Learn how to increase your nutrition by using natural multi-EFA supplements as part of your diet.
Up your Nutrition with Multi-EFA Supplements
Get your healthy fats the easy way using multi-EFA supplements.
Do you take a multivitamin every day? If so,
you might be surprised to learn that it may not be enough for
optimum health. Mounting research suggests that getting the right
amount of essential fatty acids is as important as getting your
daily vitamins. To help meet daily needs for essential fats, I now
recommend a “multi-EFA” to all of my clients as part of their
regular supplementation program.
EFAs are necessary to support a variety of cellular processes.
They maintain the integrity of cell walls and membranes, generate
energy, produce hormones, and help with normal brain, nerve, and
eye function. They also aid in combating numerous health concerns
such as elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels, high blood
pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, mental disorders, diabetic
neuropathy, menstrual and menopausal discomforts, eczema,
psoriasis, and even cancer.
Interestingly, researcher Hugh Sinclair observed the vital
connection between fats and disease almost fifty years ago. His
remarks, published in the medical journal Lancet, cited an
imbalance in fat metabolism as the underlying cause behind a number
of diseases occurring worldwide. According to Sinclair, the modern
diet—loaded with processed foods and hydrogenated fats and
practically void of EFAs—was the primary culprit.
In addition to the health challenges produced by diets high in
saturated and trans fats, we have also been experiencing the
disastrous results of the no-to-low-fat diet trend of recent years.
What the advocates of the no-fat diet didn’t tell us was that
omitting the essential fats would set the stage for hair and skin
conditions such as dandruff, psoriasis, dryness, hair thinning, and
eczema. No-fat diets can also aggravate joint problems,
inflammation, and PMS, as well as depression and other
The Fabulous Four EFAs
A healthy balance of EFAs is critical to health. In fact, each
EFA plays a distinct and valuable role in the optimal functioning
of the entire body. Just as you need the right combination of
vitamins and minerals, your body also needs the right balance of
EFAs for proper metabolic functions. The EFAs include alpha
linolenic acid (ALA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA), eicosapentaenoic
acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)
Alpha linolenic acid, predominantly found in flaxseeds, has
shown great promise in helping the body with cancer prevention,
improving male fertility, protecting against heart disease, and in
improving immune function. ALA can also be converted by the body to
other essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) that are well-known for
their positive effect on brain function, cardiac arrhythmia, and
high blood triglycerides.
Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Gamma linolenic acid is recognized for its success in a variety
of areas. It’s a PMS soother, arthritis alleviator, and beautifier.
GLA is effective especially for cramping, irritability, headaches,
and sunburn because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Although
GLA can be synthesized from the raw material linoleic acid, found
in vegetable oils, there are numerous dietary and lifestyle factors
that disrupt this conversion. For example, consumption of sugar,
alcohol, trans fats, and lack of minerals and vitamins can prevent
the GLA transformation. The richest food source of GLA is borage
EPA and DHA
Research with the omega-3s EPA and DHA has shown great promise
in a variety of areas, including hypertension, high blood
triglycerides, irregular heartbeat, Crohn’s disease, multiple
sclerosis, lupus, and infant brain development. Both EPA and DHA
are deficient in individuals suffering from aggression, dementia,
Alzheimer’s, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In
January 2001, a landmark study was published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association. The study examined the diets of
80,000 female nurses over the course of fourteen years and found
that the risk of stroke due to blood clotting can be reduced by
almost 50 percent by eating fish two to four times a week. The
authors believe that the benefits were gained through the omega-3
content of the fish.
While there are food choices that can help you get the balance
of EFAs you need every day, this may be difficult if you have a
hectic lifestyle. And there are those of us who are simply not flax
or fish lovers, so getting all of your EFAs from food may not be as
easy as it sounds. The easiest way to boost your daily intake of
healthy fats is to look for a multi-EFA combination, which
typically contains a blend of borage, fish, and flaxseed oils
supplying a balance of EFAs. For a maintenance dosage, try 2 to 4
capsules daily. For those with specific conditions, higher dosages
of individual EFAs can be taken as therapeutic supplements. The
bottom line is that a daily dose of good fats is a vital component
of overall health and well-being. Essential fatty acids should be a
part of your basic supplementation program along with your
multivitamin and multimineral tablet.
Ann Louise Gittleman, N.D., M.S., C.N.S., is one of the foremost
nutritionists in the United States. She is the author of the
best-selling books Eat Fat, Lose Weight (Keats, 1999) and Why Am I
Always So Tired? (Harper San Francisco, 1999).
Read more about soybean foods and your health: Natural Healing Using Soybean Foods.