Let us first look at the non-essential fatty acids. They are also called saturated and have a high temperature melting point. At body temperature they harden – figuratively speaking, there is the danger of ‘tallowing’ of blood. If we consume too many saturated FA they ultimately clog our blood vessels.
Stearic acid is a long chain sticky saturated fatty acid, whose molecules have the tendency of gluing themselves together. For comparison: oleic acid, which is monounsaturated, melts at 13°C, whereas stearic acid melts at 70°C.
Keeping this in mind let us go back to the essential fatty acids (EFA). The two main types of essential fatty acids for people are Omega-3 and Omega-6. They are precursors of tissue regulators – hormone-like substances with a short life span, known as prostaglandins, whose task is the constant regulation of cell functioning.
Fatty acids type Omega-6 are: linolenic, gamma-linolenic, dihomo-gamma-linolenic, arachidonic, docosatetraenoic and docosapentaenoic fatty acids. They are extracted from sunflower, safflower, corn, oenothera grandiflora, and soy. Peanut butter, olive oil, palm and cocoa oil also contain small amounts of Omega-6.
Linolenic acid is polyunsaturated and melts at -5°C. It is unstable and easily destroyed by light and oxygen. According to dietologists, linolenic acid has to provide 3-6% of ingested calories or 1 tablespoon daily.
Large quantities of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) are contained within breast milk. This is why it is so important for the development of the brain and immune system of the baby. Many baby foods today contain added GLA but it is not the best way to provide for it.
Fatty acids type Omega-3 are: alpha-linolenic (ALA), eicosapentaeonic (EPA), docosapentaeonic (DPA), and docosahexaeonic (DHA). They are contained within fish and seafood, cows’ milk, egg yolk, flax seeds, walnuts, legumes and sea algae.
ALA is polyunsaturated and melts at -12°C. The necessary quantities are 1-2 teaspoons per day. It is 5 times more unstable than LA when exposed to light and oxygen. It is therefore provided either through eating raw, fresh nuts and seeds or cold extract with no oxygen.
Omega-3 in fish is at maximum 2% while in flax seeds it is 18-24%. The consumption of fish, therefore, is not enough for the prophylactics for cardio-vascular disease. Fish oil does not provide Omega-3, but only EPA and limits the body’s capabilities to produce whatever it needs from Omega-3. This leads to the conclusion that vegetable fatty acids type Omega-3 are a better foods source than the EPA rich fish oil.
Symptoms of EFA deficiency:
Eczema-like blistering; hair loss; liver degeneration; behavioral disturbances; kidney degeneration; excessive sweating accompanied by thirst; weakening of gland functions; decreased resistance against infections; slow wound regeneration; sterility within men; spontaneous abortions among women; arthritis-related conditions; problems with heart and cardio-vascular system; slow growth;
Signs of alpha-linolenic acid deficiency:
Slow growth, weakness; eyesight and learning problems; decreased coordination during movement; stinging/burning and shivering/numbness of limbs; behavioral changes; high levels of triglycerides (fats) in blood; high blood pressure; erythrocyte adhesion; dry skin; worsening of mental condition; low metabolism levels; certain types of immune dysfunctions.
In order for us to be healthy we need to provide about 50 essential substances through food every day. EFA particularly need the vitamins A, B3, B6, C, E and the minerals magnesium and zinc in order for them to conduct their role. This is why it is important that they are combined with microalgae AFA and spirulina since in this way we practically provide all the necessary food ingredients for our body.