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Essential Fatty Acids Review
Benefits Of Essential Fatty Acids

What are EFA's? - EFA's or Essential Fatty Acids

EFA's or Essential Fatty Acids, are naturally occurring unsaturated fats that are considered essential because they are not produced by the human body. There are two essential fatty acids, they are linoleic, sometimes referred to as the Omega-6 fatty acid, and alpha-linoleic, referred to as the Omega-3 fatty acid. Without these essential fatty acids, several bodily functions would not be possible. The body uses linolenic acid to make two other essential fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid, commonly referred to as DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA. These fatty acids are found in fish oil as well.

Why should I use EFA's?

The role that EFA's play in our bodies is significant and might surprise you. One of the major roles of EFA's in the body is as structural components of all cell membranes. In addition to this, EFA's are vital for the formation of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins which are vital for a variety of functions including steroid hormone production. It is important to keep in mind that although our diets seem to be excessively loaded with fat, these fats are of the saturated variety and do nothing to improve overall body function except as stored fat deposits. It is important to consume enough EFA's and as little saturated fat as possible in order to promote proper overall body function.

What research has been done on EFA's?

As with other supplements, EFA's have plenty of research proving their benefits. Some studies have demonstrated that supplementing the diet with EFA's may decrease catabolism and increase growth hormone secretion. Other studies have shown that EFA's may improve the action of insulin and could possibly enhance oxygen utilization and the energy transformation necessary for optimal performance. Still other studies have demonstrated that EFA's can have a positive impact on total cholesterol levels and can increase levels of HDL, or the good cholesterol. Finally, and perhaps the most exciting of all studies, found that supplementing with EFA's, specifically CLA, may support a significant increase in fat loss and an increase in lean body mass.

What doses of EFA's should be taken?

There have been no definitive studies as to what doses are the optimal. The recommended dose depends on a persons eating habits, metabolism and genetics. Usually, in conjunction with a low-fat diet, consuming 3-9 total grams per day has been shown to be sufficient.

What side effects are caused by EFA's?

As of yet, there have been no reported or known side effects from taking EFA's. As stated before, EFA's are abundant in nature, such as fish oils, and vegetable oils, and thus no adverse side effects should be encountered.

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