What Is An Essential Fat?

You may have heard that essential fats are an important aspect to maintaining the health of your body. But what exactly are they?

Basically, there are two truly essential fatty acids, Linoleic and Linolenic. You may have heard of these referred to as Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.

So, why are they called essential? The term essential in the life sciences refers to the fact that a nutrient cannot be synthesized by the body. Thus, you must have a dietary or supplemental source to supply your need for these acids.

You probably heard of the 8 essential amino acids. It’s the same idea here but in this case we are referring to fatty acids rather than an amino acid.

These fatty acids exist in and are used in every cell of your body. So they are crucial to a cell’s health and therefore to our health as people. The good news is that in North America, you generally get enough Omega -6 in your diet. Omega-3 has presented a question mark to researchers. Are we getting enough or not?

Fortunately, you can get Omega-3 from fish and certain nut oils. If you have any doubt at all, you can get Omega three from flax oil, which is in abundant supply at your local health food store.

Don’t let the phrase essential fat or essential fatty acid fool you. These are not going to make you gain unwanted weight.

As those of us who truly understand weight loss and gain can tell you, the key to losing or gaining fat storage from your body centers around the bodies short term energy storage supply.

Physical Signs of Fatty Acid Deficiency

Corporations are now developing a wide range of fat substitutes and fat replacements. Replacing fat with fat substitutes (or substances that inhibit fat absorption) obviously reduces the amount of fat in the diet, which may help some patients, but also significantly reduces the amount of essential fatty acids in the body, which can have disastrous consequences.

Various physical signs are associated with deficiencies in these essential fatty acids. These include excessive thirst, frequent urination, rough, dry or scaly skin, dry, dull or ‘lifeless’ hair,dandruff, and soft or brittle nails. Raised bumps on the skin are particularly characteristic. (This is called ‘follicular keratosis’ as it results from a build up of hard, dry skin around the hair follicles).

This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease or condition. Consult your primary health care provider if you have or suspect you have any physical ailments.

3 thoughts on “What Is An Essential Fat?

  • December 9, 2013 at 3:58 am
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