When considering the essential fatty acids, ALA (an omega–3 fatty acid) is metabolized preferentially over LA (an omega-6 fat); when either fat is not available or limited, oleic acid (an omega-9 fat) is metabolized.5 Interestingly, most reports of EFAD are of LA deficiency, with little comment of ALA deficiency.
The principal omega–3 is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is then converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenonic acid (DHA) by the body. This makes ALA the only essential omega–3 fatty acid. ALA can be found in many vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
That isn't the case for omega–3 fatty acids (also called omega–3 fats and n-3 fats). These are essential fatsâ€”the body can't make them from scratch but must get .