National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important for a number of functions in the body. Some kinds of omega-3s, including EPA and DHA, are found in fatty fish—such as salmon, tuna, and trout—and shellfish—such as crab, mussels, and oysters. A different type of omega-3, called ALA, is found in some vegetable oils—such as canola and soy oils. Omega-3s are also available as dietary supplements. Moderate evidence has emerged about the health benefits of eating seafood (fish and shellfish). The health benefits of omega-3 dietary supplements are unclear.