Essential Fatty Acids Primer
There are two essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are critical to human health, yet are not produced within the body and must come from our food sources. Modern research has shown that these two fatty acids, known as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, should be balanced in the body at a ratio of 1:4 for optimum health.
Omega-6 fatty acids’ main component is linolenic acid, which is a precursor to many physiologically active molecules in the body. It is found in vegetable and nut oils, and the typical human diet obtains enough of this fatty acid because it is so pervasive in the food supply.
Omega-3 fatty acids are sometimes called “fish oils” because of their occurrence in fish such as salmon and tuna. However, they are also found in other seafood such as algae and krill, and in some nuts such as flax seeds. Omega-3s have become popular since the American Heart Association recommended eating at least two servings a week of fatty fish containing these essential fatty acids. The typical American diet is often lacking in the foods in which omega-3s are found.
Increasing omega-3 consumption may also help in managing diabetes. They have been shown to lower triglyceride and apoproteins levels, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. They also help stimulate blood circulation and can lower blood pressure. Please check with your doctor before taking these powerful oils as part of your diabetes care regimen, as they can increase fasting blood sugar levels and interact with some prescription drugs.