Omega EFA

Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them but cannot synthesize them. The term “essential fatty acid” refers to fatty acids required for biological processes but does not include the…

Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them but cannot synthesize them. The term “essential fatty acid” refers to fatty acids required for biological processes but does not include the fats that only act as fuel.

They play a part in many metabolic processes, and there is evidence to suggest that low levels, or the wrong balance of types among the essential fatty acids, may be a factor in a number of illnesses. When compared to other macronutrient classes (carbohydrates and protein), fatty acids yield the most ATP on an energy per gram basis by a pathway called ß-oxidation. Fatty acids play other roles within biological systems, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, energy storage, phospholipid membrane formation, and signaling pathways.

There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), flaxseed, and walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA. Omega-6 fatty acids are abundant with common sources including safflower, corn, cottonseed, and soybean oils. They have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and are protective against heart disease.

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