Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Essential Fatty Acids -The Good Fats

Fats (triacylglycerols) ...

Some basic terminology ...

fat or fatty acid ...

In the human most of the important fatty acids are between 14 and 24 carbon atoms in length with the most common being 16 or 18 carbon atoms. There is a carboxy.. (acid) group at one end (COOH) and a methylgroup at the other end (CH3). Carbon number one is the carbon atom in the carboxy.. group and the omega(w) carbon is the carbon atom in the methyl(CH3) group at the other end. (For purposes of this discussion we will use the w symbolfor the omega symbol).

saturated fat ...

A carbon atom can have four atoms attached(bonded)to it. Methane gas for example is CH4. There is one carbonatom with four attached hydrogen (H) atoms. When a fatty acid is termed "saturated" this means that all the bondsbetween the carbon atoms are "single" bonds. All the fouravailable spots for bonds are either taken up by an adjacent carbon atom or a hydrogen (H) atom. For examplethe omega end of linolenate would look like this ... of the molecule

There is a single bond between the omega carbon (first fromthe left) and the next carbon. The second carbon atom has two hydrogen atoms and two carbon atoms bonded to it. But,what about the third carbon from the left?

Unsaturated fats ...

If we look at the above example the third and the fourthcarbon atoms have a "double" bond between them and onlyone hydrogen atom each. This is an example of an unsaturated bonding, ie not as many hydrogen atoms arebonded to the carbon atom as there could be. If we makethe rest of this molecule linolenate and name this according to the location of the double bond what wouldwe call this fatty acid?

Polyunsaturated fatty acids ... These are fatty acids thathave more than one "double" bond. Lineolate is a good example of one having double bonds at the 9th and 12thcarbon atoms (from the acid end) or the 9th, 12th and 15th carbon atoms.

Essential fatty acids ... "Mammals lack the enzymes tointroduce double bonds at carbon atoms beyond C-9 in thefatty acid chain."

Stryer Biochemistry 4th Edition p623

This can be a source of confusion since the above statementis counting from the acid end and the omega acids are counting from the omega end. The two main "essential"fatty acids are:

linolenate (w-3)also known as alpha linolenic acid(LNA)linoleate (w-6)also known as linoleic acid (LA)

The w-3 tells you that the first double bond will be atthe third carbon atom from the w- end. The w-6 tells youthat the first double bond will be at the sixth carbon atom from the w- end. These acids are termed "essential"because human (mammalian) biochemistry cannot synthesize them.

Insulin and Glucagon revisited ...

Just an aside here, but it is worth mentioning again in thisdiscussion of fat metabolism. In starvation the level of free fatty acids rises because of the hormones glucagonand epinephrine. Glucagon "mobilizes / utilizes" fat andstimulates the breakdown of fat in the fat cells. Insulinby contrast however, inhibits the breakdown of fat and actually promotes the storage of fat / energy.

The good fats ...

Both of the above fats are "good" fats and necessary for human biochemistry to proceed normally. The omega-6 linoleicacid can be found in more foods than the omega-3 linolenicacid. People are typically deficient in the omega-3 linolenicacid. The good fatty acids "compete" with the bad fatty acids(saturated animal fat, trans-fats etc) and diets that are too heavy in the bad fats make it difficult for the good fatsto do their required biochemistry. Also, it is felt that thereshould be a balance maintained between the omega-3 and the omega-6 fatty acids. The ideal intake ratio of omega-6 toomega-3 should be close to 1:1. However, most Americans geta ratio closer to 25:1 (too much omega-6 relative to omega-3).

What do EFA's do ...

EFA's are integral to cell wall maintainance, the immunesystem, nervous system, cardiovascular and reproductivesystems. They are precursors to the fatty acids necessaryfor prostaglandin formation, which control vital functionsheart rate, blood pressure, immune function, fertility andblood clotting.

Symptoms of omega3/6 imbalance and or deficiency ...

Omega 6/3 imbalance is associated with many symptoms including depression, insulin resistance, diabetes,cancer, heart disease, aging, obesity and schizophrenia.

Food sources ...

Flaxseed oil is probably the easiest and best way to coveryour EFA requirement. One tablespoon of flaxseed oil perday will give you the necessary omega-3 linolenic acid you need. This is also an excellent source of omega-6linoleic acid. Other sources of omega-3 linolenic acidare:

walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens, collards, etc.), canola oil (cold-pressed and unrefined), soybean oil, wheat germ oil, salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, albacore tuna

Sources of linoleic acids (omega-6) are

Flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed meal, grapeseed oil,pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds(raw), olive oil, olives, borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, chestnut oil, chicken, corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed oils

(Thank for these sources)

Refined oils ...

It must be stressed here that any oil that has been refinedwill have no EFA activity. The essential fatty acidsare very unstable and will not tolerate either light orincreased temperature. Your flaxseed (or any) oil should notbe refined. While refining may produce a pretty, clear oil,it destroys most of the good things found in oils includingvitamin E. Make sure your source for EFA's is kept inthe refrigerator section of your grocery, in an opaque bottle.

Thank you for your time.

Copyright © John Mericle M.D. All Rights Reserved

To visit follow the link below.


Reno Gazette Journal

Diet Detective: Checking in on airline food nutrition
Reno Gazette Journal
This is why each year I contact the airlines to request nutrition information for the foods they serve economy-class passengers on domestic flights. All the airlines could do better with their snack choices – there is no clear leader. JetBlue and Delta ...

and more »

6 Things All Nutrition Experts Agree On
A vegetarian, a paleo dieter and a Mediterranean Diet proponent walk into a conference…sounds like the start of a joke, but it actually resulted in some common ground between nutrition and food systems experts last week. Put together by food and ...
The Food Cops and Their Ever-Changing Menu of TaboosWall Street Journal

all 2 news articles »

Casper Star-Tribune Online

Nutrition, recruiting benefit most from $5 million UW athletics match
Casper Star-Tribune Online
When the NCAA deregulated its nutrition rules in April 2014, Wyoming took advantage by expanding its sustenance offerings. It paid for the additional nourishment with the help of the state's $5 million match of Cowboy Joe Club donations for the 2015-16 ...

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

County Senior Nutrition Program serves up more than just food
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
For 16 years, Joe Orr delivered meals to the elderly as a part-time truck driver for Meals on Wheels, the delivery arm of Milwaukee County's Senior Nutrition Program. But on this day, Orr, 83 years old and three years retired, takes his usual seat in ...

Inter Press Service

Better Nutrition for Better Lives
Inter Press Service
Jomo Kwame Sundaram is the Coordinator for Economic and Social Development at the Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, and received the 2007 Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. ROME, Nov 26 2015 (IPS) ...

Boys & Girls Club to dedicate nutrition lab
Corvallis Gazette Times
“We look forward to collaborating with the many community partners who have an expertise in the area of food and nutrition to help us reduce childhood obesity through education and hands on experience," club CEO Helen Higgins said in a press release.

CSO Coalition Urges Kaduna to Fund Maternal, Child Nutrition
Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has called on Kaduna State government to increase its funding for maternal and child nutrition through health and agriculture ministries. At a stakeholders meeting in Kaduna, CS-SUNN also called ...

Fomwan Pushes Maternal Death, Nutrition Across Religious Divide
"We want the government to fund more commodities for family planning and in nutrition, we want to adopt the National Strategic Action on Nutrition and implement it so that at the end of the day, nobody will have children who are stunted, out of school ...

Quinn on Nutrition: Recipe for a healthful holiday
Lexington Herald Leader
Funny how priorities get adjusted when you lose a loved one, especially one as close as a sister. So this Thanksgiving and the weekend, I'm not Christmas shopping. I am thanking God for the incredible outpouring of love and concern these past few weeks ...

and more »

Capital Press

Fresh food nutrition on industry's radar
Capital Press
Victor Raboy, a crop scientist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen, Idaho, holds corn he raised in an experiment to demonstrate the effects of epigenetics, a burgeoning science that finds environmental factors can have heritable ...

Google News


Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright © LLC. All rights reserved.