As many people including vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians and others concerned about sustainability in nutrition turn their awareness to healthy omega fatty acid sources, plant-based Ahiflower® stands out. Ahiflower oil, also called “refined Buglossoides arvensis oil” on product Nutrition Facts panels, is a new dietary oil extracted from seeds of a regeneratively grown non-GMO crop by the same name. It brings a complete and balanced omega profile from the most bioavailable omega complex, for which Ahiflower is one-of-a-kind among natural plant sources. Apart from its uniquely rich and balanced omega profile, it has a clean and appealing taste, and it has clinically proven-health benefits.
A complex omega profile mirrors a biodiverse UK landscape where Ahiflower grows
As doctors and nutritionists frequently remind us, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential to cellular functioning and need to be obtained from our diets in the right balance. However, the standard Western diet is characterized by a big imbalance in omegas: our processed, ready-to-eat foods have too much of the omega-6’s and not enough of the omega-3’s typically found in oily fish like sardines or salmon, in certain nuts (like walnuts), and certain dietary oils. Steadily over time this imbalance of omega-6’s contributes to an accumulating pro-inflammatory state in the body linked to a number of chronic and metabolic health challenges. This challenge starts to resolve when we re-balance our omega fat intake ratio towards omega-3’s over omega-6’s. But as noted, especially for vegans and vegetarians, there is a smaller number of efficient and tasty ways to accomplish this. Ideally, we would want to sustain both our health and our planet at the same time. This is where Ahiflower oil shines! Grown exclusively on independent family-owned farms in the UK, Ahiflower’s non-GMO cultivation uses regenerative farming practices that promote soil microbial fertility and health, along with the health of pollinators like bees and butterflies. Check out Ahiflower farmer Simon Parrish’s Essex UK farming operation here.
Omega 3 – Ahiflower is the richest, most biologically advanced non-GMO plant source
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for human health because of their
anti-inflammatory cellular support properties. Alpha-linolenic (ALA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid that we need to obtain from our diet. Two other well-studied omega-3 fatty acids are Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), for which an adequate intake is linked with a positive influence on cardiovascular, brain, and immune wellness. EPA and DHA are mainly consumed from wild-harvested marine forage fish sources—sardines, menhaden, anchovies, and krill.
Luckily, our bodies are naturally evolved to metabolize all the omega-3’s we need from more sustainable solutions. After we consume ALA, it is converted in our livers into longer-chain more bioavailable and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. See Figure 1.
Figure 1: Metabolism of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids.
Many vegetable oils contain ALA, and so does Ahiflower. In contrast to other plant-based ALA sources like flaxseed or chia seed oil, Ahiflower also contains a less well-known but crucial omega-3 fatty acid: Stearidonic acid (SDA). SDA is also converted by the body into longer-chain omega-3’s like EPA, yet this conversion is up to 4 times more efficient than with flaxseed oil.
Omega 6 – Essential yes, but keep it in balance
Omega-6 fatty acids, notably the most common form linoleic acid (LA), are also essential in a healthy diet. Unlike omega 3’s, however, their excessive consumption — out of balance with essential omega-3 fatty acids — has an overall pro-inflammatory effect on the body. This is especially true when we consume excess high-LA oils via deep-fried and other highly processed foods that contain little or no omega-3’s. To their credit, high LA oils like sunflower and safflower oils boost good cholesterol (HDL) and lower the bad ones (LDL). But again, balance is the key.
While Ahiflower oil contains some LA (~12%), it is far less predominant than Ahiflower’s richest-available omega-3 ALA and SDA (~65%) combination. Nutritionists routinely state that the ideal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio to consume daily is 4:1, which is the ratio in Ahiflower oil. As a helpful bonus, Ahiflower is one of the few dietary oils that also contains omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in meaningful quantities. GLA is widely recognized as the “good” omega-6 fatty acid because its overall effect is anti-inflammatory, for example in skin health, hormonal balance, and women’s reproductive health. Higher GLA levels are therefore better vs sources that contain only LA. Balancing the essential fatty acids ALA and LA in the right ratio, while also providing the richest-available combined SDA and GLA levels, makes Ahiflower clearly stand out for supporting daily wellness.
Human clinical trials on Ahiflower
Ahiflower’s producers, Natures Crops International, have insisted on leading the scientific understanding of Ahiflower oil’s safety and efficacy in people. In 2016 and 2017, two randomized double-blind placebo-controlled human clinical trials were conducted in healthy men and women. The first trial proved that Ahiflower oil was safe at high intake levels (>9 g/day) and converted readily to circulating EPA far more efficiently than flaxseed oil. The second trial also showed significant increases in circulating EPA levels after 28 days, starting with low dosages typical of omega dietary supplements (2-3 g/day), confirming Ahiflower oil’s superiority among plant-based omega-3 sources. Further this study also found the first evidence that Ahiflower oil has specific effect in humans by boosting the body’s natural anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, a first for an SDA-rich plant-based dietary oil.
Bring me regenerative!
Ideally we would all want the plant-based foods and supplements we consume for our own health to reinforce healthy farming and soil ecosystems. That way our personal quests for greater health actually combine to build greater regional biodiversity, cleaner water and air, and soil fertility where our healthy products are grown. Regenerative farming is a measurable way of giving back more to the soil and environment than it takes to yield up a certain crop, and always minimizing tillage, inputs, and amendments in favor of natural fertility and pathogen resistance. Ahiflower is produced this way, fully traceably back to the UK farms where the oilseed crops are grown. By using Ahiflower oil, you’re meeting your omega nutritional needs fully while reducing pressure on wild-harvested marine stocks from the oceans.
With Ahiflower oil — the richest plant-based ‘multi-omega’ available — when we say ‘there is no catch’ we really mean it.
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