Essential fatty acids (EFAs), or “the good fats that heal,” are the fats you have been increasingly hearing about in recent years. Your body cannot live without them. They are necessary for a healthy heart, a healthy nervous system, a healthy immune system and especially a healthy brain (the human brain is around 80% fat).
The essential fatty acids sometimes called vitamin F, include linoleic, linolenic, arachidonic acid and many more. Some are used by the body to manufacture prostaglandins, which are localized tissue hormones that aid in the regulation of blood pressure and capillary resilience.
The human body uses fatty acids from food for building tissues and for specialized functions such as the production of prostaglandins. Essential fatty acids are one major group of fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated and include two major groups, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are called “essential” because the body cannot make them but must obtain them from food.
The terms omega-3 and omega-6 actually designate two families of fatty acids; the former has the first double bond on the third carbon from the end of the fatty acid chain and the latter has the first double bond on the sixth carbon from the end of the fatty acid chain. The first fatty acid in the omega-6 family is called linoleic acid. It contains 18 carbons and has 2 double bonds.
The essential fatty acids are involved in respiration in all the cells, and are especially important to oxygen transport. They affect the health of the hair, skin and nails, and help break up cholesterol in the blood stream. They are not dangerous fat but are absolutely vital to health.
If you have read anything about low-carb dieting or the “Mediterranean Diet,” you know that the consumption of healthy oils which contain these fatty acids produces astounding health benefits in the human body. Heart disease and various cardiovascular disorders respond quickly and positively to EFAs. Brain function is improved, diabetes is brought under control, blood sugar is regulated, and cancer risk soon plummets.
Most of us think of these oils as coming from fish or seeds. That is why I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Bio-Algae Concentrates contain Omega 3, 6, 9, GLA and several more EFAs, including some yet undocumented or undiscovered. It is especially high in GLA, which is a critical nutrient that is universally lacking in the American diet.