The key difference between DHA and omega 3 is that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is one of the three main types of omega 3 fatty acids found naturally in marine sources, including fatty fish, shellfish, and marine algae while omega 3 fatty acid is an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid that consists of a double bond in the third carbon position from the methyl terminal.
A fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long aliphatic chain. An aliphatic chain may contain double bonds as well. Saturated fatty acids do not have double bonds between carbon atoms of the hydrocarbon chain, while unsaturated fatty acids have double bonds between carbon atoms. Fatty acids are one of the two building blocks of a lipid molecule. They are the main components of cell membranes. Furthermore, some fatty acids, especially omega 3 fatty acids, are good for our health. In fact, omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid and is an essential fatty acid.
What is DHA?
DHA is one of the three main types of omega 3 fatty acids. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is the precursor for DHA production in our body. However, the conversion of ALA into DHA is extremely low. Hence, to produce the required amounts of DHA, we need to consume a lot of food that contains DHA. Or else, we need to take DHA as supplements to fulfil the requirement. DHA is present naturally in marine food sources such as fatty fish – salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring – shellfish, and marine algae. Commercial production of DHA involves marine algae or microalgae.
DHA is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina. Hence, DHA is the most abundantly present in the retina (eye) and brain. The low levels of DHA affect the brain and eyes. Vision problems arise due to low levels of DHA. Moreover, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the major diseases associated with low levels of DHA. Proper levels of DHA reduce heart diseases, arthritis, cancer, and asthma.
What is Omega 3?
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. They consist of a double bond in the third carbon position from the methyl terminal. There are three main types of omega 3 fatty acids. They are α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Salmon, halibut, sardines, albacore, trout, herring, walnut, flaxseed oil, canola oil, shrimp, clams, light chunk tuna, catfish, cod, and spinach are rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids provide several health benefits. They reduce the blood fat levels, especially triglyceride levels, reduce joint pains and stiffness, improve lung function, reduce the risk of dementia, reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death, can improve one’s blood lipid, decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, fight against depression, promote brain development and improve eye health, etc.
What are the Similarities Between DHA and Omega 3?
- DHA is a type of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Both omega-3 fatty acids and DHA may cause blood thinning.
- However, both omega 3 and DHA provide many health benefits to us.
- Moreover, both play key roles as structural components.
What is the Difference Between DHA and Omega 3?
DHA is one of the three main types of omega 3 fatty acids found commonly in marine foods, while Omega 3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. So, this is the key difference between DHA and omega 3.
Moreover, DHA is one type, while omega 3 fatty acids are three types as ALA, EPA, and DHA. Therefore, we can consider this too as a difference between DHA and omega 3.
Summary – DHA vs Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential lipid components which are polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are three main types of omega 3 fatty acids as ALA, EPA, and DHA. DHA is vital mainly for bran, eye and skin functions. Moreover, Omega 3 fatty acids provide many health benefits. Hence, we consume food rich in omega 3 fatty acids, including DHA. Thus, this summarizes the difference between DHA and omega 3.