The riddle of Essential Fatty Acids of our cell membranes
As mentioned last time about one third of the lipids in membranes are essential fatty acids, EFAs. This means nothing short that we cannot build them ourselves but need to eat them on a regular basis.
Base Essential fatty acids
The base fatty acid of the omega 6 family is linoleic acid. We find it in ample amounts in the old style sunflower and safflower oils and in hempseed oil. (not in the new stylish “high oleic acid sunflower/safflower breeds).
The base fatty acid of the omega 3 family is alpha-linolenic acid, found in linseed/flax oil or hempseed oil.
The optimum ratio of linoleic to alpha linolenic acid should be 4:1. This is almost given in the hempseed oil or you mix about 7 parts sunflower oil with 4 parts linseed oil. This knowledge catapults you to the forefront of healthy ageing and regeneration.
The 4:1 ratio relates only to the base fatty acids, this is important to note.
Higher unsaturated EFAs
In little amounts but nevertheless the higher unsaturated EFA are needed from both omega families.
Omega 6: Primrose oil gives GLA, omega 6, and eggs and meat fat Arachidonic acid, AA. This one has 4 double bonds!
Omega 3: the most important and well known are EPA and DHA. You find them in fatty fish and some algae, good to know if you are vegetarian. EPA has 5 double bonds and DHA has 6 double bonds.
So what is the story about these double bonds?
Each double bond makes the molecule move. The more double bonds the higher active and swinging is the fatty acid tail at all double bond sites. Each double bond is vulnerable and can be “opened” by light, air and warmth, that means it can be altered and the healthy structure can be destroyed.
In order to have the nourishing and regenerating and healing effects of the fatty acids in the edible oils they need to meet strict criteria: temperature while pressing should not exceed much body temperature, the oil has to be put in dark glass bottles or specific phthalate free (BPA free) plastic bottle best and has to be protected from air and warmth. That means the biological seeds need to be pressed in knowledgeable oil mills, ordered and shipped a.s.a.p. and put into the fridge or freezer upon arriving.
Now which oils are actually supporting health and provide these magical EFAs?
Hemp oil has about 3:1 to 4:1 ratio and is an ok choice. Otherwise mix 7,5 parts of sunflower or safflower oil (high linoleic acid!) with 3 parts of linseed or flax oil, this will make the right ratio. 3 times 1 tablespoon into each meal daily, do not spoon feed.
For the higher value FA have primrose oil or capsules for GLA and some eggs and grass fed butter daily if tolerated for AA.
For the EPA and DHA support once or twice a week a serving of small fatty white fish or wild Alaskan salmon will do.
In specific health conditions other amounts will apply.
To your best.