In my year or so since I started to eat paleo, I first learnt that we need a very good intake of omega 3 acids in our diet, and I later learnt that the really important fatty acids types are DHA and EPA those found mostly in fish, seafood and (something in) pastured meat. Which seems to indicate that our consumption of ALA, the remaining usual Omega 3 fatty acid, is not really important. Now I question myself whether the ALA content of foods is really irrelevant or just not as important as their content of DHA+EPA. In other words if we find say two types of eggs where one of them has extra ALA than the other one is this extra ALA a real plus in nutritional terms (though perhaps not as important as DHA), or is it not and then we should not pay the extra price for those ALA fortified eggs? (Please do not answer me that DHA fortified eggs are better, because I already know that and my question is specific about whether or not does it make sense to increase our ALA consumption) A related study that I found: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19261730
It's not that ALA isn't important (it is!), the focus on EPA/DHA is there because they aren't as common as ALA in our diets. ALA is plant-based, and we (should) get plenty of plants in our diet.
I haven't seen anything that necessarily bad about ALA... It's, good for the liver, and some studies suggest that it increases insulin sensitivity. I think it might get a bad rap around Paleos because of our O3:O6 focus, and it's low conversion rate.
I think your misunderstanding the reason importance is less placed on ALA. It can be 100% as important as dha and epa, the reason it is less focused on is actually because it is converted into dha and epa once inside your body, so basically when they say you need dha and epa it applies to ala as well. Your body can use ala for both but not 100% of ala is used by the body so when consuming ala make sure to get extra large amounts. That being said don't expect heart health from it as that has been only connected with eating fish and not a strong connection if you ask me. But you do need it for your brain so make sure to get it!
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