ALA vs. EPA vs. DHA: What Are Their Roles?
ALA is considered an “essential fatty acid” since our bodies can’t make it naturally and we need to get it from food. ALA can actually be converted into EPA and then DHA but only in small amounts. (1)
EPA and DHA are considered “long-chain omega-3s” and are present in our body. EPA and DHA omega-3s are particularly enriched in our brains and eyes. (2) Apart from being key components of our cell membranes, omega-3 fatty acids are also involved in supporting brain, vision and heart health. Ongoing scientific studies continue to provide evidence for other health benefits of EPA and DHA.*
Where Can We Find These Omega-3s?
As mentioned above, ALA can be converted into EPA and then to DHA in our livers, but the conversion is very limited. Therefore, consuming EPA or DHA directly from foods and/or dietary supplements is a practical way to increase levels of these fatty acids in the body. US national health surveys revealed that most individuals have low consumption of oily-fish, thus equating to commonly under consumed dietary EPA and DHA. Wild fish consumption can increase our exposure to mercury and heavy metal. Although heavy metal exposure is typically not a huge concern with the recommended fish intake of two-servings per week. Consuming enough EPA or DHA from foods is also a significant challenge for vegans and vegetarians, so vegan-friendly supplements are feasible solutions.*
Ritual’s Form of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Here at Ritual, we believe in creating science-backed, clean, traceable products that support people and the planet. So when it came to picking an omega-3 to include in our multivitamins, we knew we had to go one step further. We partnered with Algarithm, who developed a vegan algal oil sourced from microalgae which is a vegan-friendly option. Fun fact: By teaming-up with Algarithm and choosing a vegan algal oil instead of fish oil, we’ve saved 1.2 billion fish in 2022 which is the equivalent of feeding a humpback whale for 36 years!
The fermentation of microalgae is a patented process that leaves minimal environmental contamination. And when it comes to efficacy, look no further. In a peer reviewed clinical study over 12 weeks, Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+ was shown to increase Omega-3 DHA levels by 41% compared to placebo.*
Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+ and Essential for Men Multivitamin 18+ are both formulated with 330mg of vegan omega-3 DHA, and to support increased nutritional needs during pregnancy, Essential Prenatal Multivitamin is formulated with 350mg of vegan omega-3 DHA.*