Essential fatty acids

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids 150 150 Abbe Lang

Our culture has conditioned us to think of fats as bad for our health. Advertizing pitches “low fat,” “no cholesterol” and “fat free” as healthier foods. But, it’s not that fats themselves are bad for us. We need fats, but we need the right kinds of fats.
Just like there is a vast difference between eating fresh fruits and vegetables for carbohydrates versus eating refined sugar and white flour for carbohydrates, there is a big difference between eating processed vegetable oils and deep fried foods and eating the natural fats found in fish, nuts and other foods.
The fact is that the body needs fats. Fats are used for fuel, especially for the heart. They help us stay warm in cold weather. They keep our skin soft and moist. Fats are also needed for cell membranes and structures (particularly in the nervous system), immune functions and hormone production.
Fats are composed of fatty acids. In fact, all dietary fats are triglycerides, which mean they are composed of three fatty acids attached to a molecule of glycerin.
Fatty acids are long chains of carbon molecules with hydrogen molecules attached to them. If all the carbon atoms have hydrogen molecules attached to them, the fat is saturated. If some of the carbon atoms are missing hydrogen atoms, the fatty acid is unsaturated.
Triglycerides composed primarily of saturated fatty acids tend to be solid at room temperature, while triglycerides composed of unsaturated fatty acids tend to be liquid at room temperature. However, all natural fats and oils are actually mixtures of both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
A monounsaturated fatty acid has only one pair of carbon atoms missing one hydrogen molecule each. A polyunsaturated fatty acid has two or more pairs of carbon atoms missing hydrogen bonds. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential fatty acids, because our body can’t make them. We have to get them in our diet.
There are two forms of polyunsaturated fatty acids which are essential to our health. The are named for where the carbon atoms are missing hydrogen molecules and are known as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids are very common in vegetable oils, which means that most people in modern society are getting adequate amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. However, most diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is about 1:4 or in other words one part omega-3 to four parts omega-6. The average American diet is between 1:10 and 1:25, which means we’re getting way too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3.
Deficiencies of omega-3 have been linked to decreased mental abilities, loss of memory, learning disabilities like ADHD, PMS problems, tingling sensations in the nerves, poor vision, the increased tendency to form blood clots, reduced immune activity, high blood pressure, an increase in inflammatory disorders like arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Since the vast majority of North Americans are deficient in omega-3 EFA this provides a clue as to why these health problems are so common.
Omega-3 is found naturally in flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, hempseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark green leafy vegetables (kale, mustard greens, collard greens, etc.), deep ocean fish (mackerel, sardines, anchovies, albacore tuna, etc.) and wild salmon (but not farm-raised salmon). It can also be obtained through supplements.
Essential fatty acid supplements can be helpful for reducing inflammation and pain in conditions like arthritis and autoimmune disorders. They may also be helpful for protecting the brain and nerves, enhancing memory and cognative ability. Omega-3 essential fatty acids also help to prevent cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) and eye diseases (like macular degenration, cataracts and glucoma).
Here are some supplements to consider.
Flax Seed Oil
Flax seed oil has the optimum balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 EFAs, making it one of the best EFA supplements. Just one tablespoon of flax seed oil will provide the minimum requirement of both omega-6 and omega-3 for an adult. Flax seed oil needs to be consumed raw as cooking destroys its EFA. It should also be kept refrigerated as it can go rancid quite rapidly.
Use flax seed oil directly or use it to make salad dressings or spreads. My favorite way to use it is to soften organic butter from grass-fed cows and blend it with flax seed oil to make flax seed oil butter. I use a ratio of about one part flax seed oil to two parts butter, but you can add even more flax seed oil if you want a softer spread.
Super Omega-3 EPA
Although Flax Seed Oil has a good ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, most Americans are already getting a higher amount of omega-6. So, for most people, supplementation with omega-3 is a good idea.
Super Omega-3 EPA is formulated from fish oil to provide the benefits of high omega-3 levels. Super Omega-3 EPA also contains EPA and DHA, the two fatty acids into which Omega-3 is converted. DHA is particularly important for the brain and nervous system and is also available as a separate supplement.
DHA is a derivative of omega-3 EPA. It is an essential fatty acid that is important for brain function and is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain. It is essential for development, growth and maintenance of the brain and the myelin sheath which protects the peripheral nervous system.
It may be helpful for brain function, memory, visual function and neurological conditions. DHA is found in breast milk and has now become a required nutrient in infant formulas. NSP’s DHA formula also contains some EPA, the other fatty acid produced from omega-3.
Krill Oil
Krill are tiny crustacians that live in the ocean and serve as a food source for whales, penguins and other ocean animals. NSP’s Krill Oil is made from a sustainable antartic krill. It is high in DHA and EPA omega-3 essential fatty acids. Krill oil contains phospholipids that aid in the absorption of essential fatty acids. NSP’s Krill oil also contains fish oil, vitamin K2 and astaxanthin.
An advantage of krill oil is that in avoids much of the pollution that affects modern oceans. Because of the vitamin K2 it contains it is even more benefical than Super Omega-3 EPA in supporting cardiovascular health. K2 also helps the bones and may inhibit the oxidative stress that causes Alzhimers disease.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids 150 150 Abbe Lang

Black Currant Oil

Essential fatty acids

Good fats raise High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels in the blood and one of the functions of (HDL) or “good cholesterol” is to grab your bad cholesterol, LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), and take it to the liver where it is broken down and excreted.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesize, and must be obtained through diet. EFAs are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from linolenic, linoleic, and oleic acids. There are two families of EFAs: Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-9 is necessary yet “non-essential” because the body can manufacture it on its own, provided essential EFAs are present.

Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from Linolenic Acid

Omega-6 from Linoleic Acid

Omega-9 from Oleic Acid

Essential fatty acids support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. The human body needs EFAs to manufacture and repair cell membranes, enabling the cells to obtain optimum nutrition and expel harmful waste products. A primary function of EFAs 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. Fetuses and breast-fed infants also require an adequate supply of EFAs through the mother’s dietary intake.

EFA 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.

Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid, which a healthy human will convert into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and later into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and the GLA synthesized from linoleic (Omega-6) acid are later converted into hormone-like compounds known as eicosanoids, which aid in many bodily functions including vital organ function and intracellular activity.

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 heart beat, learning disorders, menopausal discomfort, itchiness on the front of the lower leg(s), and growth retardation in infants, children, and pregnant women.

Linoleic Acid is the primary Omega-6 fatty acid. A healthy human with good nutrition will convert linoleic acid into gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which will later by synthesized, with EPA from the Omega-3 group, into eicosanoids. Some Omega-6s improve diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, skin disorders (e.g. psoriasis and eczema), and aid in cancer treatment. Linoleic acid often 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.

Black currant seed oil is derived from black currants (ribes nigrum), that are native to northern parts of Europe and Asia. Black currant seed oil is very rich in essential fatty acids, especially omega 6 and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Along with these, black currant seed oil is also rich with alpha-linoleic acid, Gamma-linolenic acid and stearidonic acids as well.

Regular consumption of black currant seed oil has proved to decrease the atherosclerotic lesions (vessel wall thrombus formation). Black currant seed oil benefits can significantly reduce platelet aggregation, reducing blood clotting, controlling blood pressure levels, reducing cholesterol levels and maintaining the overall heart health.

Black currant seed oil is rich with omega 6 fatty acids that prevent premature aging. Alpha-linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acids that are present in black currant seed oil benefit in healing scars, repairing damaged tissues, reduce premature wrinkle formation, maintaining healthy skin and reducing skin problems like dry and damaged skin.

Black currant oil has immense medicinal value. It generally is considered safe to use.

Black currant oil benefits: Cancer prevention – The anthocyanins found in black currant oil may help prevent cancer by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the free oxygen radicals formed as a result of various metabolic processes in the body, according to A. Bishayee, author of a study published in the January 2011 edition of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. If the free radicals are not stabilized, they may interact with DNA and proteins of the human cells and bring about irreversible changes, leading to cancer.

Cardioprotective – Another study published in the June 2010 edition of the “Phytotherapy Research” stated that black currant oil supplements can decrease the triglyceride and total cholesterol levels and increase the levels of good cholesterol or HDL in patients with mild hyperlipidemia or increased lipid levels in the blood. This may prevent plaque formation and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Rheumatoid Arthritis – Black currant oil may be beneficial to rheumatoid arthritis patients, says John Klippel in the book “Primer on Rheumatic Diseases.” This may be because of the presence of gamma-linolenic acid, which constitutes 15 to 20 percent of black currant oil and has the ability to reduce the inflammation of joints associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Vision – Anthocyanins in black currant may improve vision by lowering the dark adaptation threshold. They also promote the regeneration of rhodopsin and help relax the eye muscles in test animals.

Infections – According to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, black currant oil may promote proper functioning of the immune system by enhancing the cell-mediated immune response. Black currant extracts, according to, also inhibit the growth certain gram-negative bacteria and influenza viruses in vitro.

Women’s health – Anti-inflammatory prostaglandins lessen the effects of premenstrual cramps and breast tenderness. GLA is also shown to reduce and in some cases alleviate the symptoms of depression in menstruating women. In some women, taking black currant oil reduced the incidence of hot flashes and night sweats due to menopause.