Omega 6 fatty acids
Omega 6 – EFA
The human body absolutely requires the polyunsaturated EFAs — linolenic acid (omega 6 fats) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega 3 fats). That is exactly why these fatty acids are termed essential.” The omega 3s are found in flaxseed, hemp, and pumpkin seed oils, in addition to marine sources (cold-water fish and ocean-dwelling micro-algae), which are high in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Omega 6 fats are mostly found in seed oils and nuts. Other fats include monounsaturated fats, such as omega 7 (palmitoleic acid, found in tropical oils) and omega 9 (oleic acid, found in olive oil, etc.). The saturated fat group is notable for: stearic acid (shea nut butter, chocolate/cocoa), palmitic acid (tropical fats), butyric acid (butter), and arachidic acid (peanuts).
All cells throughout the human body are enveloped by a membrane composed chiefly of fatty acids. What determines the type of fatty acid in the cell membrane is the type of fat consumed. A cell membrane composed chiefly of saturated fats or trans-fatty acids (mostly from partially hydrogenated tropical oils or margarine), differs considerably in structure from a cell membrane composed of EFAs. A diet composed of largely saturated fat, animal fatty acids (e.g., arachidonic acid), cholesterol, and trans-fatty acids is going to lead to membranes which are much Less fluid in nature than the membranes of a person consuming optimum levels of beneficial omega 3 and omega-6 EFAs. A relative deficiency of EFAs in cellular membranes makes it virtually impossible for the cell membrane to perform its vital functions. Without a healthy membrane, cells lose their ability to hold water, vital nutrients, and electrolytes. They also lose their ability to communicate with other cells and to be controlled by regulating hormones. They simply do not function properly, EFAs’ role in prostaglandin production there’s more to the story. The EFAs are also necessary for the production of hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins. These chemicals carry out many important tasks in the body: regulating pain, swelling, allergic response, wound healing, nerve function, hormone production, etc. While prostaglandins are derived from both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, the industrialized diet is definitely higher in the omega-6 category, so you’re more likely to shortchange yourself on omega3s. Think flax-seed, hemp, pumpkin seed, and marine-source oils in your efforts to pump up your omega-3 intake and achieve a good fat/prostaglandin balance.