Essential Fatty Acids - Omega 3 & Omega 6
What are Essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acid (EFA) is an unsaturated fatty acid that is essential to human health, but cannot be produced in the body. EFAs are present in every healthy cell in the body, and are vital for the normal growth and functioning of the cells, muscles, nerves, and organs.
There are two families of Essential Fatty Acids: omega-6 and omega-3. The number following "Omega-" represents the position of the first double bond, counting from the terminal methyl group on the molecule.
Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids are best consumed in a ratio of about 3:1 - three omega 6 for one omega 3. Although we need more omega 6, we eat too much of it and not enough omega 3 fat.
Omega-3 fatty acids
The Omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid, stearidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Alpha-linolenic acid is found mainly in flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybeans, walnuts, hemp seeds, and dark green leafy vegetables. Stearidonic acid is found in rarer types of seeds and nuts, including black currant seeds. EPA and DHA are present in cold-water fish, including salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel and cod.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats. 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 health benefits
High blood pressure
Several studies have shown that eating fatty fish or taking fish oil daily will lower blood pressure. DHA may have greater benefits than EPA. Omega-3 oils also effectively prevent hypertension in cardiac patients after transplantation.
Omega-3 fats in fish oil and fish oil supplements (EPA + DHA) can raise HDL and significantly reduce blood triglycerides.
The role of omega-3 fatty acids in cardiovascular health is well established. Omega-3 protect your heart in half a dozen ways, from lowering your blood pressure to cleaning your arteries. The American Heart Association recommends consumption of at least 1 g per day of the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to reduce cardiovascular risk in people with established coronary disease, and at least 2 g per day to treat hypertriglyceridemia.
There is promising evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may decrease the risk of cardiac arrhythmias.
Research confirms, that in people with a history of heart attack, regular consumption of oily fish or fish oil supplements reduces the risk of heart attack, sudden death, and all-cause mortality.
Fish oil helps reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), including joint pain and morning stiffness. Some people with RA who take fish oil may be able to lower their dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, fish oil does not appear to slow progression of RA, only to treat the symptoms.
Mental health and Cognitive function
Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be important in brain development and function. People who consume a lot of fish are less likely to suffer depression, dementia, and even attention-deficit disorder. Scientists have noted that essential fatty acids are necessary for proper brain development in children.
Omega-3 fatty acids are showing encouraging results in treating people with bipolar disorder.
Several studies have investigated the relationship between DHA and children's cognitive development and performance. Indeed, DHA consumption has been positively linked to improved verbal ability, cognition and visual performance.
Omega-6 fatty acids
Omega-6 fatty acids include linoleic acid, which is found in safflower, olive, almond, sunflower, hemp, soybean, walnut, pumpkin, sesame, and flaxseed oils. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is found in some seeds and evening primrose oil. Arachidonic acid (AA) is present in meat and animal products.
Most Americans consume higher quantities of omega-6 EFAs, because these are found in meat, animal products, and many cooking oils. Research has shown that too many omega-6 EFAs in the diet can lead to the imbalanced production of prostaglandins, which may contribute to health problems.
Essential Fatty Acids Products from Botanic Chioce