Definition of Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids: A class of fatty acids found in fish oils, especially from salmon and other cold-water fish, that acts to lower the levels of cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoproteins) in the blood. (LDL cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol.)
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are the two principal omega-3 fatty acids. The body has a limited ability to manufacture EPA and DHA by converting the essential fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is found in flaxseed oil, canola oil or walnuts.
Omega-3 fish oil is considered a neutraceutical, a food that provides health benefits. Eating fish has been reported, for example, to protect against late age-related macular degeneration, a common eye disease. The maximum benefit appears to be from eating fish once a week.
(In technical terms, omega-3 fatty acids have a double bond three carbons from the methyl moiety.)Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 4/27/2011 5:27:15 PM
Medical Dictionary Definitions A - Z
Search Medical Dictionary
Tips to keep it under control.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Most Popular Topics
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies