Functions of Essential Fatty Acid Supplements: Essential fatty acids are the fats which do not play a role as an energy source to the body but are responsible for a number of vital biological functions. Following is a list of some of the functions where essential fatty acids are involved.
- Formation of lipid rafts, thereby affecting cell signaling.
- Absorbance of nutrients from the diet.
- Diffusing oxygen and lipids in the bloodstream.
- Regulation of transcription factors.
- Maintenance of cell membranes.
- Moderating the fluidity of cell membrane.
- Decreasing water retention.
- Strengthening the disease resistance capacity of the body.
- Formation of nervous tissues.
- Production of prostaglandins.
Natural Sources of Essential Fatty Acid: The richest food source of the essential fatty acids is the fish, especially cold water fish. Some examples are salmon, tuna, cod, herring, bluefish and shrimp. According to latest research on essential fatty acids, human body can absorb the essential fatty acids when they are available in the triglyceride form. Afterwards, the body converts the triglycerides into esters for its usage. Fish have the essential fatty acids in the form of triglycerides while fish oil has it in the ester form. So, it is better to eat fish instead of depending on fish oil. However, fish oil will prevent you from the toxins and bad smell that is otherwise there. Other food sources rich in both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are linseed, palm oil, coconut oil, lard, butter, rapeseed oil, soya oil, hemp oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts and leafy vegetables. Though, essential fatty acids can be derived from both the plant and animal sources, their absorption is more from the animals sources. Therefore, it is advisable for pure vegetarians to take higher quantities of the food items which will provide them with the necessary fatty acids as their low levels can lead to many disorders.
Symptoms of Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency: Essential fatty acids are responsible for carrying out a number of metabolic processes. They are required in lower quantities but are highly essential for the normal functioning of the body. Any decline in their level can lead to the following conditions.
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart stroke
- Lack of concentration
- Dryness and itchiness of skin
- Alzheimer's disease
- Hair loss
- Pain in the joints
Health Benefits: The omega-6 and omega-3 fish oil benefits are numerous. To mention a few, the adequate amounts of these supplements prevent teenaged girls from a number of premenstrual syndromes. They greatly reduce bloating, depression, breast pain and cramps. These supplements have also shown to relieve arthritis pain, psoriasis and eczema. They are also known to keep the heart healthy and prevent osteoporosis.
Make your diet complete by including the food items that provide you with the essential fatty acids and enjoy a healthy life. Remember, healthy eating is a key to a disease free life.