFSA NDA Panel, 2010).
20 Sioen et al., Systematic Review on N-3 and N-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake in European Countries in Light of the Current Recommendations – Focus on Specific Population Groups. Ann Nutr Metab. 70(1): 39–50, 2017.
21 National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, 2021.
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