Omega-3 Chia Seed Extract
Valensa’s TresalbioTM Omega-3 Chia Seed Extract - A New Plant Based Omega-3 Rich Oil
There are times when the solution to a serious problem often stares us right in the face.
The problem – The Western world needs a new, viable, stable, crop-based, alternative source of heart healthy dietary ALA (Omega-3).
The solution – Ch Ch Ch Chia... Yes, the seed associated with the well known "Chia Pet" holds the keys as a functional superfood with 20% Omega-3 in each seed. Chia is the vegetable source with the most omega-3 content and has a myriad of other health benefits.
Chia seed, known scientifically as Salvia hispanica L. was well chosen for its modern plant-friend mission because the seed can absorb up to 15 times its weight in water, forms a sticky gel like coat on hydration, and has an excellent germination rate, even from seeds stored for several years. However, the story of Salvia hispanica goes back over 3,000 years to the Aztecs of Central America.
Chia was one of the four main foods of the Aztecs, along with corn, amaranth and beans. (In fact, "chia" is the Mayan word for "strength"). After the arrival of the Spaniards, the plant became almost extinct because of cultural and religious reasons. However, consumption from rudimentary production or wild plants never stopped. As part of an effort led by pioneers such as Wayne Coates and Ricardo Ayersa at the University of Arizona, it was re-domesticated in the 1990’s in South America, making chia more readily available for food, seed oil, animal feed and cosmetic applications.
Chia is an oilseed. It grows in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the American continent, from the valleys of Central Mexico to the Northwestern valleys of Salta, in Argentina. It has similar agricultural requirements of other oilseeds, like flax. Normally, chia seed contains from 30% to 35% seed oil, of which approximately two-thirds is Omega-3. The following charts show that it is the highest natural known source of Omega-3 oil:Omega–3 content as the percentage of ALA in the seed oil.
|Common name||Alternate name||Linnaean name||% n3|
|Chia||chia sage||Salvia hispanica||64|
|Kiwifruit||Chinese gooseberry||Actinidia chinensis||62|
|Black Raspberry||Rubus occidentalis||33|
There has been a great deal of confusion in the marketplace about what constitutes an "omega-3", a term now used widely, yet loosely, to describe many important poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3, also known as ALA, is an Essential Fatty Acid, as is Omega-6, also known as LA. These are called essential as the human body needs them for normal functionality, yet the body does not produce them. Omega-6 is readily available in the Western diet as it’s found in corn and soybean oils used prevalently in cooking, baking and frying. Omega-3 however is rarely found naturally in the Western diet, only derived from certain fish, and therefore should be supplemented.
ALA and LA’s importance cannot be under-estimated in man as the charts below will indicate. In addition, many consumers have heard about the heart healthy benefits of fish oil based EPA and DHA. Fish oil contains these important downstream metabolites of ALA along with a great deal of saturated fat and, without a doubt, clinical trials have shown the value of certain fish oils in mitigating the risk of cardiovascular disease ("CVD"); however, until recently the biological benefits of ALA and in particular a well balanced diet of ALA and LA were not adequately studied under clinical conditions and in the laboratory to confirm ALA’s biological significance.
Confirmation of the efficient metabolic conversion of ALA to heart healthy EPA and brain healthy DHA in short studies in man and even more impressively in longer term studies have recently emerged.
More about ALA’s biological significance:
Take the uncanny case of the poor level of the essential omega-3 fatty acid ALA in the Western diet. This diet is characterized as rich in excessive quantities of the poly-unsaturated essential omega-6 fatty acid LA, its high level of saturated fat and its increasing levels of trans-fatty acid content.
The following chart shows the historical consumption and significance of such dietary changes in Western man and helps us understand the heart healthy nature of dietary omega-3 fatty acids and the need to supplement our omega-6 rich diet with plant based ALA sources.
|Total Fat and Fat Composition Changes in Man Over Time
Much can be concluded from the chart above but in short it shows that modern western man has dramatically increased intake levels of saturated fat, Omega-6 LA and trans fat at the expense of omega-3 consumption. But you might wonder if this trend is worthy of our attention.
The following chart leaves no doubt in the scientific community about the relevance of these dietary changes over time.
|The LA to ALA Ratio and Its Correlation to Cardio Vascular Disease Mortality in Man|
|USA / EU||Japan||Greenland Inuit|
|Ratio LA/ALA||30 / 1||12 / 1||1 / 1|
|CVD Mortality / 1000||45||12||5|
As the charts indicate, Western diets rich in the omega-6 LA are highly correlated with severe cardiovascular mortality when compared to the more balanced omega-3 diets found elsewhere in the world.
In addition, ALA is an extremely important down regulator of the LA metabolic cascade that leads to the poly-unsaturated fatty acid arachidonic acid ("AA"), the biological precursor responsible for the in vivo production of the highly inflammatory prostaglandins, the potent platelet aggregating thromboxanes that lead to strokes and MI’s and the eicosanoids responsible for immune response. When AA is available in excess quantities in cellular membranes your body is set up for a serious over-reaction to stress stimuli. This is why a healthy diet is characterized with a balance of ALA and LA. The data presented below offers the reader important insight into the value of a balanced intake of plant derived ALA (ALA is not available in fish oil!). The facts below will now alert you of the significance of ALA in your diet, exactly how your body converts ALA to EPA and DHA and why you need to avoid excessive omega-6 (LA) intake.