More About Nutritional Oils
Oils and fats for health?
Would you believe that oil and fat are two things that are actually good for your health? It’s true.
We’re actually talking about nutritional oils, a class of lipids (another word for fats) from a variety of natural sources, including marine oils, animal fats, shellfish, microalgae, seaweed, plant seed oils and others.
Nutritional oils are comprised of a mixture of fatty acids and are the best-known sources of a critical component of human health – essential fatty acids, or EFAs. Essential fatty acids offer a wide range of health benefits for humans, including support for cardiovascular health, normal cognitive function, skin health, and much more.
There are two EFAs: the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid. Essential fatty acids are “essential” because they cannot be produced by the body, so they must be obtained from the diet.
Some fatty acids are considered “conditionally essential” because, although the body can make them, they’re produced only at low levels or are required in greater amounts under certain stressful conditions. The best known “conditionally essential” fatty acids are the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These are usually considered essential because, although humans can produce them from ALA, their synthesis is typically insufficient to meet the body’s needs.
Some fatty acids, such as omega-9s, are not essential, but have been studied for their beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
Alphas and omegas
Fatty acids are grouped by their chemical structure:
- Omega-3 – The omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). EPA and DHA are abundant in the oil of cold water fish and a tiny marine crustacean called krill. ALA is found in certain plants such as flax and hemp. Omega-3 fatty acids are well regarded for their cardiovascular support benefits.
- Omega-6 – The omega-6 fatty acids include linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and arachidonic acid. Omega-6 fatty acids are important for healthy cognitive function, as well as normal growth and development.
- Omega-9 – Comprised of several different fatty acids, of which oleic acid is the most frequently studied in humans, omega-9 fatty acids aren’t considered essential, but they’re still important for our health, primarily with respect to cardiovascular health. Try our Omega 3-6-9 Liquid.
The NOW® Difference
At NOW we’re well aware of the importance of essential fatty acids for health and well-being, which is why we offer a diverse selection of nutritional oils from both animal and plant sources.
Our premium quality fish and krill oil products are carefully screened for potency and purity and are tested to be free of potentially harmful levels of contaminants such as mercury and other heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins, and more. Many are molecularly distilled for purity and potency.
Our plant-derived oils are sustainably sourced and are gently processed without the use of harsh chemicals. Many are expeller-pressed to avoid denaturing the oil with excessive heat or cold. Expeller pressing is basically good old-fashioned mechanical pressing; no extreme temperatures and no chemicals or solvents.