Importance of EFA’s
The role of Omega-3 EFAs (specifically EPA and DHA) in the promotion of health and the prevention of illness has been studied a great deal in recent years. Both scientists and practitioners are celebrating the results that have been found to date and with every research study the importance of EFAs for health promotion and illness prevention becomes more evident.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are some of the most crucial essential nutrients for human and other animal health ever identified. Over 2000 scientific studies provide evidence of the importance of EPA and DHA essential fatty acids for the maintenance and restoration of health and the prevention of disease.
Omega 3 EFAs are extremely important in the structure and function of every cell in the body and the function of your cells is what determines your health. Your cells are what determine your immune function, healing, hormone levels, heart function, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, digestion, moods etc. Literally, the function and health of your cells determines every aspect of your health.
EPA and DHA omega 3 EFAs are part of every cell membrane and are required to maintain the proper shape, flexibility or fluidity, and “slipperiness” of cell membranes. The flexibility and “slipperiness” of cell membranes is important for the flow of blood through blood vessels and decreasing the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. This fluidity or flexibility of cell membranes is also crucial to ensure the proper flow of nutrients into cells as well as the proper shape of cell receptors for hormones such as insulin (insulin sensitivity).
In addition, EFAs are required for proper nerve signal transmission (memory, concentration, cognitive ability, muscle coordination and strength) and immune function including defense against cancer.
EPA and DHA omega 3 EFAs also play a major role in regulating inflammation via substances called prostaglandins. EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins while Omega 6 fatty acids produce pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. Having a diet that is toxic with Omega 6 or deficient in Omega 3 EFAs creates a pro-inflammatory state within the body. This is very significant because inflammation is at the root of virtually all of the common chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression as well as the autoimmune and atopic diseases such as arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel, psoriasis, eczema, allergies, fibromyalgia, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Inflammation is also a major factor in dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain and/or cramping), headaches, and back and neck pain.
Omega 3 EFAs play a role in virtually every human function including growth and development, digestion, brain and nerve function, immune function, hormone production and regulation, maintenance of skin and bones, regulation of healing and inflammation, heart function, vision, cholesterol levels, and even emotions and behavior.
This is why supplementing with Omega 3 EFAs has been shown to help people with so many different illnesses. In reality supplementing with Omega 3 EFAs will help anyone that is deficient in Omega 3 EFAs whether they have a diagnosed illness or not. The fact of the matter is that everyone needs Omega 3 EFAs and due to dietary practices virtually everyone in Western society is deficient. Without these essential nutrients cells cannot function properly and illness is inevitable even though it may take years before symptoms arise.
This does not mean that a deficiency in Omega 3 EFAs is the only cause of all illness; that would be an unscientific and illogical claim. However, it does absolutely mean that if someone is deficient in Omega 3 EFAs their cell function and thus their health is compromised and will be improved when they begin to supplement – this is an indisputable scientific fact. Obviously if Omega 3 EFAs are needed for proper cell function and cell function determines our health then Omega 3 EFAs are a significant determining factor in health. This is exactly what research indicates.
The above information is why we stress the importance of supplementation BEFORE illness develops. It is both dangerous and illogical to wait until illness develops to begin to take care of yourself or your children or your pets! How can we PREVENT ILLNESS or PROMOTE HEALTH if we wait until we are already ill before we take action? As previously mentioned, what is even more alarming than the pandemic deficiency in EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids is that virtually all people living in industrial nations are now toxic with the omega 6 fatty acids and saturated fat that is so common in modern diets. Research indicates that the ratio of omega 6: omega 3 fatty acids in the average modern diet is as high as 20:1. The evidence indicates that the proper healthy ratio is 1:1.
Being toxic with omega 6 fatty acids and deficient in omega 3 fatty acids is a deadly combination that is shown to increase the chances of illness in people of all ages. Illnesses associated with omega 6 fatty acid toxicity and/or omega 3 fatty acid deficiency include ADHD, allergies, eczema, asthma, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, lowered immunity, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s, painful menstruation, back pain, neck pain, and headaches. YIKES!