Fatty Acids Imbalances

Essential fatty acids are the core building blocks for all our cell membranes. Imbalances in fatty acids are more common in those suffering from chronic inflammation. Individuals with:

  • chronic fatigue
  • fibromyalgia
  • arthritis
  • autism
  • heart disease
  • arteriosclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Asperger’s
  • depression
  • ulcerative colitis
  • and auto-immune diseases such as Lupus and Hashimoto’s
  • brain fog
  • visual or auditory processing disorders
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • OCD
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia

all have impaired cell membrane function. The developing fetus, women with gestational diabetes, and those suffering from post-partum depression also have imbalances in their EFAs.

WHAT IS AN IMBALANCE IN FATTY ACIDS?

If you eat the traditional Western hemisphere diet of high carbohydrates, vegetables oils, and animal fats, then your ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is out of balance. In fact if you add the American Diet plus take supplements that contain borage oil or evening primrose oil and you do not know what your 6:3 omega ratios are, then you could be tipping your fatty acids more out of balance! The more Omega 6 you take in, the more your body makes arachidonic acid, a by-product of Omega 6 metabolism that increases ALL inflammation in the body. It will make all your symptoms worse. Furthermore, imbalances in fatty acids prevent the proper repair of cell membranes in our entire body, especially the brain! Imbalances in fatty acids also prevents the synthesis of all hormones in the body, throwing growth hormone, sex hormones, melatonin, and essential neurotransmitter synthesis out of balance.

Taking over the counter medications such as aspirin or prescription medications such as:

  • NSAIDs
  • indomethacin
  • colchicine
  • sulfasalazine
  • anti-inflammatory steroids
  • BLOCKS the synthesis of much needed prostaglandins
  • leukotrienes
  • thromboxanes

all anti-inflammatory helpers! They tip your ratios even more out of balance and contribute to the chronic nature of many inflammatory conditions.

Our diet and environment also plays a significant part in inhibiting the proper production of EFAs in the body. Delta-6 desaturase is a key enzyme involved in fatty acid metabolism, whose function is blocked by the use of alcohol, foods containing trans-fats, and saturated fat diets. Taking too much of linolenic acid, or having Epstein Barr, a common chronic fatigue virus, also inhibits the proper function of this enzyme and tips you more out of the proper EPA/DHA balance! Conditions such as eczema, increased nerve pain and other neuralgias, paresthesias, depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease commonly have low delta-6 desaturase activity. Insulin resistance and diabetes impairs this enzyme function, with the added problem of also increasing the product of the pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid!

SYMPTOMS OF FATTY ACID DEFICIENCY

Symptoms of low omega 6 include “chicken skin” which are bumps on the back of the upper arms, red skin, scaly skin, eczema patches, excessive thirst without excessive urination, coarse dry hair, hair loss, brittle nails and slow wound healing. Symptoms of low omega 3 include:

  • numbness and tingling of the fingers and feet
  • impaired immune system function
  • frequent colds or slow recovery from infections and colds
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • brain fog
  • dementia
  • chronic fatigue
  • fibromyalgia
  • insulin resistance
  • Syndrome X, arthritis
  • diabetes

You do not need to have any of the above symptoms to actually be out of balance and deficient in EPA/DHA. If you eat gluten, lots of animal protein, like beef, hotdogs, cured meats, deli meats, processed foods, any food in a box, then you have a high inflammatory diet and your ratio of omega 6:Omega 3 will be off.

Health Benefits – EPA DHA

Please note:
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

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Anna Manayan

Anna Manayan