The Harp Seal is a marine mammal found abundantly in the cold waters off Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. Oils from Harp Seals are an extremely rich source of long-chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA’s). In our body the fatty tissue consists of two distinctive fatty acids, which are Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-6 comes mainly from vegetables, seeds and nut oils, while Omega-3 mainly comes from fish and marine mammals. The Omega-3 fatty acids include the essential fatty acid Alpha-Linolenic Acid (18:3 n-3) and its longer chain metabolites EPA, DHA and DPA. Fatty acids are the basic building blocks of which fats and oils are composed. Certain fatty acids are considered “essential” because they cannot be produced in the body and must be obtained from outside sources.
The heart health benefits of the long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, are the best known. These benefits were discovered in the 1970’s by researchers studying the Greenland Inuit. The Greenland Inuit consumed large amounts of fat from seals, but displayed virtually no cardiovascular disease. The high level of Omega-3 fatty acids consumed by the Inuit reduced triglycerides, heart rate, blood pressure and atherosclerosis.