Scientists have given essential fats their name because the body must have them to survive, but cannot synthesize them from any other substance we eat so a direct food source is required. Hence the name essential.
There is a popular misconception that all fats are bad and will either make us overweight or will clog our arteries and cause heart attacks. It is true that our diets should not supply more than 30% of our calories as fat but there are certain fats that we do need for good health they are known as Essential Fatty Acids.
Essential Fatty Acids are divided into two categories, Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids. They need to be supplied by the diet as the body cannot manufacture them.
Essential fatty acids are as important in our diet as proteins, vitamin and minerals are. If we obtain insufficient amounts of essential fatty acids in our diets then our cells will deteriorate.
It is estimated that more than 90% of the British public are deficient in essential fatty acids, especially omega 3. Omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids are just two of the fifty or so essential nutrients, which the body cannot make and must get from food.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids stabilize and strengthen cell membranes making them more flexible e.g. in the structure of the brain and cardiovascular system. They attract cholesterol out of the blood and into the cell wall. This action maintains both strength and flexibility enabling the red blood cells to re-shape, allowing delivery of oxygen to the extremities.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids easily become rancid; therefore they are often removed from food during processing to prolong shelf life. Foods which we thought naturally contained essential fatty acids may have actually had them removed. This adds yet another reason to avoid highly processed food.
Todays diet already supplies us with a great deal of Omega-6 due to the increased use of polyunsaturated fats and vegetable oils. A supplement with higher levels of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids will therefore restore the balance.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids flaxseed (linseed) oil, walnuts, green leafy vegetables and in oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines and salmon.
Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids can be found in nuts, seeds and their oils such as sunflower oil and olive oil.
Flaxseed oil also provides a source of Omega-9 Fatty Acids. Omega-9 fatty acid is not considered to be essential because it can be manufactured by the body.
At Country Living Health Store, one of the most popular Essential Fatty Acids supplement is Udo's Choice Ultimate Oil Blend.
Udo's Choice Ultimate Oil Blend is carefully formulated to contain a 2:1:1 ratio of Omega 3, 6 & 9 fatty acids, the ideal balance for today's low fat and Omega 3 deficient diets.
Functions of Essential Fatty Acids
- Help make joint lubricants
- Help transport cholesterol
- Help prevent the development of allergies
- Keep hormone producing glands active
- Regulate oxygen use, and energy production
- They are components of nerve cells
Signs of deficiency of Essential Fatty Acids:
- Eczema type skin eruptions
- Hair loss
- Liver degeneration
- Behavioral disturbances
- Difficulty in losing weight
- High blood pressure
- Impaired vision
- Tingling sensations in arms and legs
Some of the Essential Fatty Acid Supplements available at Country Living (online at healthstore.uk.com) are
- Udos Choice Ultimate Oil Blend and Ultimate Oil Blend Capsules
- Natures Aid Complete EFA
- Natures Plus Ultra Omega 3, 6 & 9 Essential Fatty Acid Capsules
- Naturess Aid High Strength Fish Oil capsules
- Solgar Fish Oil Concentrate Capsules
- Quest Marine EPA Capsules
- Vertesse Gelatine Free Omega-3, 6 & 9 Essential Fatty Acid Capsules
- VegEPA Capsules
- Natures Aid Flaxseed Oil Capsules
- Vertesse Gelatine free Flaxseed Oil Capsules
- Lifeplan Flaxseed Oil Capsules
- Viridian Organic Golden Flaxseed Oil 500ml
- FSC Organic Flaxseed