Essential Fatty Acids – The Wonder Supplement? Part 1
By Dr. Alisun Bonville
No doubt you have heard that omega 3 fatty acids are good for your body. Fish oil, a good source of fatty acids, has been a hot topic in the news lately, advertized to cure everything from arthritis to heart disease. But why are omega 3 fatty acids so good for your body and how do they work?
Omega 3 fatty acids are part of a group of fats that are called essential fatty acids (EFAs). While your body is able to produce some fats, these fats are essential nutrients and must be obtained from your diet. Crucial to many of the physiologic processes in the body, omega fatty acids are the building blocks to our hormones, neurotransmitters, and inflammation mediators. They feed the nervous system and keep the skin and joint lubricated. Cultures that have a high intake of EFAs have lower rates of heart disease, healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lower blood pressure.
There are two nutritionally important omega 3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Each fatty acid is used in the body in different ways and can be use therapeutically as shown below:
· Strong anti-inflammatory
· Protective for the heart and circulatory system
· Improves joint flexibility
· Best for the brain and nervous system in people over the age of five
· Promotes healthy mood and emotional wellness
· Protective for the eyes and vision
· Encourages development of fetal brain structure and development until age 5
· Treats memory and nervous system conditions
Our modern diet is not rich in EFAs. Processed foods, poor quality meat and poultry, and saturated fats from dairy products do not supply omega-3 fatty acids. A deficiency in EFAs can cause dry skin, joint problems, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, memory problems, and low libido. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can balance mood, slow the aging process, improve memory, and decrease allergies.
Talk to your physician about taking essential fatty acids!