*ALA, the omega 3 fatty acid found in chia shows a very good conversion rate to EPA (a major omega 3 fatty acid found in fish oil). One study showed as much as 60% increase in serum EPA concentrations after 12 weeks of ALA intake. ALA conversion to DHA (another omega 3 fatty acid found in fish oil), is minimal.
*It appears that EPA alone, with DHA can protect against heart attacks. In a major Japanese study subjects given EPA had 19% fewer cardiac events over five years, compared to those given a placebo.
*Another study showed that EPA protects skin against sunburn and protects against skin damage from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
*More research is needed to reveal all the health effects of ALA, but it appears that chia and other sources of ALA may yield many of the same health benefits as fish oil.
Jack Bukowski, MD, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer, NSRI
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School