These "good" fats, or oils, must be consumed through the diet because your body needs them to survive and cannot make them on its own. The essential fatty acid family, also known as unsaturated fatty acids (UFA) and lipids, is made up of linoleic and linonenic acids. Another fatty acid, arachidonic (not considered "essential" but very important to good health nonetheless), can be synthesized if your body has sufficient quantities of linoleic acid supplied through either diet or supplementation.
Essential fatty acids are important for cellular health, proper glandular functioning, oxygen transport, circulation, protection from cholesterol, plus healthy skin, mucous membranes and nerves.
When supplementing look for:
- cold-pressed and cold-processed to preserve nutritional value
- complete lipid and sterol profile
Go back to the Basic Nutrient Glossary
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.