A very important aspect of a healthy diet is Essential Fatty Acids or EFA's. - and most people do not get enough of them!
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
EFAs are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesize, and must be obtained through diet. EFAs are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from linolenic, linoleic, and oleic acids. There are two families of EFAs: Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-9 is necessary yet "non-essential" because the body can manufacture a modest amount on its own, provided essential EFAs are present. The number following "Omega-" represents the position of the first double bond, counting from the terminal methyl group on the molecule. Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from Linolenic Acid, Omega-6 from Linoleic Acid, and Omega-9 from Oleic Acid.
EFAs support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. The human body needs EFAs to manufacture and repair cell membranes, enabling the cells to obtain optimum nutrition and expel harmful waste products. A primary function of EFAs is the production of prostaglandins, which regulate body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility, conception, and play a role in immune function by regulating inflammation and encouraging the body to fight infection. Essential Fatty Acids are also needed for proper growth in children, particularly for neural development and maturation of sensory systems, with male children having higher needs than females. Fetuses and breast-fed infants also require an adequate supply of EFAs through the mother's dietary intake.
EFA deficiency is common in the United States, particularly Omega-3 deficiency. An ideal intake ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is between 1:1 and 4:1, with most Americans only obtaining a ratio between 10:1 and 25:1. The minimum healthy intake for both linolenic (Omega-3) and linoleic (Omega-6) acid via diet, per adult per day, is 1.5 grams of each. One tablespoon of flaxseed oil can provide this amount, or larger amounts of other linolenic-rich foods. Because high heat destroys linolenic acid, cooking in linolenic-rich oils or eating cooked linolenic-rich fish is unlikely to provide a sufficient amount.
EFA deficiency and Omega 6/3 imbalance is linked with serious health conditions, such as heart attacks, cancer, insulin resistance, asthma, lupus, schizophrenia, depression, postpartum depression, accelerated aging, stroke, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, ADHD, and Alzheimer's Disease, among others.
Essence EFA is a blend of highly beneficial oils that deliver the essential fatty acids CLA, GLA, ALA, EPA, DHA and Omega 3, 6, & 9 throughout the entire body. The EFA's in Essence EFA are derived from Safflower, Borage Seed, Flax Seed, and Fish oils. These essential fatty acids are used by the brain for concentration and all of your glands for proper hormone production. CLA (conjugated linoliec acid) and GLA (gamma linolenic acid) are two fatty acids showing very promising studies for weight loss, joint lubrication and may help promote younger, healthier looking skin.
Essence EFA is a combination of Safflower, Borage Seed, Flax, and Fish oils:
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid 70% From Safflower Oil) 300mg
CLA (Gamma Linoleic Acid From Borage Seed Oil) 250mg
CLA (Alpha Linoleic Acid From Flax Seed Oil) 150mg
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid / Fish Oil) 125mg
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid / Fish Oil) 100mg
Omega 3-6-9 (Blend From Oil And Borage Seed Oil) 75mg
Why supplement with a blended EFA oil instead of a flax oil by itself?
The (paraphrased) question has been posed, "Why supplement with a blended EFA oil instead of a flax oil by itself?"
After much reading, I made the switch in EFA supplementation (flax oil to Total EFA Oil) back in April. However, I neglected to make this post at the time so now I'm going back and digging up the information that lead me to the switch in EFA supplementation.
As a low carber, the first place I read about EFA supplementation was in Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution (1999 revision). On page 274 he recommended the combination of 2 flax, 2 borage, and 2 fish oil gelcaps per day. Apparently, I missed the blended EFA concept on my original read in 2000 (started supplementing flax oil though), but another low carb book prompted me to go back a re-read Dr. Atkins recommendations for EFA supplementation.
Don't laugh, but that other book was The Perricone Prescription by Nicholas Perricone (good low carb and supplement information). On page 56, I found a couple of interesting sentences, "However, remember that in order to do its work, flaxseed must be converted to an active form in the body by an enzyme called delta-6. This enzyme is found in lower levels in women, older people, those under stress, people with atopic dermatitis, and some people with essential hypertension." After reading this I was asking myself, "How do I supplement the delta-6 enzyme?" On page 60, I found the answer, "One derivative of linoleic acid, GLA, has been shown to have a positive effect on lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels by increasing the good cholesterol HDL. To be sure you are getting the activated form of GLA, supplement your diet with borage or evening primrose oil. This is especially important as we age, as the levels of activating enzyme delta-6 desaturase decreases as the years go by."
As a frequenter of the Internet, I dug around and found these links:
POWER: So you could say flaxseed oil has an estrogen-balancing effect?
ERASMUS: It's possible. That's interesting, but not likely, because almost all of the phytoestrogens in flax remain in the seed cake and don't end up in the oil. I ascribe the benefits of flax oil to the fact that the Omega-3s in flax oil help to build muscle. Omega-3 deficiency causes weakness. When people use flax oil (properly balanced with Omega-6), they can work out longer; their muscles grow quicker; they recover quicker. And there's the testosterone production effect.
I ascribe these effects to the Omega-3s. But remember that flax can make you Omega-6 deficient, and then every tissue in the body falls apart. So flax should be enriched with Omega-6-rich sunflower and sesame oils to get the Omega-6s up.
Energy production. In a study with athletes in Denmark, we showed that within one month of giving athletes one tablespoon per 50 pounds of body weight per day of an oil blend with an n-3 (aka omega 3 or alpha-linolenic acid): n-6 (aka omega 6 or linoleic acid) ratio of 2:1, stamina increased by up to 40 or even 60%. Athletes could exercise longer before reaching exhaustion, recovered more quickly from fatigue, could exercise more often without over-training, healed quicker from injuries, built muscle faster, and had less joint pain. Energy improvement is also seen in non-athletes and older people. The EFA blend also improves mental stamina.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). N-3 can decrease most CVD risk factors, including high triglycerides (blood fats), blood pressure, platelet stickiness, fibrinogen, and lipoprotein(a). N-3 also keep the inside of our arteries smooth. N-3 and n-6 keep the heart beat regular.
Weight Management. N-6 slightly and n-3 more effectively help reduce fat production in the body. They also increase fat burning and heat production in the body, and shift the body from burning glucose to burning fats. Saturated, monounsaturated, and trans- fatty acids do not help to manage weight. Sugar triggers increased fat production in the body. Starch can also lead to overweight.
Too much n-3 EFA will crowd out the n-6 (this can happen from exclusive use of flax oil) and will lead to n-6 deficiency, while too much n-6 EFA will crowd out the n-3 and lead to n-3 deficiency.
This is from Animals site (don't have URL since I copied from ww7 post):
Mechanisms via how you can manipulate nutrient partitioning....i.e. Insulin levels/Blood Glucose levels.
a)Non-insulin mediated glucose partitioning(Or if you prefer disposal). These types of supplements(For example R-ALA and Acetyl-L-Carnitine) work INDEPENDENT of insulin. They have little effect on its release or degradation in the bloodstream. What they do, is increase translocation of intra-cellular Glut-4Â¡Â¦s(Glucose Transporters) to the outside of the cellular membrane albeit in the adipocytes(fat cells) and miocytes(muscle cells). The net result, is that more glucose is diverted to the miocytes, and less to the adipocytes. In hypocaloric diets, this means, more fat-loss, and better muscle preservation. In hypercaloric diets, this means more muscle gain, and less fat gain.
b) Insulin mediated glucose partitioning(or disposal). These types of supplements actually influence AA transport b/c they work through insulin signaling pathways. CLA is a good example. CLA works by increasing AA and glucose transport into the muscle cells via insulin stimulated pathways, and therefore in hypocaloric diets acts as an anti-catabolic. CLA
also keeps blood glucose levels more stable. In essence preventing high blood glucose or hypoglycemia after a carb meal.
c)Non-stimulating thermogenics. GLA. In order to explain a bit how GLA works, I will briefly explain what prostaglandins are.
Series 1 Prostaglandins = Good(PgF2A)( Anabolic) They are incredibly thermogenic and help build muscle.
Series 2 Prostaglandins = Bad(PgE2)(Catabolic) They break down protein.
Series 1 and 2 produced by your cells always at a 1:1 ratio.
Series 3 Prostaglandins block the production of series 2.
Series 1 and 2 Prostaglandins are made from the essential fatty acid Linoleic Acid.
Linoleic Acid = Omega-6 Fatty Acid .
Linolenic Acid(Alpha-linolenic acid) is an Omega-3 fatty Acid Series 3 Prostaglandins are derived from this acid.
GLA = Omega-6 Fatty Acid (Gamma-Linolenic Acid) This BLOCKS series 2 Prostaglandins.
By Blocking series 2 prostaglandins, GLA shifts the normal 1:1 Prostaglandin ratio to the PgF2A(Anabolic) side. In essence, promoting thermogenesis. As can be shown in my study of GLA. Its anabolic effects were not measured(As this is also a direct consequence of a positive PgF2A environment) .
These explanations for the different workings of each substance can be seen to be true when one compares each to the Placebo measurements.
Supplementation with organic flax and borage seed oils combined makes good sense for the following reasons:
* Omega-3 fatty acids and GLA together exert favorable effects on the production of beneficial prostaglandins
* A number of health problems have proven to benefit from both Omega-3 fatty acids and GLA supplementation
* Organic flaxseed oil combined with borage oil may exhibit synergistic complementary effects
* Optimal conversion of fatty acids to beneficial prostaglandins is more likely assured
* Flax and borage oils combined in a single formulation is less expensive than purchasing both separately
In conclusion, the answer appears not to be no fat, but the right fat, as common to organic flax oil and borage seed oil, to achieve optimal health.
When you consume foods rich in linoleic acid, your body must metabolize this compound to GLA. But the body requires the enzyme delta-6 desaturase (D6D) in order to convert linoleic acid to GLA. For many people, however, advancing age or a poor diet is correlated with a marked drop off in D6D activity. Without adequate amounts of GLA, the body goes into a state of chronic inflammation. This promotes onset of heart disease, diabetes, alcoholism, atopic dermatitis, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer.
The exciting health news is that with borage seed oil we circumvent the D6D enzyme system by providing preformed GLA. In fact, borage seed oil enhances D6D activity in aged animals, according to experimental studies.
Gamma Linolenic Acid Complements Tamoxifen in Treatment of Breast Cancer
The therapeutic effects of gamma linolenic acid (GLA) (an omega-6 fatty acid found in borage, evening primrose, and black currant oils), in combination with the drug tamoxifen in locally advanced and metastatic breast cancer, were investigated. Thirty-eight women aged 70 years and older, were given 2.8 grams of GLA plus 20 mg tamoxifen daily for 6 months. Their response was compared to that of 47 women taking 20 mg tamoxifen alone.
By the sixth week, women taking GLA plus tamoxifen achieved a significantly faster clinical response than women taking tamoxifen alone. By six months, 16% of the GLA group had no palpable tumor remaining compared to 4% of the tamoxifen-only group. GLA was well tolerated; in fact, several individuals described a feeling of general well-being since beginning the GLA therapy. The authors propose GLA as a useful adjunct therapy to tamoxifen in treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer.
(Kenny FS, Pinder SE, Ellis IO, et al. Gamma Linolenic Acid with Tamoxifen as Primary Therapy in Breast Cancer. Int J. Cancer 2000;85:643-648)