Omega 6

Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids (EFA's) cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be obtained from the diet. There are two families of EFA's; Omega 3 (linolenic acid) and Omega 6 (inoleic acid).

FOOD SOURCES.

Omega 3 (linolenic acid) is obtained from flaxseed oil (which also contains Omega 6 & 9), fish oils (deep-sea fish such as salmon, tuna and cod), hemp oil, soya oil, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables and walnuts.

Food sources of Omega 6 (linoleic acid) include evening primrose oil, borage oil and blackcurrant oil.

MAIN ACTION.

In the body, essential fatty acids serve multiple functions. In each of these, the balance between dietary Omega 3 and Omega 6 strongly affects function. they are modified in the body to make eicosanoids which affect cellular functions such as inflammation, endocannabinoids which affect mood, behaviour and inflammation, lipoxins and resolvins which reduce inflammation and lipid rafts which affect cellular signaling.

DEFICIENCY SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS.

One of the first signs of EFA deficiency is dry, inflamed or irritated skin. Other common signs include depression, increased susceptibility to infection and poor wound healing.

CLINICAL USE.

EFA's are widely used in the treatment of eczema, joint problems, inflammation and mood disorders.

Essential fatty acid supplementation has been the subject of many studies which suggest it's effectiveness in enhancing brain function and assisting with learning difficulties and ADD (attention-deficit disorder).

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