Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the proper functioning of the human body. For example DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid derived from animals, makes up about 10–20% of the total fat content in the brain.
A low intake of omega-3 is associated with a lower IQ, depression, mental disorders, heart disease and many other serious diseases.
There are three main types of omega-3 fats: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA comes from plant oils, while the best sources of EPA and DHA are fatty fish, fish oils and certain algal oils. The plant form, ALA, needs to be converted into DHA or EPA to function correctly in the human body. However, this conversion process is inefficient in humans, so it is best to eat plenty of foods high in DHA and EPA.