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Essential Fatty Acids

In This Section:

Essential Fatty Acids Are:

  • Linoleic, Linolenic, Arachidonic Acids
  • Linolenic and arachidonic can be made from linoleic acid in the body. These are found in vegetable oils.

These are needed to:

  • Strengthen cell membrane and capillary structure
  • Combines with cholesterol and helps to transport it in the blood
  • Helps with the metabolism of cholesterol, and lowers blood cholesterol
  • Helps to regulate blood clotting time
  • Involved with inflammatory response
  • Is needed to form prostaglandins which have a variety of roles such as contraction of smooth muscles and muscle tone, blood clotting, regulation of blood pressure and many other functions.

Symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency

  • Thirst
  • Dry dull hair
  • Scaly skin
  • Exzema
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Inadequate amounts can contribute to heart disease
    and possibly arthritis

Amount needed to prevent fatty acid deficiency

At least 2% - 5% of the calories in your diet should come from linoleic acid to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency. This is about 2 teaspoons per day of vegetable oils, especially canola, safflower, and soybean oil.