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Feature Articles
 Best of the Low Carb Blogs
 Creating Our Own Traditions
 Low Carb Thanksgiving Feast
 How to Roast a Turkey
 Chromium and Depression
 More Holiday Sides!
 Essential Fatty Acids: 101
 Product of The Month
 Alcohol & Low Carb: Last Call
 Thanksgiving Sweets
 Heart Surgeon on Low Carb



  MacNut Oil


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       Essential Fatty Acids: The Most Essential Life Nutrients By Pete Maletto

Of the many years I've been in the nutrition and alternative medicine industry, nothing I've found has had a greater positive impact on our health than essential fatty acids.

These positive health benefits represent increased energy and weight loss, reduced chance of stroke and heart attack, reduction of arthritis and inflammatory conditions, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol. Essential fatty acids are even helpful in decreasing depression and increasing sex drive. Yes, essential fatty acids are that... well... essential!

Fatty acids are the basic building blocks of fats and oils and how they are composed to form a "complete fat." They cannot be made by our body, and are, in fact, the reason they are called "essential." Indeed, every cell in your entire body requires these fatty acids, as they are essential in the reproduction of new cells.

I recall sitting in Dr. Atkins' office in NYC many years ago. He looked at me and said, "Pete, you should really try these." He threw a bottle of Essential Oils across the desk (yes he actually threw it.) After glancing at the label I noticed it wasn't just fish oil. This was very different formula — one he specifically formulated with fish, flax, and borage containing Omega 3-6-9. Dr. Atkins boasted a confident smile and he said, "Try it. Tell me how you feel in few weeks."

After two weeks, I was real believer in the amazing power of essential fatty acids. Of course, the formula Dr Atkins put together turned out to be the most copied nutrition formula ever in the dietary supplement industry. So what was it that made this specific combination of essential fatty acids so particularly powerful?

The two categories of essential fatty acids are Omega 3 and Omega 6. Even though Omega 9 can also be considered essential, it isn't classified as such because our bodies can produce Omega 9 from linoleic acid. Omega 3, such as those from flax and fish contain the main fatty acids called alpha linolenic, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic (ALA, EPA, DHA). Fish oil contains very high concentrations of EPA and DHA where the flax profile produces favorable amounts of ALA.

Of course, Omega 9 contains essential fatty acids called gamma linoleic acid (GLA) — a very important nutrient that is closely involved in hormone regulation. GLA is contained mostly in borage oil but is also found in another flower called evening primrose. In some individuals, such as those with nutrient deficiencies, diabetes, or lipid metabolism issues, GLA cannot be converted from linoleic acid, so it would always be wise to incorporate borage oil in your flax and fish essential fatty acids program.

I remember Dr Atkins telling me that he had his patients taking too many pills daily and the average client could never follow his fatty acid programs. He poked fun at his far-too-detailed schedule of "Take 3 borage oil softgels, 2 fish oil softgels, and 4 flax oil softgels, and yeah, that should do it."

To try to explain how fatty acids work in human biochemistry, allow me to get just a little technical... We have hormonal paracrines called "eicosanoids," (pronounced eye-kos-a-noids). These powerful "master" hormones are divided into two basic groups: the "good" and the "bad." Other names for good and bad eicosanoids are: "prostaglandins 1" and "prostaglandins 2," abbreviated "PGE-1" and "PGE-2."

The good eicosonoids (PGE-1) produced from essential fatty acids correct blood viscosity keeping platelets from sticking together and dilating blood vessels. This eventually prevents cardiovascular diseases, strokes and heart attacks as well as increasing delivery of nutrients to vital organs, optimizing health. The greatest benefit of PGE-1 is the decreased inflammatory response it provides, crucial to so many of our bodies processes. All this great "chemistry" also creates optimal lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, which boosts energy and increases fat loss.

Elevated PGE-1 from essential fatty acids, specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) increases nerve transmission, essential in optimal mood and increased sex drive as well. This increased nerve transmission is due to decreased inflammatory responses by PGE-1 and prove beneficial in prevention of Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer's.

The bad eicosoniods (PGE-2) are produced from various poor environmental factors, most of which we can control. One of these include a diet that is high in sugars, starches and trans fats. PGE-2 is also elevated by smoking and exposure to chemicals in the air we breathe and the foods we eat (you would be surprised what you expose yourself to every day). This constant abuse over the years leads to thicker blood viscosity, which can become detrimental to many hormonal processes.

PGE-2 elevation also is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stoke. It is the main inflammatory factor in rheumatoid arthritis (or any diseases with "itis" at the end of their name), and is a critical factor in diabetes and pre diabetes, as it slows pancreatic insulin response time in relation to blood glucose elevations.

Nerve transmission is also decreased by elevation of PGE-2. In fact, studies have shown that patients that were depressed had elevated PGE-2 levels 2-3 times higher than those not depressed. This is because elevated PGE-2 reduces the release and uptake of "feel good" neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which can lead to depression.

On a happier note, for people trying to lose weight remember that including essential fatty acids for elevation of the good eicosanoids accelerate the use of stored body fat. Like mentioned before eicosanoids can be controlled by what we eat at each meal. For example, high levels of bad carbohydrates decrease the production of good eicosanoids and increase the production of bad eicosanoids as insulin/glucagon balance in our bodies' effects eicosanoid production. Good proteins combined with high fiber and all-natural foods produce levels of good eicosanoids.

To achieve the optimal eicosanoid balance, supplement your low carbohydrate diet with an essential fatty acid formula from your local health food store. Of course, if only more doctors would throw bottles of essential fatty acids at their patients, the world would be a healthier place.

                                               Chief Science Officer, DynaPure Nutrition

Copyright © November 2005  Pete Maletto and Low Carb Luxury



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