Health A-Z Archives: Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids

Chemical structure of stearidonic acid showing physiological (red) and chemical (blue) numbering conventions

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)

Some people may have been confused by a comment Dr. Pam Popper made on fats in our diet. She herself eats natural fats like avocado, nuts and seeds etc (I know this because I lived with and fed and ate meals with her for 10 days). She was not saying avoid eating natural fats, just eat them sparingly, in small quantities and do not add extra oil to your meals. If you stick to my recommendations on fats in Perfect Health The Natural Way, you will see they are ideal for this.

The problem arises when we eat the all of the recommended quantities all in one day, instead of only one of them, or a little of each.

Following is some excerpts from a report from Jeanice, one of our Natural Health and Nutrition students. Jeanice’s assignment explains clearly why we need fats based on sound physiological science.

These fats are found in:

  • 1-3 avocados a day
  • 1-3 Tablespoons cold pressed vegetable oils
  • 5-10 olives
  • A quarter to a half a cup raw nuts or seeds. Ground flax or Chia seeds are excellent for this too.
  • 2-6 sweet corn on the cob.

All this depends on what your personal needs are. A good way to know you are lacking them is when you constantly crave fatty foods like cheese, potato chips, butter cream and animal flesh (cooked or dried), or even chocolate (because of it’s fat content) etc…

What are the functions on the essential fatty acids?

Essential fatty acids have many functions throughout the body. Here are just some:

  • Energy production: In a study with athletes in Denmark, we showed that within one month of giving athletes one tablespoon per 50 pounds of body weight per day of an oil blend with an (omega) n-3: (omega) n-6 ratio of 2:1, stamina increased by up to 40 or even 60%. Athletes could exercise longer before reaching exhaustion, recovered more quickly from fatigue, could exercise more often without over-training, healed quicker from injuries, built muscle faster, and had less joint pain. Energy improvement is also seen in non-athletes and older people.
  • Brain Function: In our work with the blended oil, we have seen consistent improvements in brain function, and research with EFAs from other sources has also shown brain benefits. Among these are elevated mood, lifted depression, increased calmness, better handling of stress, less hyperactivity, better focus, better mental processing, faster learning, increased intelligence, better concentration, increased mental stamina, and improved motor coordination.
  • Skin, Hair, and Nails: EFAs are required for healthy skin and hair, and are required for normal nail growth. They moisturize skin and prevent dryness.
  • Mental Health: Among the mentally ill, EFAs can decrease hallucinations in schizophrenics, elevate mood, lift depression, improve symptoms in bipolar and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and improve brain function in Alzheimer’s disease and autism.
  • Diabetes: EFAs are required for insulin function. N-3 make diabetics more insulin-sensitive.
  • Cancer. N-3 EFAs lower cancer risk: Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). N-3 can decrease most CVD risk factors, including high triglycerides (blood fats), blood pressure, platelet stickiness, fibrinogen, and lipoprotein(a). N-3 also keep the inside of our arteries smooth. N-3 and n-6 keep the heart beat regular.
  • Weight Management: N-6 slightly and n-3 more effectively help reduce fat production in the body. They also increase fat burning and heat production in the body, and shift the body from burning glucose to burning fats. Saturated, monounsaturated, and trans- fatty acids do not help to manage weight. Sugar triggers increased fat production in the body. Starch can also lead to overweight.
  • Digestion: EFAs improve gut integrity, decrease gut inflammation, and decrease ‘leaky gut’ that can lead to allergies.
  • Allergies: EFAs reduce symptoms of allergies. They work best if digestive enzymes rich in protein-digesting protease are also used.
  • Inflammation: N-3 reduce inflammation. Digestive enzymes are also helpful.
  • Autoimmune Conditions: N-3 dampen the over-response of the immune system in autoimmune conditions. Again, enzymes are also helpful.
  • Injury: EFAs speed the healing of injuries.
  • Bone Minerals: N-3 improve bone mineral retention, thereby inhibiting the development of osteoporosis.
  • Stress: EFAs, by optimizing serotonin production, improve response to stress. People report feeling calmer, getting stressed less easily, dealing with stressful situations more calmly, and losing their temper less often.
  • Sleep: EFAs improve sleep in some people.
  • Hormones: EFAs improve hormone functions. Hormone levels may decrease, yet the effects of hormones remain normal. EFAs thereby ease the work load of glands.
  • Organs: EFAs are required for liver and kidney function.
  • Reproduction: EFAs are required for sperm formation, the female cycle, and pregnancy.

Mary-Ann’s Reccommendation for Essential Fatty Acids

The best blend I have ever used – the one with the quickest and best results is Aimega by The Aim Companies. Following the 100 Days to Health program will help you make sure that you are taking enough of the right fatty acids on a daily basis while you transition to a healthier lifestyle.

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