Essential Fatty Acids Home
The following is an exert from: Youth Renewed – A Common Sense Approach to Vibrant Health … at Any Age, by William E. Code, MD and Claudia Tiefisher
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are called “essential” for two reasons.
One, because they are essential in the diet as the body cannot manufacture them,
and two, because they are essential for health.
Many people do double damage to their bodies with the common North European diet. They eat far, far too much of the damaging trans fats (found in margarine and most processed foods), and consume an excessive amount of saturated (animal) fats found in butter and other dairy products and in most meats. On top of this, most people do not eat nearly enough of the EFAs (found in flax seeds, most types of fish, dark green leafy vegetables, cold pressed oils, nuts, and seeds). Making matters worse, it is usually the presence of too much “bad” fat in the diet (and calories, which come from every source, including proteins and carbohydrates) which contributes to obesity or overweight. The response by the dieter is usually to attempt to cut all fat from the diet. But we’re doing it all wrong.
Two things happen when we start cutting fat from our diet. First of all, we need calories to live, for energy, for cellular reproduction, for life. Our bodies will demand food and until we give it food – and the right kind, that is nutritious – we can expect to remain hungry and sluggish. What is the right kind of food?
Whole food – not some processed composite of white flour, instant potatoes, or packaged macaroni dinner. If we are convinced all fats are evil, we will reach for carbohydrates for the simple reason that we are hungry. This is another double-edged sword. You will read more about this in the chapter on digestion. Unless we reach for the right type of carbohydrate (it should contain some fibre and for most people meals should contain some protein), we send our insulin levels skyrocketing. That signals our bodies to convert the sugar (the carbohydrate) into fat. Fibre, in effect, puts the brakes on the absorption of sugars we consume (as does protein), creating what might be called a sustained release. Once again, whole foods contain more fibre, vitamins, and other phytochemicals to help us.
Now, we will crave fats too, especially if we have made a concerted effort to cut them out. (Remember, we need fats.) So, what happens? Our bodies become so starved for good fats, and send out so many signals telling us we need fat, that we turn into the nearest drive-through and load up on heavy combinations of trans fats and saturated fats. Nowhere in the world will you find a drive-through menu, take-out, or convenience food high in essential fatty acids. Even worse, these foods are also high in simple carbohydrates (white buns) and low in fibre (unless you’re having a side salad, which contains far less fibre and food value than you might believe, considering some of the ingredients and the fatty dressings likely to be poured on top). The meat is fatty, fried and has no fibre.
We need good
fats. We need essential fatty acids like we need the sunshine and the rain.
This cannot be over-emphasized, and the more natural and pure the source, the better.
Limiting intake of damaged fats is important, but even more important is to make sure you are getting enough essential fatty acids in your diet.
If you aren’t getting enough, you need to take supplements.
There are many reasons for this: first, not getting enough good fat signals your body that you are starving. That slows down metabolism. If the body continues to receive these signals – that it is never going to get enough food to satisfy itself – then it will continue to use what it gets sparingly, i.e., it will burn calories slowly, and store what it can (as fat) for future use.
Essential fatty acids are normal components of the walls of our cells. Without sufficient EFAs our cell walls and the cell’s internal structures develop holes and become prone to leakage and poor energy transfer. EFAs also enable the cell membrane to eliminate toxins from the inside to the outside of the cell and especially to allow liver cells to cleanse the blood of toxic material. EFAs keep your cell barriers strong and thus improve the efficiency of your immune system.
Adequate EFAs in your diet have desirable effects on many disorders. They improve skin and hair, reduce blood pressure, aid in the prevention of arthritis, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reduce the risk of blood clot formation. They are beneficial for candida yeast conditions, cardiovascular disease, eczema, and psoriasis. Found in high concentrations in the brain (especially the omega-3 group), EFAs aid in the transmission of nerve impulses and are needed for the normal development and functioning of the brain. A deficiency of essential fatty acids can lead to an impaired ability to learn and recall information. A deficiency has even been associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). So, consider this: the next time you are called a “fathead”, it is really a compliment!
There are two essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are named “3” and “6”, respectively, because in the carbon chain described earlier, there is a double bond between the carbon atoms between the third and fourth carbon atom in omega-3, and between the sixth and seventh carbon atom in omega-6. There may be more than one double bond in the chain – unsaturated fatty acids in nature have from one to six double bonded carbon atoms. Life forms manufacture certain types of fatty acids. Plants are capable of forming these double bonds close to the beginning of the carbon chain; humans are not.
An interesting note here: if animals, especially birds, are fed a diet high in EFAs, there will be more of these EFAs available for us in their eggs, meat, and fat – for example omega-3 chickens and Emus.
The point to
understand here is that we
the 3-position and 6-position fatty acids.
These are the fatty acids the body prefers to use for the manufacture of enzymes and hormones, rather than for use as energy. The body prefers to use the longer chain saturated fatty acids for energy, for fuel. It can also take these fatty acids (the longer ones) and desaturate them, converting them to a form more preferable for enzyme and hormone manufacture. However, it cannot convert them into the form where the double bond appears in the 3 or 6 position. We must therefore get these fatty acids from our diets. The human body cannot make double bonds prior to the 7th carbon atom.
Sources of Omega-3
- flax, hemp seed, canola, soy beans, and dark, green leafy vegetables
- oils of cold water fish and marine animals (i.e. salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines)
Sources of Omega-6
- safflower, sunflower, hemp, soy bean, walnut, pumpkin, and sesame
- borage oil, black currant seed oil, evening primrose oil
Emu Oil has also been documented to contain significant amounts of the essential fatty acids,
omega-3 and omega-6, and is 70% unsaturated fats.
can learn more about essential fatty acids, the nutrition that your body needs
to function properly,
Emu Oil and how it can help for a whole host of ailments, as well as information on how to protect the body from chronic illness and a whole lot more.
To do this, order Youth Renewed – A Common Sense Approach to Vibrant Health … at Any Age from our shop on-line page.