Some Fatty Acids Are Essential to Your Health, but the Key Is Getting the Right Amounts

Fatty acids are harmful and we have to avoid them. Fatty acids are essential and we have to consume them.

We need to get absolutely no trans- fats, except those trans- fats that keep us alive. And everybody needs to lose fat even if they are underweight.

The fact is, fatty acids are a complicated subject. It's easy even for experts to be confused, and many are! But if you get these ten essential fats and essential and non-essential fatty acids, you'll be a long way toward making sustainable, healthy dietary choices.

  1. Fatty acids are the building blocks of fats.It helps to understand what a fatty acid is. It's just the chemical building block of fat, broken down into a form that can travel through the watery fluid called plasma that makes up the most of what flows in our veins.
  2. You absolutely have to have some fat in your diet. It's very hard to avoid getting at least a little fat in your diet, and that's a good thing. There are two kinds of fatty acids the body has to have to make regulatory hormones, the n-3 essential fatty acids (also known as the omega-3 essential fatty acids) and the n-6 essential fatty acids (also known as the omega-6 essential fatty acids). The body can make other fats, but you absolutely have to get these from food.
  3. The n-3 essential fatty acids and the n-6 essential fatty acids are both "essential," that is, necessary, but you need to get them in the right balance.

    The body uses n-3 essential fatty acids to make regulatory hormones. Every cell in the human body uses n-3's to make hormones that keep inflammatory hormones from going wild.

    Every cell in the human body uses n-6 essential fatty acids to to make the inflammatory hormones that activate the immune system to fight infection and that make chemicals that destroy old cells and germs.
  4. The problem with almost everyone's diet is getting too much n-6 and too little n-3.The problem with almost everyone's diet is that they get about 20 to 30 times as much n-6 and n-3. The body makes too many inflammatory hormones and not enough hormones to regulate them. The answer to the problem isn't to eat no fat at all. It's to reduce n-6 fatty acids and increase n-3 fatty acids. But it is not necessary eat some kind of weird diet to do that. Reducing total fat and taking n-3 essential fatty acid supplements will usually accomplish this objective.
  5. There's also a kind of fat known as n-9, or omega-9 fatty acids. These fatty acids are not "essential."Body fat is mostly omega-9 fatty acids. Do you have trouble accepting the idea that omega-9 fatty acids are not "essential?" This is the kind of fat the body makes to store excess calories, and it's also the kind of fat found in lard, bacon, chicken fat, and olive oil, although they also contain other fatty acids.
  6. The -3, -6, and -9 refer to the location of the last double bond in the chain of carbon atoms that make up a fatty acid.Here's what you really need to know about the numbers. The farther away from the end of the line the last double bond between carbon atoms is the last place the fatty acid can be "snipped" to be turned into some other product. The n-3 fatty acids can't be turned into as many different products as the n-6's and the n-6's can't be turned into as many products as the n-9's. And the n-9's can be made in more, different ways than the other fats. The -3 and -6 are essential, but the -9 is not.
  7. Trans- fats get stuck in the lining of cells.That's the problem with trans- fats. Most of them get stuck in the lining of cells, and then, like an arrow stuck in its target, the tip of the trans- fat damages the lining of the cell. However, that's not always a bad thing. If you have congestive heart failure, for instance, trans- fats irritate heart cells to keep them beating. But the problem for most of us has been, until very recently, just getting too much.
  8. Having at least a little body fat is not a bad thing.Body fat is what gives us curves. It provides a buffer under the skin that stops wrinkling, cuts, and bruises. It protects the inner organs from injury. It's an essential back-up supply of energy should we ever not be able to find food. For most of human history, the problem wasn't having too much body fat. It was not having enough.
  9. A saturated fat is a fat that is solid at room temperature, such as shortening, butter, or lard."Saturation" refers to a chemical state in which all the carbon atoms in a molecule of fat are as completely "connected" as they possibly can be. This helps molecules stick to each other so the substance stays a solid.
  10. The problem with saturated fat is that it reacts with oxygen to form products that stick in the linings of arteries.Unsaturated fats like olive oil are liquids that are not attacked by oxygen. Saturated fats are solids that are readily attacked by oxygen to transform into products that stick in the lining of arteries. If you eat your lard on a piece of toast, as is the custom in Eastern Europe, you get a lot less exposure to toxic products than if you use it to fry food. But most of us do best simply to avoid shortening, butter, and lard. Go for products that are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially olive oil and flaxseed oil.

  11. Types of Fatty Acids

    Fat is a great way for the body to store energy. Fat is also used to make hormones. But the type of fat you eat has a lot do with how fat affects your health.

    Alpha-Linolenic Acid

    Alpha-linolenic acid is the healthy fat found in flaxseed and flaxseed oil, chia seed, hemp seed and hemp seed oil, and most other nut and seed oils. The human body uses it to make the same fatty acids found in fish oil.

    Eicosanoid Synthesis

    The eicosanoids are the body's building blocks for regulatory hormones. Here is a brief overview of how what you eat affects the kinds of hormones your body makes.

    Biosynthesis of Fatty Acids

    Does the topic of biosynthesis of fatty acids seem a little intimidating? Don't worry, there is just one basic fact everyone needs to know about how the human body makes and uses fatty acids.

    Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

    Fats can be diet-friendly, and the term "essential" in essential fatty acids means exactly what it says. But another group of fats, the monounsaturated fatty acids, deserves some attention.

    Saturated Fatty Acids

    You take your vitamins. You eat your vegetables. But why do the experts nag you about saturated fat? It's a deeply ingrained idea that saturated fat is evil, dangerous, and bad, but the conventional wisdom is wrong.


    What is omega-6 good for?

    What is Omega-3?

    What is omega-3 fish oil good for?

    What is Dha

    DHA is the nutrient everyone needs but many of us have never heard of. What is DHA? Also known by its chemical name decosahexaenoic acid, DHA is one of the two major omega-3 essential fatty acids that everyone needs to fight inflammation.

    Unsaturated Fatty Acids

    Unsaturated fatty acids are the fatty acids that are good for us, but we don't really know why. This article will tell you the five things everyone needs to know about unsaturated fatty acids and their role in human health.

    Saturated vs Unsaturated Fats

    Confused about the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats? Here's a quick roundup of the important differences with just enough chemistry to be precise.


    Most of us have heard about omega-3 fatty acids. They are "good." Most of us have heard of omega-6 fatty acids. They are "bad." But omega-9's are the fatty acids we are not sure about. Here are five things everybody need to know about the role of omega-9's in fitness, fatness, and health.


    What is a omega-7 fatty acid? Learn if you really need Omega-7 fatty acids?

    Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

    What are the health benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids?

    Omega-3, -6, and -9 Fatty Acids

    What you need to know about omega-3, 6 & 9 fatty acids.

    Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency

    What are essential fatty acid deficiency symptoms?

    Essential Fatty Acids

    In all the references to "good" and "bad" essential fatty acids (efas) , it's easy to forget the one term that describes both kinds of fat: Essential. This article will explain the three things everyone needs to know about the fatty acids everybody needs to make the hormones that fight disease and promote health.

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