What are Fatty Acids?Similar to how amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, fatty acids are the building blocks of fat. Your body digests the fat you eat and breaks it down into fatty acids, which are then absorbed into your bloodstream. They make many of your body’s functions possible starting with energy storage. Your body usually burns sugar in the form of glucose for energy. However, whenever glucose is not available, your body burns fatty acids for energy instead.
The weight loss connectionThis burning of fatty acids is the same fat-burning you are aiming for when you you want to lose weight and when you exercise. In fact, burning fat for energy is not only preferable, but also healthier for your body.
Why are they called ‘Essential’ Fatty Acids (EFA's)?When fatty acids are referred to as ‘essential,’ it simply means that your body cannot produce them. Rather, they must be consumed through the food you eat as well as a supplement you may take. However, the EFA's—LA and ALA—have a few derivatives that may sound familiar to you. So these fatty acid derivatives can be considered as conditionally essential!
Omega-3 and Omega-6 EFA's… by nameThe Omega-3s
- Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) is the essential omega-3 EFA
- ALA derivatives include:
- Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) = best for brain health
- Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) = best for inflammation
- Linolenic Acid (LA) is the essential omega-6 EFA
- LA derivatives include:
- Arachidonic Acid (AA) = best for membrane flexibility and permeability
- Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) = best for inflammatory skin conditions