In recent years, there’s been quite a bit of scientific research into the potential health benefits of essential fatty acids (EFAs), as they’re often referred too. These essential nutrients are just what they sound like, fats that are necessary for the human body. Despite the significant effort to get the word out, many people continue to associate fat with poor health and weight gain, but healthy fats like essential fatty acids are essential to survival. Without them, serious damage can result in multiple systems throughout the body.
If you’re concerned about your health, and your waistline, it’s essential to be aware of the roles EFAs play in nutrition and good health – and, take action to ensure you’re getting enough. They help to improve absorption of vitamins and minerals, ensure the proper functioning of nerves, aid in producing hormones, nourish the hair, skin and nails; and prevent or treat many types of diseases.
If you’re deficient in EFAs, something that’s common due to modern dietary and lifestyle choices, as well as environmental factors, over time it can lead to disease or even premature death. While your body has the ability to produce many of the fatty acids that it needs from other fats, there are some that it simply cannot synthesize, including alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6). That’s why they’re considered essential fatty acids – your body can only get them from foods and/or supplements since it can’t create them.
By giving your body the EFAs it needs, your health is likely to be positively impacted in many different ways - the list of benefits is a long one, including these.
Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease
EFAs are probably most well-known for their role in lowering the risk of heart disease. Numerous studies, such as 2014 research published in journal Circulation, have found that they can help maintain a healthier heart and may protect one against heart disease by lowering high blood pressure and lipids, as well as by decreasing blood clots. There is so much evidence supporting the benefits of EFAs for better heart health that the American Heart Association updated its dietary guidelines in 2000 to recommend healthy adults consume at least two servings of fatty fish each week, a food known to be very high in omega-3 fatty acids. This essential fatty acid in particular has been shown in scientific studies to reduce blood pressure, the buildup of plaque in the arteries and lower triglyceride levels too.
Supporting Brain Health and Potentially Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
While you might think cognitive decline is an unavoidable consequence of aging, there are many things you can do to help prevent it, including getting your EFAs. Multiple studies have linked higher levels of EFA intake to decreased age-related mental decline, in fact, ensuring your body gets the EFAs it needs may even prevent some types of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s Disease. A 2009 study out of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore found that EFA consumption (omega-3s in particular) is linked with a lower risk of both Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. Interestingly, another study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine revealed that consuming more fish, which again, is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, is associated with an increased amount of gray matter in the brain. Gray matter is a kind of brain tissue that’s involved in sensory perception, decision making and the formation of memories.
Maintaining or Losing Weight
If you eat too much of anything, including a lot of foods that are high in fat, there’s no question that it will lead to weight gain; however, EFAs are a must not only for proper nutrition but to help one maintain an ideal body weight, or lose stubborn pounds. Getting enough in your diet, especially omega-3s, makes it easier to lose weight and keep it off as it reduces appetite and increases fat burning, especially when combined with regular exercise and a reduced-calorie diet as multiple studies have found, such as one published in Appetite in November of 2008.
Inflammation is a normal immune response designed to protect the body against infection as an important immunological defense mechanism. For example, you get a splinter in your thumb and it starts to swell and turn red. But it can also be a problem when the inflammation doesn’t stop when it should. In fact, it has a significant role in many various health conditions, especially those that end in “itis,” which means inflammation, like arthritis. It’s also considered to be the root of nearly all chronic disease and illness like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, digestive disorders and obesity as well as premature aging – just to name a few.
Research has found that consuming more EFAs may help reduce that harmful inflammation which can cause so many different problems. In fact, supplementing with omega-3s was found by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to be comparable to ibuprofen as far as its ability to lessen both pain and inflammation. They may be especially helpful for those suffering from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma.
Battling Depression and Anxiety
We talked about EFAs and their ability to support brain health, but they can also affect mental health in a positive way, including aiding in the treatment of depression and anxiety. In an analysis of clinic trails published in PLoS One which looked at nearly 20 different studies of their effects on depression, experts found that taking a supplement that contained omega-3s was effective for treating depression symptoms. The study also found improvement in anxiety symptoms that was linked with treatment utilizing omega-3 fatty acids.
The Evidence is Clear
It’s clear through the extensive scientific evidence that most individuals can benefit from EFA supplementation, like the EFA complex found in K Nutri’s Women’s Essential Pack ( and its equivalent for men), for achieving and maintaining optimal health, or even helping to prevent or treat certain health conditions. They’re also safe and well tolerated by most with no serious side effects.