Why Do We Need Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) And What Source Is Best?
|Why Do We Need Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) And What Source Is Best?||Darrell Miller||02/15/11|
February 15, 2011 05:03 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Why Do We Need Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) And What Source Is Best?
Essential fatty acids are organic compounds that the human body necessitates to support healthy functions of organs and tissues but lack the ability to synthesize. Two fatty acids make up this group: (1) alpha linolenic acid, or ALA, and (2) linoleic acid, LA. Also referred to as EFAs, they are ubiquitous at the cellular level, but known to play an active role in neuronal and vascular tissues as well as in inflammation.
Maintains Cellular Health
One of the most recent advancements in cellular science is the discovery of lipid rafts, which are a part of the bilipid layer of cell membranes specialized for trafficking of cellular molecules, such as proteins and receptors. Also, these lipid rafts have an effect on the viscosity of cell membranes, thereby influencing fluidity that governs membrane-dependent functions of cells such as cellular signaling and phagocytosis, the mechanism by which cells swallow extracellular debris including pathogenic stimuli. Due to its being less stiff and more fluid, essential fatty acids make up cell membranes.
Modulates Neuronal Activities
It has long been postulated that learning and memory is influenced by the availability of intracellular substances known as endocannabinoids in a process called retrograde signaling. Unlike other neurotransmitters, endocannabinoids act on presynaptic cells while produced in postsynaptic cells, and by so doing enhances the signal transmission between nerve cells. Essential fatty acids are converted into endocannabinoids, which are produced on demand, and thus daily intake of EFA is a must. In addition, EFA has for years been in use as a treatment for depression and in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.
Regulates Inflammatory Responses
The right amounts of essential fatty acids present inside the human body significantly contribute to the inflammatory responses of the immune system. There are chemical compounds that are produced by the body only in the presence of essential fatty acids, and a number of these compounds are essential to the process of healing and other processes implicated during inflammation. This is the reason why intake of EFA is highly regarded as a therapeutic remedy for reducing inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and autoimmune illnesses.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
There is high risk of heart attack and related cardiovascular diseases in populations with low levels of essential fatty acids. Especially for individuals who are dependent on drugs that are known to cause oxidative stress in vascular tissues, susceptibility to damages of the blood vessel linings sets the stage for the buildup of macrophages and bad cholesterol in the form of arterial plaques. These plaques contribute to the thinning of the vascular passageways characteristic of atherosclerosis.
There is a reason why alpha linolenic acid and linoleic acid are considered essential fatty acids. They are a vital component of a healthy body with well-functioning organs and tissues. Good thing we have a wide list of food sources rich in EFA, which includes the oils of hemp, soya, canola, and wheat germ. EFA is also abundant in seeds of sunflower, chia, pumpkin, and flax.
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