Ahiflower offers a rich single-plant source of omega-3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and SDA
(stearidonic acid); omega-6 GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and LA (linoleic acid); and omega-9 OA (oleic acid).
Like ALA (alpha-linolenic acid, the most common form of plant-based omega-3), SDA stearidonic acid) is a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA), and both are converted to the longer-chain fatty acid EPA, which can be obtained from some fish. People seek to increase their tissue EPA levels in order to improve cardiovascular, cognitive, joint, and immune functions—most often from fish oils.
The advantage of SDA relates to the efficiency of its conversion to EPA. When consumed in food, SDA converts directly to EPA, while ALA has to convert first to SDA, then to EPA. A liver enzyme (known as delta-6-desaturase) is required to convert ALA to SDA—and this becomes a rate- limiting step. Since providing SDA directly bypasses this step, it is metabolised more efficiently, resulting in higher levels of EPA in the body. A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled human trial revealed that Ahiflower oil converted to EPA 3 to 4 times better than flaxseed oil. Ahiflower contains 18 – 20% SDA, the highest level of naturally occurring SDA of any commercially available dietary plant oil. Only a few other specialty oilseed crops contain any SDA (echium, hemp, and blackcurrent seed), and there is no SDA in flaxseed, chia, perilla, or sacha inchi.
How does Ahiflower oil compare to marine Omega sources like fish and krill?
Most plant-sourced omega fatty acid oils contain omega-3 ALA and omega-6 LA. Few contain omega-6 GLA in meaningful quantities. Even fewer contain any SDA at all. Ahiflower is unique in that it contains ALL of these components, and its highest-available SDA content results in a far more efficient conversion to EPA in the body as compared to flax and other oils that primarily supply ALA. To put this into perspective, it would take 4 softgels of flaxseed oil to yield the same amount of beneficial EPA in the body as 1 softgel of Ahiflower oil.
Is this a good vegan alternative?
There is a huge potential for this British grown crop as Ahiflower, is versatile, as apart from being a credible Vegan alternative to your Omega sources and, unlike fish oil, it has a neutral taste and smell. It can be easily added to functional foods, like salad dressing or omega boosts for smoothies as well as being used as a supplement.
Further reading here