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Essential Fatty Acids: How essential are they? | Fish Oil Blog

Essential Fatty Acids: How essential are they?

EFAs or Essential Fatty Acids. There has been much talk about EFAs in the medical and dietitian world these days. Reason: Many nutritionists and doctors opine that deficiency in the amount of essential fatty acids can result in ailments and improper functioning of the body. But are essential fatty acids that important? What makes them essential? Is that why fish oil, flaxseed oil and other omega-3 and omega-6 fats have gained prominence in our diet? This article will explore the reasons behind the essentiality of essential fatty acids.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary fats for the proper functioning of the human body. However, EFAs are not produced in the body and hence, need to be derived only from diet. There are two families of EFAs – Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids.  Though Omega-9 fatty acids also fall within this category, omega-9 is often considered as “non-essential” fatty acid. EFAs are a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids composed of linolenic, linoleic and oleic acids. While omega-3 fatty acids are derived from linolenic acid, omega-6 is from linoleic acid and omega-9 from oleic acid.

Why Essential Fatty Acids? They are crucial for the proper functioning of the body. Since they are not produced in the body, one needs to get them only through food. A balanced diet should contain adequate amount of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 supplements. Fish oil is said to contain omega-3 required by the body. Fish oil is oil extracted from oily fish like salmon, white tuna, mackerel and so on. Eating these fish along with your diet can supply you with the necessary oil. If you are not a fish-eater, you need to supply your body with omega-3 fatty acids through other supplements. These can include omega-3 tablets or fish oil capsules. Supplements in the form of capsules are better as they do not cause any side effects and are also processed by manufacturers for any contaminants like mercury (in sea fish or fresh water fish).

There are also several beneficial effects of fish oil. Prostaglandins and EFAs are essential for the body

1. To synthesize hormones and create hormonal balance
2. To reduce pressure in eyes, joints, blood vessels, including dilation/constriction of the latter
3. To regulate immune response, cell multiplication, division etc.
4. To transport oxygen from red blood cells to tissues
5. For proper functioning of the kidney, fluid balance in the body, regulation of circulation etc.
6. To reduce inflammation due to wrong immune response
7. To keep heart muscles healthy and invigorate the blood circulation in the heart vessels
8. To prevent health ailments, reduce cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis

Fish oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids. If you want your body to get the adequate amount of essential oils, include fish oil supplements in your diet regularly. Taking oily fish at least twice a week can help tremendously.

Posted in Fish Oil Alternatives, For Overall Health, Uses of Fish Oil on Sep 16th, 2017, 9:25 pm by Jessica   

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