EssentialFatty Acids (EFAs)
Fatty Acids are the basic building blocks of which fats and oils are composed. Contraryto popular myth, the body does need fat. It must be the right kind, however.
The fatty acids that are necessary for health and thatcannot be made by the body are called essential fatty acids or polyunsaturates. EFAs mustbe supplied through the diet.
Essential fatty acids have desirable effects on many disorders. Theyimprove the 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 candidiasis, cardiovascular disease, eczema, and psoriasis. Foundin high concentions in the brain, EFAs aid in the transmission of nerver impulses and areneeded for the normal development and functioning of the brain. A deficiency of essentialfatty acids can lead to an impaired ability to learn and recall information.
Every living cell in the body needs essential fatty acids. They areessential for rebuilding and producing new cells. Essential fatty acids are also used bythe body for the production of prostaglandins, hormonelike substances that act as chemicalmessengers and regulators of various body processes.
There are two basic categories of essential fatty acids, designatedomega-3 and omega-6. Omega-6 EFAs, which include linoleic and gamma-linolenic acids, arefound primarily in raw nuts, seeds, and legumes, and in unsaturated begetable oils, suchas borage oil, grape seed oil, primrose oil, sesame oil, and soybean oil. Omega-3 EFAs,including alpha-linolenix and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are found in fresh deepwaterfish, fish oil, and certain vegetable oils, among them canola oil, flaxseed oil, andwalnut oil. In order to supply essential fatty acids, these oils must be consumed in pureliquid or supplement form and must not be subjected to heat, either in processing orcooking. heat destorys essential fatty acids. Worse, it results in the creation ofdangerous free radicals. If oils are hydrogenated (processed to make the oil more solid,as is commonly done in the production of maragarine), the linoleic acid is converted intotrans-fatty acids, which are not beneficial to the body.
The daily requirement for essential fatty acids is satisfied by anamount equivalent to 10 to 20 percent of total caloric intake. The most essential of theessential fatty acids is linoleic acid.
A number of sources of essential fatty acids are recommened in thisbook, among them fish oils, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, grape seed oil, and primrose oil.
Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Salmon, mackerel, menhaden,herring, and sardines are good sources of fish oil because they have a higher fat contentand provide more omega-3 factors than other fishes. For instance, 4 ounces of salmoncontains up to 3,600 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, while 4 ounces of cod (a low-fatfish) contains only 300 milligrams.
Carlson Laboratories markets a good Norwegian salmon oil that werecommend. Cod liver oil from Norway is the most commonly used fish oil, and is more mildtasting than other varieties. Author Dale Alexander claims it is excellent for arthrities.He has marketed an oil containing 13,800 international units of vitamin A and 1,380international units of vitamin D per tablespoon. However, we do not recommened that yourely on cod liver oil as a source of the essential fatty acids. You would have to overdoseon vitamins A and D to obtain the amount of fatty acids you need.
People withdiabetes should not take fish oil supplements because ofthe high fat content, but they should consume fish for its essential fatty acids.
Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.They are also a good source of the B vitamins, protein and zinc. They are low in saturatedfats and calories, and contain no cholesterol. The nutty taste of ground flaxseed ispleasant, and they can be mixed with water or any fruit or vegetable drink. They can alsobe added to salads, soup, yogurt, cereals, baked goods, or fresh juices. You can grindthese tiny seeds in a coffee grinder.
If you prefer not to eat the seeds, you can use flaxseed oil as analternative. Like the seeds from which it is extracted, organic cold-pressed flaxseed oilis rich in essential fatty acids. Several studies have shown that it can reduce the pain,inflammation, and sweeling of arthritis. It also has been ound to lower blood cholesteroland triglyceride levels, and to help reduce the hardening effects of cholesterol and cellmembranes.
Grape Seed Oil
Of the many natural sources of essential fatty acids, grape seed oil is among thehighest in linoleic acid and among the lowest in saturated fats. It contains notrans-fatty acids, no cholesterol, and no sodium. It has a light, nutty taste that bringsout the flavor in many foods. Unlike most other oils, it can be heated to temperatures ashigh as 485�F without producing dangerous and possibly carcinogenic free radicals. Thesefeatures make it good for use in cooking. Buy only grape seed oil that is cold-pressed andcontains no preservatives, such as Salute Sant� Grapeseed Oil from LifestarInternational.
Primrose oils (also known as evening primrose oil) contains the highest amount ofgamma-linolenic acid (GLA) of any food substance. This fatty acids is known to helpprevent hardening of the arteries, heart disease, premenstrual syndrome, multiplesclerosis, and high blood pressure. It relieves pain and inflammation; enhances therelease of sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone; aids in lowering cholesterollevels; and is beneficial for cirrhosis of the liver.
Many women have found that primrose oil supplements relieveunpleasant menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. Because it promotes the production ofestrogen, women suffering fro mbreast cancer that is estrogen related should avoid orlimit their intake of primrose oil. Black currant seed oil is a good substitute.
Combination EFA supplements
A product called Ultimate Oil, from Nature's Secret, contains a blend of cold-pressedorganic oils that offers a good balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A purelyvegetable-based product, Ultimate Oil contains extra-virgin flaxseed oil, black currantseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, lecithin, and safflower oil. We also recommend Kyolic-EPA fromWakunaga of America, a blend of aged garlic extract and fish oil derived from northernPacific sardines, and Cardiovascular Research's Essential Fatty Acid Complex.
Evening Primrose Oil
See Primrose Oil under Essential Fatty Acids in this section.
From Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Buythe book in our Bookstore
Highin Lignan Flax Oil
A combination that packs a punch against cancer,heart disease, and more!
by Jade Beutler, R.R.T., R.C.P.
Flax oil hasbecome one of the most exciting and sought after products in health food stores today,both for its preventative and curative properties. Research on flax and the Omega-3 fattyacids it contains has resulted in a near panacea regarding the number of diseases andafflictions that it can relieve and outright cure. Flax oil fights heart disease bylowering dangerous LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as decreasing the viscosityof thick blood, and reducing the build up of atherosclerotic plaque on artery walls. Thelist goes on to include relief and amelioration of:
Equally, if not more important, is the role that essential fatty acids, found in flaxoil, play in brain development. Studies on rats and rhesus monkeys revealed that dietaryrestriction of Omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation interferes with normalvisual function and impairs learning ability in offspring, and may make the brain moresusceptible to environmental toxins and alcohol. When school children in Manitowac,Wisconsin, were placed on a diet including flax, their teachers and parents reportedimproved behavior, higher test scores and better attendance.
Perhaps the most exciting news on flax yet is in regard to cancer. A study of onehundred and twenty women revealed that those with the highest breast tissue levels ofOmega-3 fatty acids, found most abundantly in flax oil, had the lowest incidence of breastcancer. Further, of those that did develop the disease, they still showed the lowestprobability of the cancer spreading to other bodily organs, offering hope for women withan existing breast tumor.
Emerging scientific evidence has begun to focus on another healing element found in thefibrous shell hull of the flaxseed. Special phytochemical constituents have been isolatedin flax, that once ingested are converted to potent cancer fighting and preventativecompounds called mammalian lignans. Extensive evidence from numerous research instituteshas revealed the potent anti-cancer properties exhibited by these amazing natural plantchemicals. Lignans have been shown to prevent the cause of colon and breast cancers wherethey start, by normalizing hormone metabolism responsible for the disease. The AmericanCancer Society reports that one in eight women will contract breast cancer. Unfortunately,breast cancer may be present for as long as 4 years before it can be detected bymammography or self examination. Further, many women are under the misconception that ifthey do not have a family history of breast cancer, they need not be concerned.
The truth is the majority of women today who are diagnosed with breast cancer show nofamily predisposition. The above facts call for every woman to implement a proactiveapproach to prevent the disease. Dr. Ross Pelton author of "How to Prevent BreastCancer" suggests that every women take at least one tablespoon of High in Lignanflaxseed oil as a daily protocol to prevent breast cancer. High in Lignan flaxseed oilis unique, as unlike regular flaxseed oil, flax particulate from flaxseeds is retained inthe oil, delivering the powerful cancer fighting mammalian lignan precursors.
There may not be a single nutritional supplement or pharmacological drug today that canoffer the same level of protection against cancer and other diseases as delivered with thecombination of flaxseed oil and lignan precursors. High in Lignan flax oil can easily beincorporated into any diet by using it as an ingredient in salad oils, stirred into oatmeal combined with a blender drink, mixed into yogurt, or simply taking it straight,chased by fresh fruit juice. Look for High in Lignan flax oil at your local health foodstore, located in the refrigerated section of the supplements department, or in the dairycase.
Jade Beutler is a board certified Ith care practitioner with over 13yrs of hospital and clinical experience adult and neonatal intensive care, iatric andemergency medicine. He s devoted the last 8 years to an intensive study of health andnutrition. He has culminated his research in two newly released books, Understanding Fatsand Oils, Your Guide to Healing with Essential Fatty Acids and Flax for Life. Jadecurrently serves as Executive Vice President to the health and nutrition consultancy firmProgressive Health Concepts.
Reprinted with permission of :
Health Perspectives 315 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Suite U6, Encinitas, CA 92024