Health Glossary - For Everyone

Linolenic acid
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What is linolenic acid?

Linolenic acid (or alpha-linolenic acid - ALA) is an essential omega 3 fatty acid. It is found predominantly in fish sources.

Foods with the highest source of alpha-linolenic acid are:

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) must be obtained in the diet, as the body cannot produce this essential fatty acid.


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Important linolenic acid facts

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Why linolenic acid is important

Alpha-linolenic acid's anti-inflammatory properties may be a reason why research has shown that it is useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Other research shows that alpha-linolenic acid may be useful for treating other inflammatory disorders, such as ulcerative colitis.

The ratio of omega 3 fatty acids to omega 6 fatty acids is recommended to be around 3:1 to 1:1. Most people's diet has this ratio in the order of abotu 15:1 which could be a reason why there is a prevalence of so many inflammatory conditions, which a higher intake of omega 3 essential fatty acids would reduce.

There is a recommendation to eat oily fish at least twice a week to provide the amounts of omega 3 essential fatty acids that are required for good health.


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Last reviewed: 30 September 2007 || Last updated: 14 March 2010


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More information

To learn more, go to the the following web sites:


NOTE: Mega doses of any type of vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of complementary supplements.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.


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