Vitamin F (Essential Fatty Acids):
The body must have these fatty acids to survive, and it cannot manufacture them from other elements in the diet. (Compare the note on cholesterol, below). Essential Fatty Acids must be supplied daily in the foods we eat. They are important to production of prostaglandins which regulate such body functions as hormonal balance (menopause and PMS), skin conditions (eczema) and immune system function. They are also involved in regulating blood pressure and clotting. Helpful in some forms of heart disease, skin complaints, joint pains (arthritis). Health of the prostate. (Co-factors: A, C, D, E, phosphorus.)
There are two types of EFAs - Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Omega 3 FAs
GLA: Linolenic Acid, EPA: Eicosapentaenoic Acid, DHA: Docosahexaenoic Acid): Reduces thickness of the blood and reduces clotting. Prevents build-up of fatty tissue on artery walls.Research has shown that Omega 3 FAs suppress some cancer-promoting substances. Note: Fish oils are a major source. Flax seed oil contains 58% (see Health Foods); evening primrose oil
contains 10% - other vegetable oils 0%. See note to Omega 6 FAs about inadequate
conversion of linoleic to linolenic acid by the body.
Omega 6 FAs (Linoleic Acid):
The essential fatty acids from which the healthy
body working at optimum efficiency should produce Omega 3 FAs. Note: Safflower oil - 75%; sunflower oil - 65%; flax seed oil - 14%. Note: The conversion of linoleic acid to linolenic acid in the body is likely to be inhibited by diabetes, viral infections, alcohol, cholestrol, saturated fats and highly
processed vegetable oil, such as is found in margarine. It is probable that most individuals' production of EPA and DHA is less than adequate. For this reason, ensuring an adequate supply of Omega 6 FAs is not sufficient - there is a definite need to ensure Omega 3 FAs are supplied in the diet.
Fats - Good and Bad : The Bad
Hydrogenated Fats are polyunsaturated Omega-6 fats that have been altered chemically by adding hydrogen into them to make them hard at room temperatures. Some years back, we were brainwashed with the idea that the new margarines were so very much better for our health than butter - well, do you know what, the reverse is true. Hydrogenated fats have bent molecular shapes, in the mirror-opposite direction to normal naturally occurring polyunsaturated fats. This is why they are called "trans-" forms ie, trans fatty acids. Because of their rogue shape, they are difficult for the body to utilize or excrete. Therefoe these trans fatty acids tend to remain "stuck" in blood circulation, becoming oxidized and most importantly, contributing significantly to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and possibly also cancer. See the video below for confirmation of this.
Cholesterol is a different form of fat found in animal tissues only. It can accumulate in arteries, leading to progressive reduction in the diameter of blood vessels and hence to a reduction in blood flow. This gives rise to heart attacks, angina, abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure, and may affect blood supply also to the brain, legs and kidneys. Cholesterol is dissolved and held in suspension in a free-flowing liquid state in the blood in the presence of adequate essential fatty acids.
Because the melting point of cholesterol is 300 deg F, it is deposited on arterial walls as an insoluble substance at the normal body temperature of 98.6 deg F. In the presence of the fatty acid lecithin (see Health Foods), the melting point of cholesterol is reduced to 180 deg F, still insoluble at body temperature. But when the EFAs, linoleic and linolenic acid, are in sufficient supply, the melting point of cholesterol is reduced to 32 deg F, well below body temperature. In this liquid state, cholesterol cannot be deposited as harmful arterial plaque and does not promote the degenerative diseases.