EFA (Essential Fatty Acid)
Type 3 Requirement

EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement: Overview

Please refer to the discussion of this topic in the Recommendations/Treatments section.  In that section, essential fatty acids are discussed in general.  Your need for the Omega-3 family of essential fatty acids is noted here, and should be taken into consideration as you review the information there.

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Signs, symptoms & indicators of EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement:

Symptoms - Nails

Symptoms - Nervous

Conditions that suggest EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement:

Addictions

Alcohol-related Problems

Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may contribute to depressive symptoms in alcoholism, multiple sclerosis and postpartum depression.

Autoimmune

Multiple Sclerosis

Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may contribute to depressive symptoms in alcoholism, multiple sclerosis and postpartum depression.

It is interesting to note that the incidence of MS is quite low in Japan, where consumption of marine foods, seeds, and fruit oil is quite high.  These foods contain abundant polyunsaturated fatty acids, including the omega-3 oils (alpha-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic, and docosahexanoic acids).  Deficiencies of the omega-3 oils are thought to interfere with lipid elongation and permanently impair formation of normal myelin.

Circulation

Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

Many studies have shown that higher omega-3 fatty acid intake can cut the rate of sudden cardiac death by nearly one-half, in both apparently healthy patients and those who have suffered a previous heart attack.

To better understand this protective effect, Danish researchers examined the dietary patterns and individual fatty acid status of nearly 300 patients with ischemic heart disease, comparing them with specific parameters of cardiac function.  They found that the patients who ate more fish had higher levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats in their blood cell membranes and in their fat cells.  A higher level of two specific fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – especially within the cell membrane – was associated with higher heart rate variability in the patients.  An increased heart rate variability indicates healthier pulse regulation, and appears to significantly reduce the risk of arrhythmia and cardiac death.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

One study found that high dose fish oil can produce a small but significant reduction in blood pressure in men with essential hypertension.  [NEJM, April 20, 1989;320: pp.1037-1043.]

Stroke

Consuming cold water fish (and probably omega-3 fatty acids) reduced the incidence of stroke in women by 28 percent.  This study demonstrated a reduction in clotting type strokes, without an increase in hemorrhagic strokes.

Atherosclerosis

While there has been much emphasis on low fat diets, there are some intriguing studies that show that a low fat diet may actually increase LDLs and that it may be more important to alter the fats in the diet, decreasing saturated fats and trans fatty acids, and replacing them with poly- and mono-unsaturated fats.  Hydrogenated oils are at least, if not more, atherogenic than saturated fats.

Immunity

Infections

Lab Values

High Levels Of Triglycerides

Omega-3 fatty acids can have a profound effect on lowering triglyceride levels.

Mental

Depression

Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may contribute to depressive symptoms in alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, postpartum depression and bipolar depression.  An insufficiency of omega-3 oils in the diet, especially the metabolite DHA, has been linked to depression.

Panic Attacks

In one study, 3 out of 4 patients with panic attacks or a history of agoraphobia for 10 or more years improved within 3 months after taking flaxseed oil.

Musculo-Skeletal

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Aching, swollen joints may just be demanding the right kind of oil.  Shifting the body's balance toward omega-3 oils and away from omega-6 oils significantly alleviates symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to a recent study in the Journal of Rheumatology.

Reproductive

Painful Menstruation (Dysmenorrhea)

In a double-blind placebo-controlled study among a group of girls suffering from dysmenorrhea, it was found that the symptoms could be significantly reduced by dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids.  This particular study used fish oil.  [ American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, April 1996;174(4): pp.1335-1338]

Skin-Hair-Nails

Psoriasis

A diet low in essential fatty acids can cause various health problems, including making skin conditions such as dandruff, psoriasis and eczema worse.

Uro-Genital

Urinary Stress/Urge Incontinence

Flax seed oil at 1 Tablespoon per day is sometimes recommended because it can reduce inflammation contributing to an overactive bladder.

Risk factors for EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement:

Autoimmune

Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

There is a possible defect in the metabolism of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).  In order to verify this possibility, doctors in one study measured the plasma levels of various EFAs and their metabolites in SLE.  These results showed that amongst SLE patients the concentrations of Omega-6 and Omega-3 oils or metabolites were low.  Even small doses of fish oils (which contain EPA and DHA) have been shown to help.

Symptoms - Food - Intake

Low cold water fish consumption or not eating cold water fish

More salmon for consumption are now raised in captivity than caught in the wild.  These fish are fed corn meal, soy and canola oil.  When the fish are fed these foods, the concentration of their fats turns far away from the ideal beneficial 3:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and turns closer to the 20:1 found in commercially-raised beef.  This means that salmon raised in salt water pens contain substantially less omega-3 oil than wild salmon, and can no longer be considered a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids unless clearly identified as 'wild caught'.  Also, pigments are added to the artificially-raised salmon to ensure a pink color.  [Seattle Times, September 02, 2001]

Counter-indicators
High/moderate cold water fish consumption

More salmon for consumption are now raised in captivity than caught in the wild.  These fish are fed corn meal, soy and canola oil.  When the fish are fed these foods, the concentration of their fats turns far away from the ideal beneficial 3:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and turns closer to the 20:1 found in commercially-raised beef.  This means that salmon raised in salt water pens contain substantially less omega-3 oil than wild salmon, and can no longer be considered a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids unless clearly identified as 'wild caught'.  Also, pigments are added to the artificially-raised salmon to ensure a pink color.  [Seattle Times, September 02, 2001]

Counter-indicators

Symptoms - Mind - Emotional

History of 'baby blues' or history of postpartum depression

Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may contribute to depressive symptoms in alcoholism, multiple sclerosis and postpartum depression.

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EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement suggests the following may be present:

Nutrients

EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement can lead to:

Autoimmune

Multiple Sclerosis

Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may contribute to depressive symptoms in alcoholism, multiple sclerosis and postpartum depression.

It is interesting to note that the incidence of MS is quite low in Japan, where consumption of marine foods, seeds, and fruit oil is quite high.  These foods contain abundant polyunsaturated fatty acids, including the omega-3 oils (alpha-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic, and docosahexanoic acids).  Deficiencies of the omega-3 oils are thought to interfere with lipid elongation and permanently impair formation of normal myelin.

Uro-Genital

Urinary Stress/Urge Incontinence

Flax seed oil at 1 Tablespoon per day is sometimes recommended because it can reduce inflammation contributing to an overactive bladder.

Recommendations for EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement:

Nutrient

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KEY

Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of; sometimes leads to
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of; sometimes leads to
Strong or generally accepted link: often suggests; often increases risk of
Strong or generally accepted link:
often suggests; often increases risk of
Definite or direct link: increases risk of; suggests
Definite or direct link:
increases risk of; suggests
Strong counter-indication: often decreases risk of
Strong counter-indication:
often decreases risk of
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates: decreases risk of
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates:
decreases risk of
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for