Ahiflower oil, a relatively new vegan source of omega-3, got a fair share of attention at the 2017 Natural Products Expo West because it’s significantly different from other plant-based omega-3 oils like flaxseed and hemp.
How so? The main omega-3 found in plant foods (alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA) is found in both flaxseed oil and hempseed oil, but unlike flaxseed and hemp oils, ahiflower oil also contains a lesser-known omega-3 called stearidonic acid (SDA). SDA actually boosts the body’s levels of heart-healthy eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – one of the two omega-3s found in fish oil – far more efficiently than ALA does.
In addition, ahiflower oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is an anti-inflammatory omega-6 fat that’s found primarily in evening primrose oil. It also contains a smattering of the same heart-healthy fat found in olive oil, omega-9.
The only drawback to ahiflower oil, as with all plant-based omega-3s, is that it doesn’t boost blood levels of docosahexanoic acid (DHA), the second of the two important omega-3s found in fish, and the one that has the most effect on the brain. But if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, don’t despair. There is a plant-based source of DHA available from algae, and taking ahiflower oil along with algae-based DHA would be the perfect vegetarian solution for increasing omega-3 intake.