Essential Fatty Acids

In Blog, Health, Nutrition, Podcasts, Vitamins & Minerals by Wendy Christien

Omega-3 and omega-6 are both essential fatty acids, meaning your body needs them but cannot make them naturally. Omega-9 fatty acids, however, aren’t essential because the body can make them.

Omega-3’s are vital for brain health. They are essential to nourish and produce the energy required for our nerve cells and other brain cells to make and maintain the trillions of connections that our brain uses to process information and to send signals to the nerve endings to perform functions such as moving our limbs.

Due to their anti-inflammatory nature, omega-3’s play a crucial role in the body’s response to inflammatory signals, thus reducing problems related to circulation, joint inflammation and cardio vascular health. Sufficient levels of omega 3 oils increase good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce bad cholesterol (LDL).

Omega-3’s are also essential for healthy hair and skin. In children and adults, it’s vital for optimal vision and brain health. A lack of omega 3 oils can result in problems with learning, attention, and behaviour.

Omega-3’s health benefits primarily come from their long-chain fatty acids (EPA and DHA).

DHA is the most prevalent fatty acid found in the brain. 

EPA is essential for healthy inflammatory responses as well as for the production of new nerve cells.

Since people tend to consume more omega-6’s than they may need, and the body produces omega-9’s, there isn’t a great need to supplement with either of these fatty acids.

Taking a good quality fish oil supplement can be very helpful to restore the balance.

Not all fish oil supplements are equal. It’s important to look at how much EPA and DHA is in the supplement you’re buying and whether it’s certified free from toxins and heavy metals. I recommend around 400mg EPA and 300mg DHA per capsule. Some fish oils are available in a triglyceride form as opposed to an ethyl ester form. Oils in the triglyceride form can be up to 3 x more potent so the values of EPA and DHA on the label will be lower.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 11 June 2020 to learn more about the connection.

Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am