Omega-3 fatty acids are among the most extensively studied nutrients for their potential cardiovascular benefits. There are 2 major classes of omega-3 fatty acids. The first is α-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid derived from plant sources, such as flaxseed, walnut, soybean, and canola oils. The second class includes long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are derived primarily from fatty fish. α-Linolenic acid can be converted to EPA and DHA in the human body, although the efficiency of such conversions seems to be low.1 A large body of evidence from experimental, clinical, and epidemiologic research has demonstrated the potential benefits of EPA-rich and DHA-rich fish oil on cardiovascular health.2 In addition, consistent findings from prospective observational cohort investigations indicate that regular consumption of fatty fish (≥2 times per week) is associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular death.3
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