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Did You Get Your Vitamin F Today?

Aug 17, 2007
There is a popular myth that one should avoid all fat in the diet, but there is a category of fats that is necessary for good health.

Fatty acids are the building blocks for oils and fats. Those that are necessary for health and can not be manufactured by the body are called essential fatty acids (EFAs). The essential fatty acids are occasionally referred to as vitamin F. These polyunsaturates must be supplied through the diet.

EFAs have desirable effects on many disorders. They reduce blood pressure, help prevent arthritis, lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, reduce the risk for forming blood clots, and improve the skin and hair.

Some of the conditions helped by EFAs include candidiasis, cardiovascular disease, eczema, and psoriasis. They are found in high concentrations in the brain and aid in the transmission of nerve impulses and are needed for the normal development and functioning of the brain. A deficiency of essential fatty acids can lead to an impaired ability to learn and impaired memory.

EFAs are needed by every cell of the body. They are necessary for rebuilding and producing new cells. EFAs are also used for the production of prostaglandins, the hormone like substances that function as chemical messengers and regulators of many body processes.

Essential fatty acids are divided into two basic categories, omega-3 and omega-6, based on their chemical structures. Omeg-3 EFAs include alpha-linolenic and eicosapentaeanoic acid (EPA). They are abundant in fresh deepwater fish, fish oil, and certain vegetables including canoloa oil, flaxseed oil, and walnut oil. The Omega-6 EFAs include linoleic and gamma-linolenic acids. They are found most abundantly in raw nuts, seeds, and legumes, and in unsaturated vegetable oils like borage oil, grape seed oil, primrose oil, sesame oil, and soybean oil.

These oils must be consumed in pure liquid or supplement form in order to supply essential fatty acids. They must not be subjected to heat (in processing or cooking) as it destroys EFAs and creates dangerous free radicals. If oils are processed to make them more solid (hydrogenated), as in production of margarine, the linoleic acid is converted into trans-fatty acids, which are harmful to the body.

The daily requirement for essential fatty acids is satisfied by an amount equivalent to 10 to 20 percent of total caloric intake. Of all EFAs, the most essential is linoleic acid. A number of sources are available to obtain the daily requirement of EFAs.

is an excellent source for linoleic acid, linolenic acid and oleic acid. These all have anti-inflammatory properties. Emu oil is used topically for the relief of rashes, hemorrhoids, poison ivy, insect bites, arthritis, joint pain, muscle strains, and burns. It is also used as a facial moisturizer for reducing wrinkles and lines.

is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Salmon, mackerel, menhaden, herring, and sardines are excellent sources of fish oil because they have a higher fat content and provide more omega-3 factors than other fishes. Four ounces of salmon contains up to 3,600 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, while 4 ounces of cod contains only 300 milligrams.

People with diabetes should not take fish oil supplements because of the high fat content, but they should eat fish for its essential fatty acids.

FLAXSEED and Flaxseed Oil
are rich in omega-3 EFAs, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. They also provide the B vitamins, protein, and zinc. They contain no cholesterol and are low in saturated fats and calories.

The nutty taste of ground flaxseed is pleasant. Ground flaxseed can be mixed with water or any fruit or vegetable juice. They can also be added to salads, soups, yogurt, cereals, baked goods, or fresh juices. The seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder.

An alternative to the seeds is flaxseed oil. Organic cold-pressed flaxseed oil is rich in essential fatty acids. Studies have shown it can reduce the pain, inflammation, and swelling of arthritis. It can lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and help reduce the hardening effects of cholesterol on cell membranes.

is among the highest natural sources for linoleic acid and among the lowest in saturated fats. It contains no cholesterol and no sodium. Its light nutty taste brings out the flavor in many foods. It can be (unlike other oils) heated to temperatures as high as 485 degrees F without producing dangerous and possibly carcinogenic free radicals. This makes it good for use in cooking. Buy only grape seed oil that is cold-pressed and contains no preservatives.

contains 9 to 10 percent gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This fatty acid helps prevent hardening of the arteries, heart disease, premenstrual syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and high blood pressure. It can relieve pain and inflammation, enhance the release of sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. It aids in lowering cholesterol levels and is beneficial for cirrhosis of the liver.
About the Author
Tom Nuckels is health article author and owner of the LpVitamins.com website. His customers range from children to the elderly and from carpenters to doctors. To learn what liquid vitamins and phytonutrients can do for you, visit www.lpvitamins.com .
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