A balanced diet consists of carbohydrates (sugars), proteins and lipids (fats), plus minerals, vitamins, other trace elements and water.
Some of these nutritional elements are called essential because we need to incorporate them into our diets as our body cannot synthesize them. Among these nutrients are different amino acids (building blocks of proteins) and essential fatty acids (components of lipids or fats).
There are two types of fatty acids: unsaturated, which provide health benefits to our body, and saturated, which if consumed in excess can increase cholesterol and harm the cardiovascular system (1-3).
Unsaturated fatty acids are classified as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated and are found primarily in vegetable and oily fish. Saturated fatty acids are found primarily in animal fats and byproducts from the fat (1-3).
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are classified as omega-3 and omega-6. Some of these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are considered essential (1-3). We have to get them through food or dietary supplements when our diet does not supply them in sufficient quantity. Other fatty acids can be synthesized by the body itself and are not essential in the diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be divided into two groups (4):
Short chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are found primarily in vegetable oils, in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).
Long chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are found principally in oily fish, mainly in the form of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
These two fatty acids are the most important because they provide the greatest health benefits by protecting the cardiovascular and nervous systems, in addition to promoting overall health.
Basic functions of omega-3
Long chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids have two very important functions in the body (5):
- omega-3 fatty acids maintain fluidity and permeability of cell membranes, allowing the exchange of molecules with their environment or with other cells so that the organs can function properly.
- omega-3 fatty acids regulate the expression of genes that may be involved in the development of diseases.
Processes where omega-3 fatty acids intervene
Long chain omega-3s have been shown to be required in the following processes:
- In the reduction of systemic inflammation that is at the root of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (6-12).
- In the growth and development of the nervous system from the fetal stage and through all stages of children’s growth (13-17).
- In the maintenance and even the recovery of cognitive function from adulthood to old age (18-24).
- In the regulation of the nerve impulse conduction in the heart which determines the heart rate (25,26).
- In the regulation of lipid metabolism, having an impact on triglycerides and preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that results in atherosclerotic plaque formation (27-33).
- In helping to keep skin flexible and hydrated to protect it from aging caused by UV radiation and other external agents or due to the natural aging process (34-37).
SCC and Omega-3
Fish oil contains saturated, unsaturated and polyunsaturated (omega-3) fatty acids.
Fish oil has normal EPA plus DHA levels of around 30%, of which 18% is EPA and 12% is DHA. That is why the vast majority of omega-3 or fish oil supplements on the market that claim to have EPA or DHA have them in this proportion (18/12).
Considering that nearly all international organizations recommend that healthy people consume at least 500 mg of EPA + DHA per day and many scientific studies recommend an intake of over 1 mg to impact on the welfare, it is important to obtain these two long chain fatty acids with the highest grade of purity, otherwise 70% of the supplement will consist of other undesirable components, such as saturated fatty acids.
The traditional methods for obtaining the oil are steam distillation or extraction using solvents. These processes are inefficient and require large quantities of raw materials, and the purity of the end-product is of a low grade.
A method that guarantees the greatest purity, eco-friendliness and efficiency in the concentration of long chain omega-3 is supercritical fluid extraction.
Data on file, Megafort Pharma.
To obtain long chain omega-3 with high levels of purity and concentration from fish, a technology that uses CO2 in the supercritical state as a solvent has been developed (extraction with supercritical fluids) that allows maximum concentration of omega-3 with a high grade of purity. CO2 is also called a green solvent because it is not toxic or flammable and it has a low cost.
This technology obviates the need for using high temperatures and, in conjunction with the use of organic solvents, maximum omega-3 (up to 95%) concentration is achieved without degradation of these fatty acids.
Omegafort uses this innovative technology for the production of EPA and DHA in supercritical concentration, ensuring maximum concentration of these long chain fatty acids and thus, minimal levels of other, unwanted fats, so that reaching the recommended daily intake of EPA and DHA can be achieved with the lowest possible dose.
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