Originally published December 11 2008
Essential Fatty Acids are Essential for Good Health
by Jo Hartley
(NaturalNews) The Food & Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization have released a joint report regarding the role of dietary fats and oils in nutrition. This report has attracted extensive attention regarding the impact of these components in our overall health. The current recommendations are that we need a minimum of 3% of our daily caloric intake to be "essential fatty acids" (EFAs). This percentage goes up to 5% for children and pregnant/lactating mothers. EFAs are essential for overall health and well-being. They are present in every cell and they control our cellular metabolism.
EFAs are necessary for four primary bodily functions.
1.To provide energy
2.To maintain body temperature
3.To insulate nerves
4.To cushion and protect body tissues
Two of the most important polyunsaturated EFAs are Linoleic acid (LA) and Gamma-Linoleic acid (GLA). Linoleic acid is not manufactured by the body and can only be obtained through dietary intake. LA is a source of energy and is also what is eventually converted to other substances in the body, including prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are substances that are present and necessary in every cell in the body. They are important for one's overall health and it is necessary that they be replenished constantly because once they are utilized by the body they are removed.
Prostaglandins help to lower blood pressure, they reduce the risk of blood clots, they stimulate one's immune system, and they also regulate brain function. Several recent studies have also concluded that they may help prevent arthritis. The source of the EFAs in these recent studies has been Evening Primrose Oil.
Once, scientists believed that our diets could provide enough EFAs. Unfortunately, it is now being discovered that the EFAs we commonly consume are actually blocking the conversion process necessary for our bodies to utilize these EFAs. This is due to the consumption of too much saturated fat and cholesterol, too much processed vegetable oils, and too much alcohol. This situation is also exacerbated by age, low thyroid function, slow metabolism, infections, disease, and certain dietary deficiencies (including zinc).
Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) is the richest source of GLA. It contains approximately 72% LA and 9% GLA and is a completely natural source. Because of the GLAs it contains, EPO is considered highly beneficial for those who have difficulty getting enough GLAs through other sources. This includes those who do not get enough EFAs in their diets, those who currently (or have in the past) consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, those who have low thyroid function, and those who are receiving radiation treatments. Consuming GLAs from a direct source like EPO helps the body recover and repair for optimum health.
Sweden is currently conducting preliminary studies on EPO for its anti-oxidant properties. It is also being studied as a means to counteract the formation of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are connected with accelerated aging.
EPO is not only beneficial for maintaining optimal health, however. It is also being studied in Europe for its abilities to manage the pain associated with arthritis, its ability to control the complications from diabetes, its ability to control the damage inflicted to the liver and kidneys from alcohol abuse, as well as its beneficial results on depression, multiple sclerosis, skin repair, and PMS symptoms.
A recent study conducted in London concluded that women suffering from PMS improved dramatically when they consumed EPO three times per day. Of the study participants, 67% reported becoming symptom-free and 22% reported partial relief from their symptoms. A total of 89% reported positive results from consuming EPO.
Evening Primrose Oil is readily available at most health food stores and online and it is not difficult to understand why it was commonly referred to as the "King's Cure All" back in the 17th century.
About the authorJo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
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