The benefits of EFA’s / Omega fatty acids

Essential fatty acids, or EFA’S are nutritional elements that our bodies cannot produce. They are as vital to us as vitamins and we need to ingest them from food sources. EFAs are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. The term "essential fatty acid" refers to fatty acids required for biological processes, and not those that only act as fuel.

There are 2 main types of Fatty acids:

Omega 3 – Which is found mainly in fish oils and some plant oils.

Omega 6 – Which is found mainly in plant oils.

Although our diets tend to be rich in Omega 6, many Western diets are low in Omega 3. This may be due to lowered consumption of oily fish and the fashion for "low fat" food. Many of these marketing campaigns you see all over the television including Weightwatchers and other large businesses often state that a low fat diet is a healthy diet. This could not be further from the truth. Not all fats are unhealthy. Many are actually essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Some scientists believe that the lack of Omega 3 in the Northern European diet is directly linked to the proportionately high levels of Western degenerative diseases in the population such as heart disease, cancer, allergies, asthma, arthritis and even certain brain function disorders such as ADHD and depression. There have been many in depth studies carried out to provide weight behind these claims so the benefits of adding Omega 3 and 6 to your diet are huge.

Only two EFAs are known for humans: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). Other fatty acids are only "conditionally essential" and many of them cannot be metabolised or absorbed well  by the human body. This is why it is so important to supplement them within your diet when leading an active lifestyle.

When the two EFAs were first discovered in 1923, they were designated ‘Vitamin F’ but In 1930, work by Burr, Burr and Miller on rats showed that the two EFAs are better classified with the fats than with the vitamins so they were reclassified.

In the body, essential fatty acids serve multiple functions. In each of these, the balance between dietary ω-3 (Omega 3) and ω-6 (Omega 6) strongly affects function. They are modified to make different signalling molecules made by oxidation of essential fatty acids. These molecules are used by the body in many different ways. Some of these include affecting mood, behavior, inflammation and many other cellular functions.

Almost all the polyunsaturated fat in the human diet is from EFA. Some of the food sources of ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids are fish and shellfish, flaxseed (linseed), hemp oil, soya oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, and walnuts.

Essential fatty acids play a part in many metabolic processes, and there is evidence to suggest that low levels of essential fatty acids, or the wrong balance of types among the essential fatty acids, may be a factor in a number of illnesses, including osteoporosis.

Overall, Essential Fatty Acids are very important for an individual leading an active lifestyle. The body cannot produce these essential nutritional elements and as a result we need to supplement them within our diet. I would personally recommend the new range by Bodybuilding Warehouse (BBW) as they are of a high quality but always remain cost effective. 

Pure Omega 3 Fish Oil Softgels are an effective supplement.
By Stephen Greensted

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