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Fats that Heal / Fats that Kill with Dr. Udo Erasmus

Here are some basic facts from Dr. Erasmus about Fats and Essential Fatty Acids that everyone should know.

This is an important topic so I have several posts on the subject with different experts in the field.  Also see these related blog/videos



Fats, Oils, and Fatty Acids 

Fatty acids are the key building blocks of all fats and oils (lipids) both in our foods and in our body. They are the main components of fats stored in our fat (adipose) cells, which serve as important sources of stored energy. Fatty acids are also the main components of membranes that surround all cells and, within cells. They play key roles in the construction and maintenance of all healthy cells.

Our body uses unsaturated and essential fatty acids to construct membranes, create electrical potentials, and move electric currents. It can also burn them to produce energy if the more vital roles that these fatty acids play have been adequately fulfilled. Unsaturated fatty acids with two or more double bonds are known as polyunsaturated, but market use of this term usually refers to Omega-6 fatty acids found in popular vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower, corn, sesame).

Saturated fatty acids containing less than 16 carbon atoms provide energy, calories, and heat. The shorter the saturated fatty acid, the more readily it ‘burns‘ (oxidizes), and the more easily we can digest it. Our liver must process (metabolize) the fats and oils we eat. Poor digestion of fatty foods, and feeling tired, heavy, or nauseous after fat-containing meals can be symptoms of liver malfunction. Shorter-chain fatty acids are less taxing on our liver than longer ones, and are preferable for people with impaired liver function.

Short-chain saturated fatty acids are especially abundant in butter and tropical fats. In minor quantities, they are present in all fats and oils. Long-chain fatty acids are found in all fats and oils.

Omega 3 – Superunsaturated

  • Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA or LNA), found in flax, hemp seed, canola, soy bean, walnut, and dark-green leaves. Flax seed is the richest source, containing over 50% of its fatty acids as ALA. Chia, kukui (candlenut) 30%, Hemp seed oil 20%, Pumpkin seed 15%, Canola up to 10%, and walnut oil 3 to 11%, Soybean oil 5 to 7% ALA. Dark green leaves contain only a little oil, but this oil is over 50% ALA.
  • Stearidonic Acid (SDA) is found in black currant seeds, whose refined oil is available in capsules.
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) are found in the oils of cold water fish and marine animals. Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and other cold water marine animals are rich sources of these fatty acids, containing up to 30% combined EPA and DHA.

Omega 6 – Polyunsaturated

  • Linoleic Acid (LA) is found in safflower, sunflower, hemp, soybean, walnut, pumpkin, sesame, and flax. Safflower and sunflower are the richest source of LA.
  • Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA) Borage is the richest source of GLA (20% +), followed by black currant evening primrose oil.
  • Mothers‘ milk contains Dihomogamma-linolenic Acid (DGLA) with many beneficial effects on health.
  • Arachidonic Acid (AA) is found in meats and other animal products.

Omega 9 – Monounsaturated

  • Technically not an Essential Fatty Acid
  • Oleic Acid (OA) is found in large quantities in olive, almond, avocado, peanut, pecan, cashew, filbert, and macadamia oils. Land animal fats and butter are other sources of OA. OA and other members of this family are produced in our body.
  • Palmitoleic Acid (POA) is found in tropical oils, especially coconut and palm kernel.

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