What are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)?

Essential is a medical term meaning the human body cannot make it; therefore we must consume it in our diet.  We have three essential nutrients, water, 9 amino acids found in proteins, and 2 fatty acids called the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.

The fatty acids are building blocks of every cell wall in our body. These are important in every function and chemical reaction. These are important in metabolism, immunity (fighting infection), skin health, heart health, controlling cholesterol, mood swings, and most importantly for us, helping to control our weight.  The average American diet is low in Omega 3 EFA.

Studies of rates of heart disease suggest a direct correlation between low EFA consumption and high insulin levels resulting in heart disease, and obesity.

Omega 3 consumption

Eskimos 7,000 – 10,000 mg/day
Japanese 3,000 mg/day
1 Tbsp cod liver oil 2,500 mg/day
AHA guidelines 250 mg/day
Current US average intake 125 mg/day

The less we control our insulin the more EFA we need.  The usual American diet is so high is Carbohydrates (sugars) that the current levels of EFA intake are not enough.

 To improve your EFA intake:

Omega 3 (Linolenic acid, EPA, DHA) sources:

  • fats and oils (canola, soybean, Flax seed, wheat germ)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish and shellfish, fish oils

Remember, heating oils removes the benefits

Omega 6 ( Linolic acid) sources

  • Vegetable oils corn and sunflower seed oils

Fish oil capsules supply our EFA needs.  We suggest 2000 to 3000 mgs of fish oil capsules daily. There may be a problem with some fish oil capsules. Fish around the world are contaminated.  Studies are underway, but at this time it appears very safe to take fish oils supplements over the counter. We will follow the studies and if it becomes apparent that pharmaceutical grade EFA’s are recommended, we will begin to provide them thorough our office and recommend the more expensive form .  We do provide the pharmaceutical grade through the office because they have less of a “fish burp” if that is intolerable for you and the over the counter fish oil capsules.