ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
(Omega-3, Omega-6 & Omega-9)
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are fats that are required by our bodies and necessary to good health but which we’re unable to produce biologically. That means we have to obtain them through our diets. Omegas -3 and -6 are essential fatty acids which have such a good reputation for improving health and bodily performance that the US military is considering supplementing the diets of its soldiers with Omega 3 to encourage benefits ranging from heart health to brain function and from combating depression to safeguarding pregnancy, eye health and cutting the risk of cancers. One of the key benefits of EFAs are their anti-inflammatory properties, in particular Omega-3 has been which has been found to be beneficial in individuals with rosacea, ocular rosacea and the inflammatory skin disease psoriasis, leading to reduced itching and erythema.
So what exactly is an EFA?
If we’re being technical, they’re long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. By way of a recap on the difference between these fatty acids, saturated fatty acids contain single bonds only and are found in foods such as butter, whole milk, cream, eggs, red meat and chocolate. Excessive intake of saturated fats can raise one's blood cholesterol and increase the risk of developing coronary artery disease. A second type of fatty acid, Monounsaturated fatty acids, contain one double bond. Examples of foods high in monounsaturated fat include avocados, nuts, and olive, peanut and canola oils and scientists believe that increased consumption of monounsaturated fats can be beneficial in lowering LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and potentially lowering the risk of coronary heart disease. But EFAs fall within the third group of fatty acids, the polyunsaturated ones, which contain more than one bond and which are generally considered the healthiest of the fats.
There are two families of EFAs:
Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-9 is often talked of in the same breath as them but is in fact a necessary but "non-essential" fat because the body can manufacture a modest amount on its own, provided the essential EFAs are present. Oily fish is probably the best known source of Omega -3, in particular mackerel, herring and salmon, and other sources include Flax seed, spinach and avocado. Due to changes in diet and cooking methods, generally people these days suffer from a deficiency of Omega-3 whereas there are plenty of sources of Omega-6. An ideal intake ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is between 1:1 and 4:1, whereas most people these days are only obtaining a ratio of between 10:1 and 25:1, so far too much Omega-6 is prevalent in most diets. It’s important therefore to look for foods high in Omega-3 but not too high in Omega-6.
EFAs support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. The human body needs them to manufacture and repair cell membranes, enabling the cells to obtain optimum nutrition and expel harmful waste products. A primary function of EFAs is the production of prostaglandins, which regulate body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility, conception, and play a role in immune function by regulating inflammation and encouraging the body to fight infection. Omega-3s are used in the formation of cell walls, making them supple and flexible, and improving circulation and oxygen uptake with proper red blood cell flexibility and function. Some Omega-6s can help improve diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, skin disorders (e.g. psoriasis and eczema), and aid in cancer treatment. Omega-9 is not technically an EFA but is reputed to be effective in lowering heart attack risk and hardening of the arteries.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
EFAs are a vital part of every cell in the body. With respect to their impact on the skin, in particular they are a necessary component of the fluid lipid film coating the skin's surface. This film maintains moisture, softness and elasticity in the skin as well as providing a protective barrier against the entry of disease-causing organisms and harmful bacteria. The body's normal secretion of essential fatty acids decreases with age, leaving a less moist and emollient skin, characteristic of most ageing skin. So we need to ensure that our skin retains the necessary level of Omegas-3,-6 & 9 so as to keep our EFA levels high as our skin ages, and this can be done through diet and supplements and feeding the skin directly or a combination of all three approaches. Topical application of EFAs has the added benefit of actually adding moisture and hydration, and these natural constituents become well absorbed into the epidermal and dermal layers of tissue.
A deficiency of EFAs may well cause various forms of dermatitis and other skin conditions. Mild deficiencies, which are very common and often go unnoticed, may not cause clinical manifestations but clearly impair the skin's ability to heal and renew itself. But all skin types, and in particular dry skin or that which is exposed to cold and windy conditions, will benefit not only from more efficient cellular activity but from the protection and additional hydration within the lipid barrier promoted by the intake of essential fatty acids. Consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids can be most beneficial in reducing the inflammation from rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?
A small amount of Omega-3's can make a big difference in rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and coronary risks while improving overall body, skin and eye health. Current thinking is that around 400 mg a day is enough to reduce risk quite substantially. You can get it by eating oil-rich fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring. Note: 300 MG g = 10.5821 oz - 400 mg g = 14.1095 oz - 500 MG g = 17.6369 oz so think of the size of your body and vary accordingly to size and enjoyment.
Supplementation with Omega 3 capsules on a daily basis is also an effective source. Please follow the recommendation by the manufacturer from a reputable supplier as we can not make better recommendations.
Other sources of Omega-3's are from vegetable products such as flax seed oil, avocados, walnuts, rape seed oil and tofu. And vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, dark salad leaves, cabbage, brussels sprouts, & parsley are good sources of Omega-3.
TOPICAL APPLICATION OF EFA'S
How can topical application of EFS's help and improve your skin condition? We have included Omega's into many of our products for a range of benefits. The most important being, boosting lipid content and the repair of the skin's barrier function. This helps protect delicate skin, improves moisture levels, helps the skin retain its own moisture which all leads to improved softness and elasticity. Topical application of Omegas are particularly beneficial to dry skin, conditions such as eczema and during extreme weather conditions, such as cold and wind, both of which can strip away at the skin's lipid barrier. Natural sources of Omega's used in Oskia products, include Shea Butter, Kukui Nut, Jojoba, Rosehip Seed and Sesame Seed Oil.
Maternal omega-3 reduces eczema risk in children: New Study
Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy could cut the risk of babies developing eczema and egg allergies by over a third, say researchers.