Most fats in red meats we can definitely live without, but the omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish and nuts, such as EPA, DHA, and GLA, are key to all of the systems in our bodies. That is why these are called the essential fatty acids.
Your supplement program has to have fat in it. That may sound odd, but when you realize that some 60 to 80 percent of the brain and nervous system are made of fat, then you begin to realize that some fats are actually crucial building blocks for proper health. Most fats in red meats we can definitely live without, but the omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish and nuts, such as EPA, DHA, and GLA, are key to all of the systems in our bodies. That is why these are called the essential fatty acids.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA): Fish, particularly the cold-water fish like salmon, cod, herring and mackerel, have a protective roll of fat in them that contains something very important to our bodies: The essential fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These omega-3 fatty acids are valuable in preventing repeated coronary heart disease events. However, the benefits of these do not stop there; they also affect proper mental and nervous system function as well as positively affecting symptoms of depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), age-related memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and some vision problems, among other conditions.
Studies indicate that several conditions associated with aging – such as forgetfulness, dementia, sensory defects, and Alzheimer’s disease – may be associated with inadequate amounts of DHA in the diet. DHA is one of the primary structural fatty acids found in the retina of the eye and in the gray matter of the brain (the human brain is between 60 and 80 percent fat, and DHA is the most abundant fat found in it). Because of this it also appears that depression, visual problems, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders may also be associated with low DHA levels.
Along with its cousin eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), DHA also helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduces the stickiness of platelets. This in turn reduces the formation of blood clots. EPA and DHA help decrease arthritic symptoms by regulating chemicals known as prostaglandin and leukotrienes, which promote inflammation.
Keeping constant levels of omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA in our systems can reduce the risk of facing many of these diseases. Considering the dramatic increase in these various diseases, it does make sense that we would supplement our diet with fish oil capsules that contain these essential fatty acids.
Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA): The best source of gamma linolenic acid comes from evening primrose oil. Your body can make GLA, but you have to have a large quantity of vitamins and minerals in your system to do it. Being able to extract it from the evening primrose plant has been a great breakthrough in getting regular doses of this essential omega-6 fatty acid. Oddly enough, primrose is a very common plant. It usually grows in dry regions, often beside roadways. Its technical name is oenothera biennis.
GLA is very important in fighting inflammation. Inflammation is directly tied to various illnesses such as heart disease, skin problems, and joint issues. PMS symptoms are reduced by GLA. Neuropathy in diabetics is benefited by GLA. It penetrates the nerves and can actually overcome the pain and numbness associated with neuropathy. It is also important for arthritis, normal wear and tear on the body, osteoarthritis, Crohn’s disease, Ileitis, and various forms of colitis. The other thing that GLA does is work directly on the LDL cholesterol.
Did you know many aches and pains are due to an overly reactive inflammatory system that in many cases just need to be calmed down? GLA from the evening primrose plant is direct and effective in keeping inflammation regulated and protecting us from all the problems inflammation can cause.
Vitamins and Supplements: Essential Fatty Acids