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ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS [EFA'S]

OMEGA-3 AND OMEGA-6

 

Essential Fatty Acids [EFAs]

EFAs are polyunsaturated long chain fat molecules which support cellular membrane and prostaglandins that regulate numerous critical metabolic functions.

There are pros and cons with EFA’s causing a certain amount of confusion:

  • Certain EFAs, such as Omega 3 oils, have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, insulin sensitizers and brain neuroprotective effects.
  • Certain polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from Omega 6 oils are shown to increase the risk of cancer, arteriosclerosis and premature aging.

Whilst EFAs may be touted as the most efficient fuel among all food compounds; there is danger of too much of a good thing. Diets rich in polyunsaturated fats have been shown to deplete Vitamin E from the body and increase levels of free radicals, resulting in dysfunctional or damaged tissue. This damaging aging of tissues partially accounts for the leathery appearance of old skin or the sagginess of old muscle tissues.

Sources of EFA

Sources of Omega-3 oils - fish oil, flaxseed, salmon, sardines, trout, herring or tuna and walnuts. Humans are not able to produce omega-3's so it is important that we obtain them from the foods we eat on a daily basis. Aim to have some Omega 3 food 10 times per week.

Sources of Omega-6 oil - olive oil, cold pressed vegetable oils, avocados, nuts and seeds, or evening primrose oil in capsule form.

NOTE: Keep your EFA in cold temperature to oxidation [going rancid].


Optimum EFA Daily Intake

The optimum daily intake of Essential Fatty Acids remains controversial. Some health experts recommend increasing EFA consumption, in particular Omega 3 oils. Fat guru Udo Erasmus claims EFAs are the most efficient fuel among all food compounds. But is more better?

Diets rich in polyunsaturated fats have been shown to deplete Vitamin E from the body. These long chain fat molecules also possess highly reactive double bonds that have a high affinity to react with oxygen and thereby increase levels of free radicals. Reactive free radicals destroy tissues and increase cross linkage of proteins, associated with aging of tissues.

It appears, the body is more efficient in converting saturated fats to energy than polyunsaturated fats. So it seems EFA’s should not be considered as a good source of energy, on the contrary, they are a poor fuel. EFA consumption should be optimized rather than maximized.

The body can be trained to gradually increase its capacity to utilize fat fuel using special high fat dietary cycles.

Adaptive EFA Cycling

Cycle between days of high fat [low carbs], based mostly on raw nuts and light protein during the evening meal followed by days of moderate to high carbs.

Dosage: 1-4 tablespoon/day of quality EFA [e.g. Udo oil] for a 160-200lb person

NOTE: IMPORTANT GUIDELINES

  1. To avoid the damaging effect of Omega 6 oils, it is essential to keep a ratio of omega3 to omega6 at 2:1
  2. It is also recommended you take 800iu Vitamin E [RDA] to destroy the free radicals. It also protects EFAs from getting rancid.
  3. Keep EFA’s in cold temperature. Check for oxidation regularly.


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