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EFA (Omega 3 and 6) Print E-mail

beanEssential fatty acids (EFA) are fatty acids that cannot be constructed within an organism by any known chemical pathways; and therefore must be obtained from the diet. They were originally designated as Vitamin F when they were discovered as essential nutrients in 1923. Subsequent research showed that they are better classified with the fats than with the vitamins.

Fatty acids are required for normal growth and behavior.  They are involved in the maintenance of healthy cell membranes, a well balanced hormone level and properly working immune system. Fatty acids are essential for the synthesis of tissue lipids, play an important role in the regulation of cholesterol levels, and are precursors of prostaglandins (hormone like compounds producing various metabolic effects in tissues).

nutsTo the skin, it brings suppleness and a youthful appearance and hair becomes more shiny and healthy when in good supply. Fatty acids seem to be important in the manufacture of sex and adrenal hormones. They also stimulate the growth of the beneficial intestinal bacteria. Fatty acids seem to positively affect arthritis by aiding in the transmission of nerve signals.

Omega 3 and 6 deficiency is characterized by hair loss, eczema, behavioural disturbances, less effective immune system, ineffective and possibly dry tear glands and increased probability of the blood to form clots. Deficiency may cause damage to the kidneys, heart and liver and level of blood pressure and cholesterol are likely to be higher.

Good sources of omega 6 are raw nuts, seeds, legumes, grape seed oil and flaxseed oil. Sources of omega 3 include canola (rapeseed) oil, and walnut oil.

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