The term EFA stands for essential fatty acids. What makes them so important? Firstly, the word essential means they are vital to our health. Secondly, they cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be obtained directly from our diet. We need fats, but we need to consume the right kinds!

There are 2 main types of essential fatty acids: Omega 3’s (O3) and Omega 6’s (O6).
O3’s help to block allergies, and are potent anti-inflammatories. Some sources include sardines, flax, hemp, walnut, pumpkin, black currant oil, salmon, mackerel and anchovy. O6’s also block allergies and are anti-inflammatory. Sources containing them include sunflower, safflower, sesame, hemp, soy bean, evening primrose oil and borage oil. However, consuming too many O6’s causes the body to convert them to another fatty acid -> Omega 9’s (O9). O9’s are not essential, and in excess, promote allergy and are pro-inflammatory. Sources of O9’s include meat, dairy, olive, peanut and almond. Some of these are also known as saturated fats.

What functions do EFAs have? Several functions include: energy production, oxygen utilization, hemoglobin production, growth, fatigue recovery, brain development and skin health. In addition, O3’s can help reduce inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol, water retention, blood platelet stickiness, and improve immune function.

Currently in today’s society, we consume too many O9’s and O6’s and not enough O3’s. In fact, about at least 60% of us are deficient in essential nutrients.

So how much do we need to consume? Our ‘essential’ fat requirements should be approximately 25% of our total daily dietary intake. Ideally, our ratio of O3’s to O6’s should be close to 1:1. These amounts can vary according to one’s health, stress, age, activity level, etc.

How do you know if you’re deficient? Some symptoms of O3 deficiency include, weakness, dry skin, high blood pressure, tingling sensations in arms and legs, impaired learning ability, mental deterioration. Symptoms of O6 deficiency may include: eczema, hair loss, heart and circulatory problems, poor wound healing and arthritis-like symptoms.

What affects EFAs?
Heat, oxygen and light destroy EFAs making them rancid. In addition, these items help promote the production of free radicals. When purchasing EFAs, store them in the freezer prior to use. Once opened, you can keep them in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Buy organic, cold pressed and unrefined oils and look for them in dark bottles in the refrigerated section. Avoid all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils/fats as they become trans-fats, which are more damaging than saturated fats to the body. In fact they are only one molecule away from plastic.

What if I’m already consuming enough EFAs? It may be possible that you are intolerant to them. In this case, no matter how much you consume, your body will not be able to process them properly. We can test for intolerances to these EFAs and then help to clear you of these deficiency symptoms. For more detailed information, please visit www.noallergiesplease.com.


  • Refined sugars create cardiovascular problems since the body converts excesses to bad saturated fats.
  • An O3 deficiency can be reversed by consuming 12 – 250ml bottles of flax oil over several months.
  • Exclusive use of flax oil over a 1½ to 2 year period may result in symptoms of an O6 deficiency.
  • Deficiency of Vitamins B, C, Magnesium and Zinc can also result in symptoms of EFA deficiency.

Christine and John Ng

Category: Alternative Therapy
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One Response to “What are EFAs?”

Bambi Gehred June 20, 2013

Some people use evening primrose oil for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); asthma; nerve damage related to diabetes; an itching disorder called neurodermatitis; hyperactivity in children and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); obesity and weight loss; whooping cough; and gastrointestinal disorders including ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and peptic ulcer disease.`:^;

Catch ya later