Essential Fatty Acids are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesize, and must be obtained through diet or essential fatty acids supplements. ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from linolenic, linoleic, and oleic acids.There are two families of ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-7 and Omega-9 are necessary yet "non-essential" because the body can manufacture a modest amount on its own, provided ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS are present. Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from Linolenic Acid, Omega-6 from Linoleic Acid, and Omega-9 from Oleic Acid.
• ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. The human body needs ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS to manufacture and repair cell membranes, enabling the cells to obtain optimum nutrition and expel harmful waste products. A primary function of ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS is the production of prostaglandins, which regulate body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility, conception, and play a role in immune function by regulating inflammation and encouraging the body to fight infection. Essential Fatty Acids are also needed for proper growth in children, particularly for neural development and maturation of sensory systems, with male children having higher needs than females. Foetuses and breast-fed infants also require an adequate supply of ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS through the mother's dietary intake.
• ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS deficiency is common, particularly Omega-3 deficiency which is why we recommend fatty acid supplements as a starting point for many. An ideal intake ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is between 1:1 and 4:1, with most people in the UK only obtaining a ratio between 10:1 and 25:1. The minimum healthy intake for both linolenic (Omega-3) and linoleic (Omega-6) acid via diet, per adult per day, is 1.5 grams of each. One tablespoon of flaxseed oil can provide this amount, or larger amounts of other linolenic-rich foods. Because high heat destroys linolenic acid, cooking in linolenic-rich oils or eating cooked linolenic-rich fish is unlikely to provide a sufficient amount.
• ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS deficiency and Omega 6/3 imbalance is linked with serious health conditions, such as heart attacks, cancer, insulin resistance, asthma, lupus, schizophrenia, depression, postpartum depression, accelerated aging, stroke, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, ADHD, and Alzheimer's Disease, among others. It is clear why everyone should consider essential fatty acids supplements.
Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid)
• Omega-3s are used in the formation of cell walls, making them supple and flexible, and improving circulation and oxygen uptake with proper red blood cell flexibility and function.
• Omega-3 deficiencies are linked to decreased memory and mental abilities, tingling sensation of the nerves, poor vision, increased tendency to form blood clots, diminished immune function, increased triglycerides and "bad" cholesterol (LDL) levels, impaired membrane function, hypertension, irregular heartbeat, learning disorders, menopausal discomfort, itchiness on the front of the lower leg(s), and growth retardation in infants, children, and pregnant women. Including fatty acid supplements in your daily regime can significantly improve these conditions very quickly.
Whilst Omega-3 can be found in a variety of foods (flaxseeds, hempseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark leafy greens), most people find it easier to include a fatty acid supplement their diet, such as fish oil.
Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid)
• Some Omega-6s improve diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, skin disorders (e.g. psoriasis and eczema), and aid in cancer treatment.
• Although most Americans and people in the UK obtain an excess of linoleic acid, often it is not converted to GLA because of metabolic problems caused by diets rich in sugar, alcohol, or trans fats from processed foods, as well as smoking, pollution, stress, aging, viral infections, and other illnesses such as diabetes. It is best to eliminate these factors when possible, but some prefer to supplement with GLA-rich foods such as borage oil, black currant seed oil, or evening primrose oil.
Whilst Omega-6 can be found in a variety of foods (flaxseeds, hempseeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds (raw), olive oil, olives, borage oil, evening primrose oil, chicken), most people find it easier to use an essential fatty acids supplement in their diet by using something like hempseed oil.
Most are familiar with the essential omega’s 3, 6 & 9; however few of us are aware of the importance of Omega 7. Derived from Sea Buckthorn seed and fruit, Omega 7 contains both palmitoleic and cis-vaccenic acids which have been used in Chinese and Tibetan medicine for centuries to promote digestive and urogenital health. Omega 7 is important to support the skin, GI tract and mucous membrane health of the digestive, urinary and reproductive systems.
Omega-9 (Oleic Acid)
• Essential, but technically not an ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS, because the human body can manufacture a limited amount, provided essential ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS are present.
• Monounsaturated oleic acid lowers heart attack risk and arteriosclerosis, and aids in cancer prevention.
Omega 9 is relatively abundant in a variety of foods (Olive oil (extra virgin or virgin), olives, avocados, almonds, peanuts, sesame oil, pecans, pistachio nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc)
One to two tablespoons of extra virgin or virgin olive oil per day should provide sufficient oleic acid for adults. However, the "time-released" effects of obtaining these nutrients from nuts and other whole foods is thought to be more beneficial than consuming the entire daily amount via a single oil dose.
If the discussion on Essential Fatty Acids Supplements leaves you with more questions than answers, then ASK THE EXPERT and we will guide you to the right fatty acid supplement for your situation.