EFA's - What YOU need to KNOW

Essential Fatty Acids - The Fats You Need to Consume!

EFA's - What YOU need to KNOW
Author Writter Image By: MuscleSports.net

Good dietary fata are an essential part of complete nutritional plan.

Consuming good dietary fat is any essential partof a healthy fitness orientated lifestyle, and more important, overall physical health. Fats can be broken down into two basic groups, saturated and unsaturated. More importantly, fats can be labeled as essential and nonessential. Essential Fatty Acids must be consumed through ones diet because the body cannot synthesis them. In this article, we will answer:

Let's get started!

The Essential Fatty Acids

Alpha linolenic acid (LNA) (omega-3) which can be converted into:

Linoleic acid (LA) (omega-6) which can be converted into:

What Do They Do?

  1. Energy Production
  2. Diffusion of oxygen into the bloodstream
  3. Hemoglobin production
  4. Vital for the transportation and metabolism of triglycerides and cholesterol
  5. Brain and nerve tissue development
  6. Control cell membrane fluids
  7. Lower high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  8. Stabilize insulin and blood sugar levels
  9. Treat arthritis
  10. Anti-inflammatory
  11. Ease PMS symptoms
  12. Decrease allergy response
  13. Strengthen immune system
  14. Reduce water retention
  15. Improved skin texture
  16. Alleviate psoriasis
  17. Calming effect and regulates mood [2]

No doubt, essential fatty acids are of extreme importance. There is more to them though.


Prostaglandins were first discovered and isolated from human semen in the 1930s by Ulf von Euler of Sweden. Thinking they had come from the prostate gland, he named them prostaglandins. It has since been determined that they exist and are synthesized in virtually every cell of the body.

Prostaglandins, are like hormones in that they act as chemical messengers, but do not move to other sites, but work right within the cells where they are synthesized. Prostagladins (PGs) are categorized into one of three groups, depending on which fatty acid they were metabolized from. The groups are, Series 1 PG’s, Series 2 PG’s, and Series 3 PG’s.

Series 1 PG’s

Series 1 PG’s are formed from Gamma linolenic acid (GLA), (Which is converted from LA). Series 1 PG’s are labeled as "Good" prostagladins. This is because they improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, among other cellular functions [3]. Perhaps the most crucial effect is preventing arachidonic acid (AA) from being released by cells. The reason why this is so important is because AA is what makes Series 2 PG’s.

Some of the main reasons why Series 1 PG’s are so important to bodybuilders and those concerned with their health are:

Series 2 PG’s

Series 2 PG’s are labeled as "Bad" prostagladins. As said eariler, Series 2 PG’s are made from arachidonic acid. They facilitate sodium retention, inflammation, and the formation of blood clots [3]. Series 2 PG’s also increase cortisol release, a very catabolic hormone. Anyone interesting in building muscle does not want this to happen.

Series 3 PG’s

Series 3 PG’s are made from EPA (Which is converted from LNA). Series 3 PG’s are "Good" PG’s because they also prevent the formation of Series 2 PG’s.

Series 2 PG’s are not totally bad though. They are needed to ensure a proper testosterone level. I wouldn’t stress too much on this. Your body is constantly working to keep everything balanced. Trying to get overly technical and predict the exact amount of fat needed to get the best of both worlds is impossible. As long as you a getting the needed essential fatty acids, you shouldn’t be too concerned with this.

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EFA Deficiency Syndromes

LA Deficiency Syndromes:

LNA Deficiency Syndromes:

How Much Should You Be Getting?

We see the importance of essential fatty acids. Now how much do we need. The general recommendation is a ratio of LA to LNA of 4:1 or 3:1. The reason for this ratio is the fact that LNA is metabolized four times quicker than LA. So for every one gram of LNA, you should consume three to four grams of LA. Also, most diets get ample amounts of LA, but very low amounts of LNA. There is not an established RDA for essential fatty acids.

Choosing The Right "Supplement" For You

As you begin to look at essential fatty acids supplements, oils, or foods you will notice that just about all of them have more LNA than LA. You remember that you should be getting a ratio of LA to LNA of 3-4:1, but do not be alarmed. As mentioned, you get a good amount of LA in your diet already. But because you need LNA in your diet, most companies’ supplements contain more LNA than LA.

Capsules Vs. Oil

One of the first things people look at when buying anything is the price. It is much more economical to buy an oil, such as flax seed, than to buy capsules. You get more EFAs this way. But, one thing you will notice is the oil’s taste. I for one actually like the way flax seed oil taste. It makes other people want to puke though. If you feel you do not want to taste your EFAs, I recommend buying capsules.

Capsules are also more convenient. Just throw one in your mouth and wash it down with water. You can also easily take capsules with you one the go. You have to figure out how much money you have to spend, the need for convenience, and you personal preference for taste.

One thing to keep in mind is that you can get all your EFA needs through food. Here is a short list of some foods that contain EFAs.

Where To find them Naturally

Omega 3:

Omega 6:

You can sprinkle flax seeds in your cereal or salads, eat fish, or grab a handful of walnuts to get your EFAs.

So what it comes down to is choosing what is best for you. The important thing is that you get those essential fatty acids and live a healthy life.

Conclusion - Fats are one of the two essential nutrients we as humans need to be healthy (the other is protein). Quality fat in your dietary plans ensures a health hormonal balance inside your body which is critical for optimum performance inside the gym and out. Be sure to include healthy fats in your diet, be it through supplementation or health eating.

Bodybuilding Supplement Benefits

Daily Usage

Daily Usage

General Health

General Health

Improved Cardio

Improved Cardio

Anti- Aging

Anti- Aging

Average Usage: 1-2 Gel Capsules or 1 Tablespoon 1-2 times a day for general use, As most manufacture sizes varies usually between 800mg - 1500mg per 2 gel caps / 1 tblsp. Always give you oil a good smell before using, is should smell plesant and somewhat fruity. It it doesn't and has a harsh rancid smell send it back it is past its time.

Affordability: Ranges form medium-low to medium-high, always buy pure forms of EFAs either gel capsule or liquid form. Look for reputable manufactures. Avoid sales form companies you don't know or can't find much about. These types of sales are almost always not of good quality or are selling older oils that have lost their potency.

Tags: Supplements General Health Whole Foods

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