• Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid obtained from plant sources. The other two omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in seafood.
• Alpha-linolenic acid is necessary for health and cannot be produced within the human body. It is found in seeds like flaxseed, chia and hemp, nuts like walnut and in vegetable oils like canola, soybean and flaxseed oils.
Alpha-linolenic acid is used to prevent or treat the disease of heart and blood vessels by reducing the risk of heart disease or heart attack, plaque(fatty build-up) formations in arteries serving the heart, and high blood pressure.
Alpha-linolenic acid may also improve lung function in people having asthma.
• Infants who breastfeed get the benefits of alpha-linolenic acid from their moms provided they are eating a healthy meal
• Infant formula should contain alpha-linolenic acid
• Supplements are not needed in children
• Consumption of 1.2 – 2 gm/day as part of dietary food or 1.6 gm/day as part of a mediterranean diet in order to see cardioprotective effects. The amount of alpha-linolenic acid in oils and foods vary.
• Can be taken before or after food intake.
• Alpha-linolenic acid consumed as part of food is likely be at safe levels. The same cannot be said for alpha-linolenic acid taken a supplements.
Hence, it is better to avoid taking alpha-linolenic acid supplements when you are pregnant and breastfeeding.
• Omega-3 may increase the risk of bleeding, particularly at doses of three grams daily or greater. Hence, supplements might need to be stopped before a surgery.
• Alpha-linolenic acid may increase the risk of macular degeneration.
• Alpha-linolenic acid is associated with an increased risk of prostrate cancer.
• Alpha-linolenic acid is safe in most of the adults when used in amounts found in foods.
• Alpha-linolenic acid from food sources is very well tolerated. If it is consumed in excess it may cause weight gain.
Avoid excess dose.
• Alpha-linolenic acid might increase the effects of blood-thinning medications like warfarin, clopidogrel and aspirin and thus increase the risk of bleeding.
• Statins used to lower cholesterol levels may work work better when alpha-linolenic acid is consumed alongside. Examples of some statins are atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, and pravastatin.
• Store in a cool and dry place
• Protect from light and moisture
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