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Ideally, we get the nutrition we need from the foods we eat. In most cases, our bodies get from these foods that vitamins and minerals they need and put them to good use. When it comes to essential fatty acids, however, our bodies need some extra help from linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. These compounds are used to build omega-3 and omega-6 and help the brain and nervous system function. They also regulate inflammatory and immune responses.

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1. Alpha-Linolenic Acid

Although they both hold an important role in maintaining a healthy life, linoleic and alpha-linolenic are quite different from one another. Alpha-linolenic acid is used to make eicosanoids in the body, which regulate inflammation. Chains of the fatty acid join to create omega-3 chains known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These chains protect the body from coronary heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

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