Essential Fatty Acids – Essential Fatty Acids
Fatty acids are organic compounds of critical importance to all living organisms.
There are nearly a hundred varieties of natural fatty acids, chemically it is customary to divide them into three groups:
- Saturated fatty acids
- Acids, monounsaturated fatty
- Fatty acids and polyunsaturated
Omega-3 Essential fatty acids belong to a category of monounsaturated fats and divided into two fatty acids, omega 3 and omega-6. One type of saturated fat is also referred to an omega-9.
The food we eat contains all three types of fats that is, saturated, monounsaturated and multi-unsaturated, but their relationship changes. Relationship between the various fatty acids and the amount of types of fats in our food determine the impact on our health.
These fatty acids are required for many physiological functions;
Creating electrical impulses that stimulate heart function.
Balancing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Supporting the immune system.
Improvement in brain function and nervous system.
Providing a treatment for depression and anxiety.
Helping against ADHD.
Enhancing anti-inflammatory activity.
Controlling hormonal balance.
Prevention of skin problems and treatment for psoriasis.
Fully taking part in tissue cells.
Fighting growth disorders.
Regulating changes in the cell membranes and walls of blood vessels.
Avoiding coagulation system damage.
Avoiding a reduction in myocardial contraction.
Avoiding losing fertility.
Avoiding decreased immune function.
Avoiding renal function abnormalities.
Avoiding mental injury – mood swings, depression and anxiety.
Supporting the normal development of the fetus – the nervous system and retina.
Chemistry of fatty acids:
Chain fatty acids contain carbon atoms of the carboxyl group COOH at the end and it gives the compound the acidic feature. These acids are classified to three main groups according to number of double bonds between carbon atoms in the chain molecule. Saturated fatty acids do not contain any double bonds, and are saturated with hydrogens, and hence the name given to them.
Monounsaturated fatty acids contain one double bond, whereas polyunsaturated fatty acids contain more than one double bond. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are classified into two sub-groups which are separate from each other .
Omega-3 fatty acid is the first double bond between the third carbon and the fourth carbon chain. Omega-6 fatty acid is the first double bond between carbon sixth and the seventh carbon chain. Sounds complicated, don’t mind it too much. You just have to know its rules.