As people age, systemic inflammation can inflict degenerative effects throughout the body. A primary cause of this destructive cascade is the production of cell-signaling chemicals known as inflammatory cytokines. Along with these dangerous cytokines, imbalances of hormone-like messengers called prostaglandins also contribute to inflammatory processes.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs)
The body needs fatty acids to survive and is able to make all but two of them: linoleic acid (LA), in the omega-6 family and alphalinolenic acid (ALA), in the omega-3 family. These two fatty acids must be supplied by the diet and are therefore considered essential fatty acids (EFAs). Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish (and fish oil), and perilla and flaxseed oils, can be part of a healthy diet. Omega-3 oils contain the essential fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are usually lacking in the typical Western diet that includes high amounts of omega-6 fats. EPA and DHA can be synthesized from ALA, but EPA and DHA synthesis may be insufficient under certain conditions.
While the polyunsaturated fats known as omega-6 fatty acids are essential to optimal health, most Americans and citizens of other Western nations consume far too many omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and not enough omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In fact, some Western diets consists of 20 parts of omega-6 to only one part of omega-3. For optimum health, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids should be between 1:1 and 4:1. This severe imbalance that occurs with most people contributes to the development of long-term health problems.
Studies associate the Mediterranean diet, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, olive oil, and antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and herbs, with lowered cardiovascular risk and increased life span. Other studies support omega-3’s importance in cardiovascular health. In fact, the FDA states that supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Flaxseed oil, derived from the seeds of the flax plant, has been a well-established source of essential fatty acids for centuries. It is an especially rich source of the omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is in short supply in most other seed oils. This is a cold-extracted, unrefined organic product of Omega Nutrition.
Those taking anticoagulant drugs like Coumadin® (warfarin) should inform their doctor that they are taking GLA, EPA, or DHA supplements, as the physician may want to adjust the dose of anticoagulant medication based on tests that measure coagulation factors such as template bleeding time.
Since GLA, EPA, and DHA interfere with blood clotting, those who suffer from any type of hemorrhagic disease related to excessive bleeding or blood vessel leakage should consult their physician before supplementing these fatty acids.