Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

The body cannot produce fatty acids, so humans must eat essential fatty acids through their diet. Linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, omega-3 fatty acid) belong to these fatty acids. For example, flaxseed oil and canola oil are rich in ALA.

Omega-3 can also be found in algae and fatty fish such as salmon and eel, but in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid serve as preliminary stages for the synthesis of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid (AA) and DHA. Adult humans can produce DHA or AA themselves but babies cannot produce enough. This is why they need to get them from sources such as breast milk or infant formulas containing LCPs. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the development of brain and nerve cells and therefore for healthy growth.