Essential Fatty Acid Function

Now the good part. Of 50 essential nutrients (substances our body cannot make but requires to function normally and therefore has to get from foods) two come from fats and oils. (The other 48 are vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids from proteins). The two from fats are the essential fatty acids. One is alpha-linolenic acid (Omega 3): the other is linoleic acid (Omega 6). Both are sensitive to destruction by light, oxygen, and high temperature. This is why they are damaged and become quite toxic when we fry them.

Unlike the other 48 essential nutrients, which we can dry, powder, and store with little deterioration for several years, we must make essential fatty acid-rich products with great care. We package them under inert gas and in dark glass, and must use them fresh in order to unfold their health promoting and health maintaining functions.

We need more of each essential fatty acid every day than of any other essential nutrient. They are major nutrients that we use in tablespoon, not milligram, amounts.


Essential fatty acids increase energy production by helping the body obtain more oxygen. They increase oxidation rate, increase metabolic rate, increase energy levels and increase stamina, most obvious to athletes, elderly people, the overweight and the middle aged.

When athletes get their essential fatty acid intake balanced and in the right quantities, their performance both in strength and in endurance sports improves. They recover from fatigue quicker, because recovery requires oxygen, and essential fatty acids increase the body's ability to metabolise oxygen. They also build muscle faster, concentrate better and sleep better.

The energy provided by essential fatty acids is not a buzz like you get from coffee, but a stable, sustained, extended energy.


1. They increase metabolic rate and energy levels, which means that we burn more calories. They enhance fat burning, decrease fat production and increase calorie burn off as heat. We should not count essential fatty acids as fat calories, because they increase calorie burning. And, instead of being used as fuel, they play a role in cell membranes, and are converted into hormone-like prostaglandins. These fats keep us slim!

2. Essential fatty acids help our kidneys dump excess water held in tissues, water that constitutes much of the extra weight in some overweight people.

3. They help decrease cravings which often result from not getting the nutrients we need. Obtaining the missing essential fatty acids satisfies the craving. They lower the glycaemic index of foods and suppress appetite.

4. Essential fatty acids also elevate mood and lift depression - a reason why some people overeat. Elevated mood and increased energy levels also make us feel like being active.


Both brain development and brain function require essential fatty acids. More than 60% of the weight of our brain, the fat-richest organ in our body, is fat. One third of that is essential fatty acids. The ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in the brain is 1:1.

In human brain development and function, essential fatty acids promise to be of special therapeutic use in three main areas: (1) help in learning problems - dyslexia, hyperactivity, attention deficit and other learning disabilities, (2) correction of criminal behaviour, (3) improved functioning in mental illness. Omega 3 essential fatty acid-deprived mother rats produce pups with permanent learning disabilities. Children with dyslexia, attention deficit, hyperactivity, and learning problems benefit from freshly prepared, properly balanced, dietary essential fatty acid-rich oils.

We have witnessed hyperactive, nervous horses calm down by simply correcting their essential fatty acid intake.

A horse's natural diet, grass, contains more Omega 3 than Omega 6 (ratio is about 60:40), but they usually get only refined, cheap corn oil (ratio is about 1:100) rich in Omega 6 (about 65% of total oil), but lacking Omega 3 (less than 1% of total oil).

We have improved behaviour in dogs and cats by adjusting their essential fatty acid intake to the levels and balances that they might have obtained under ideal conditions in nature. Dogs and cats need fewer Omega 3's than humans, but their natural diet contained both Omega 3 and Omega 6, while most commercial pet foods contain no Omega 3.

The field of corrections also promises to benefit from essential fatty acids therapy. Donald Rudin, MD, showed that a juvenile delinquent unresponsive to counselling, given Omega 3 rich oils, became counselable. Since the human brain, like the rest of the body is made from food, and requires essential fatty acids (missing from the junk food diets of teenagers and others, and also missing from the normal fare in jails and detention centres) to function, we should not expect the brain to fire on all cylinders as long as its essential nutrient needs remain unmet.

Extending these observations to the criminal justice system opens a huge area of application. Essential fatty acids could play important roles in learning, behaviour improvement and rehabilitation.

Research on nutrition in jails afforded a look into the foods served in these institutions: white sugar, coffee, white flour, margarine, mashed potatoes, quartered tomatoes, white bread, iceberg lettuce, and pork chops, beef, and chicken. The brains of inmates could be made to function better by being fed better. Our streets would then be safer.

If our foods are not right for our brains' biological requirements, then our behaviour cannot be right. That's a basic law of behavioural biology, because the entire brain, like the rest of the body, is made from food.

A small study carried out with inmates concluded that if you teach them to prevent low blood glucose, (hypoglycaemia) by improving nutrition, only 20% return for another stint in jail instead of the usual 80%. The researchers suggest that 90% of violent crimes are carried out when the perpetrator is suffering from low blood glucose. His or her brain, deprived of its required fuel, shifts from higher cortical (conceptual, socially acceptable, knowing right from wrong) to lizard brain (fight or flight) functions.

A small trigger is then enough to set off 'fight or flight' behaviour. If the person 'flees', he/she may end up in the emergency ward of the local hospital. If he/she 'fights', a violent crime takes place, and the person lands in jail.

Good nutrition protects the brain from entering flight or fight mode at the drop of a hat, and makes it capable of functioning at the higher cortical level. In this study, essential fatty acids were not considered. Their inclusion would have led to even more positive results. A huge area of application awaits the essential fatty acids in correcting criminal, anti-social, and violent behaviour.

Essential fatty acids show great promise in treating mental illness. Essential fatty acids elevate mood and lift depression. Many depressed people would benefit by improving their intake and balance of these nutrients.

Research shows that schizophrenics hallucinate less, and bipolar (manic depressive) as well as obsessive-compulsive symptoms improve when essential fatty acid intake improves. The mentally ill are the stepchildren of the medical system - bizarre behaviour makes us uncomfortable because we lack the skills for dealing with it. The standard treatment is to lock them away where we don't have to see them and to keep them sedated with drugs.

In my opinion, kids don't usually hyperactive, and bizarre behaviour and violence are less often chosen than 'punishers' like to believe. Criminal behaviour and mental illness are a hard way to make a living.

If people had a choice, they'd more likely want to fit in and be constructive. I believe that much socially unacceptable behaviour results from a brain that is not working right through not being fed right.

Essential fatty acids ought to be one of the key avenues of treatment.


in our cardiovascular system, cholesterol transport requires essential fatty acids. Omega 3 essential fatty acids lower high triglycerides by up to 65% - better than drugs, without side effects, except that you feel better. Remarkably, we have here a fat that lowers blood fats. Our body uses properly balanced essential fatty acids to produce hormone-like prostaglandins that make our platelets less sticky, decreasing the likelihood of a clot forming in an artery to heart or brain, thereby protecting us from heart attacks and strokes; help to lower high blood pressure; help our kidneys remove excess water, and decrease the inflammation process. Essential fatty acids are also required for heart beat regularity.


in our immune system essential fatty acids protect our genetic material (DNA) from damage. Omega 3 essential fatty acids have anti-oxidant-like functions in the oil soluble system of our body, similar to the anti-oxidant functions of vitamin C in the water-soluble system. Because anti-oxidants are chemically active, they protect us from damage because they take hits from (sacrifice themselves to) substances that would otherwise damage vital structures in our cells.

Our immune cells use essential fatty acids to make oxygen 'bullets' to kill infectious foreign invaders.


Essential fatty acids play an important role in our skin, hair, and nails. They form a barrier in our skin against loss of moisture, and thereby protect us from dehydration, a cause of many of the problems that involve histamines, prostaglandins, and inflammation. The barrier function of essential fatty acids also helps prevent constipation and the toxic conditions based on it.

They make skin soft, smooth, and velvety, and are an excellent internal, edible cosmetic. Even in their eighties, people still have soft, smooth skin when they get their essential fatty acids right. Note that we take them internally rather than applying them to the surface of our skin. The best way to oil the skin is from within, using the right amounts of properly balanced, properly manufactured essential fatty acid-rich products.

An adult usually requires about three dessertspoons a day, but more or less than that may bring better results, depending on each individual. People also tan better and burn less. They get relief from eczema, acne, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. Essential fatty acids also improve the growth of hair and nails.


We can use essential fatty acid-rich oils for detoxification. Oil-soluble toxins leave the body with sweat. In Vietnam War vets, the levels of Agent Orange were measured in the sweat produced by saunas, and the decrease in their body burden was monitored. Oils being lost by sweating must be replaced to prevent dry skin.


In animals, essential fatty acids have benefited skin, hair (feathers), and nails (hooves) in all species with which we have worked: humans, dogs, cats, horses, tigers, lions, a leopard, a panther, a mountain lion, elephants, wolves, hyenas, monkeys and birds.


Essential fatty acids are required for liver function. N-35 remove the liver fat deposits that characterise cirrhosis and fatty liver, improve kidney health and improve the capacity of glands (pineal, thyroid, pancreas, adrenals and sexual glands). N-3s make the hormones these glands produce (melatonin, thyroid hormone, insulin, testosterone, corticosteroids, oestrogen and progesterone) work more effectively. Smaller amounts of these hormones are then needed for optimum glandular function and health, and the glands last longer.


in our digestive system, essential fatty acids help prevent inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, food allergies and auto immune symptoms. They help to reduce cravings and addictions to foods, cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. They lower the glycaemic index of foods.


Sperm formation requires essential fatty acids. In the female reproductive cycle, they help prevent pre-menstrual syndrome. The minerals and vitamins required for essential fatty acid metabolism help also.


* Essential fatty acids are required for mineral transport and metabolism (n-3s improve bone mineralization and prevent osteoporosis); they are also required for protein metabolism.

* Red blood pigment (haemoglobin) formation requires essential fatty acids. They also play roles in cell growth and cell division.

* Essential fatty acids help treat fungus infections like athlete's foot and yeast overgrowth (Candida). Omega 3 essential fatty acids and derivatives of both Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids inhibit tumour growth.

Limits on taking the essential fatty acid-rich oils? If we take them too close to bedtime, we may not be able to sleep, because we have too much energy (many would like to have this problem), so it is best to take essential fatty acid rich oils before 8pm. If we take more oils than our liver can handle at any one time, we may feel full, heavy, or nauseous.

Occasionally, someone has an allergic response to an essential fatty acid-rich oil and should take it with digestive enzymes. if that does not work, another source of essential fatty acids should be found. Allergy to oils is rare, even in allergy-sensitive individuals, because proteins trigger allergy reactions, yet oils are protein free. In fact, good oils more often relieve allergies. In summary, essential fatty acids are required for the functions of every cell, tissue, gland and organ in our body.

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