Essential fatty acids and health
Published: March 07, 2014
Advertisements for many nutritional supplements often imply that our diets are devoid of all nutrients.
Claims about the value of nutritional supplements refer to poor soil nutrition, the use of pesticides, and a toxic environment which make it “necessary” for us to supplement our diets with an array of nutrients especially those that are nutritionally essential. That is, are not synthesised by your body.
Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids which can be sourced from a variety of foods, but supplementation of these fatty acids has become very popular.
Fish oil and flaxseed oil are common forms of supplemental omega-3 fatty acids, and some manufacturers market omega-3 with omega-6, as well as with omega-9. Claims are made about the exact ratio we should ingest and the health benefits you can get by using these products.
Health claims may include improved heart health and prevention of heart disease, prevention of cancer, and improved eye and dental health.
But are these supplements necessary? What do you know about these fatty acids? Perhaps you have enough in your diet? Can you have too much?
Read on to learn more about essential fatty acids, their contribution to your health, dietary sources, how much you need, and research on essential fatty acid supplementation.
What are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids?
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids which belong to the omega family of fatty acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 refer to two groups of fatty acids and are named in accordance with their chemical structure...
Horton et al. (2002). Principles of Biochemistry (3rd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice Hall
. Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. & Groff, J.L. (2005). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4thEd.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Centre for Science in the Public Interest: NutritCSPI 05/2011, 12/2010, 09/2011, 12/2006, 04/2010, 01/2013 10/2007, 05/2010, 01/2011, 02/2013, 11/2013, 09/2012, 03/ 2013ion Action Health Letter