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The Science of EFA | Health From The Sun

The Science of EFA

Frequently Asked Questions About

EFA's & Nutrition / EFA's & Medical Conditons / EFA's & Dietary Fat / EFA's & Cell Function


Metabolism of Essential Fatty Acids

EFAs get converted by enzymes through various steps (metabolic conversion) to Prostaglandins. Prostaglandins work much like hormones do to help cells maintain normal functioning. They appear to be involved with just about every body function from blood pressure and clotting to fat metabolism, inflammation and brain function. A Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded in the early 1980s for their discovery.
The Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids form different Prostaglandins with different activities (Prostaglandin Series 1, 2 and 3 above). Because they compete for the same enzymes, a proper balance in the diet of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids is important for maintaining good health.


Fatty Acid composition of different seed & fish oils

1) Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) is rare, with Borage Oil having the highest amount at 24%.
2) Linoleic Acid is common in all of these oils. However, only 5-10% of the Linoleic Acid is converted to GLA due to blockage by poor
diet, stress, aging, alcohol, etc. Therefore, direct sources of GLA are preferable.
3) Alpha-Linolenic Acid is rare. Flax and Perilla have the highest amount (55%) and Hemp Oil the second highest (19%)
4) Black Currant Oil and Hemp Oil are the most balanced oils, with Black Currant Oil having more GLA and Hemp Oil more Omega-3.
Vegetable oils do not contain Omega-3 EPA and DHA. These fatty acids are found in fish oils.




Large variability in omega-3 content may exist amongst fish species depending on the waters they come from, wild or farmed, etc.