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Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids

“The Good Fats”


The “good fats” and “healing fats” are the fats that we must obtain in order to be healthy. The key components of healing fats are the essential fatty acids. There are several different families of fatty acids but only two of these families are considered essential because the body must have them, but cannot make them. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) must come from foods. EFAs play a critical role in the proper functioning of almost all of the major systems in the body


Essential Fatty Acid Families

Superunsaturated Omega 3 Family – Alpha-linolenic Acid

Polyunsaturated Omega 6 Family – Linoleic Acid

Even though both of these fatty acids are considered essential in the diet and we (pets and people) can’t live without them, it is also critical that they are consumed in a properly balanced ratio. This ratio should be around 2:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. However, experts agree that the diets of both people and pets are providing an excessive amount of Omega 6 (LA) and little, if any, Omega 3. An imbalance as great as 20:1 is extremely common with the high consumption of overly-processed foods and very little whole, raw and fresh foods being incorporated into the modern diet. This imbalance has been proven to be a factor in most of the degenerative diseases that are common in our pets today.  By adding a high quality source of Omega 3 to the diet, we can prevent or alleviate many of these diseases.


There are two basic sources of Omega 3 essential fatty acids:

a)         Plant based sources, such as flax seed, hemp seed, soybeans, walnuts, etc. (Sources of ALA)

b)         Cold water fish oils. (Richest source of EPA and DHA)

Plant sources contain the parent omega 3 essential fatty acid, Alpha-linolenic acid ( ALA). But the body cannot directly utilize ALA.   The ALA must be converted in the body to the biologically-available forms of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) in order to perform most of their critical functions. The body requires approximately 10 units of ALA to produce 1 unit of EPA. This conversion can be difficult or impossible for some older animals or those with degenerative conditions and weakened immune systems. Unfortunately these are the animals that need the essential fatty acids the most. Taking into consideration this conversion factor, it becomes necessary to consume a lot more of the plant sources in order to get the required daily allowance. If palatability is low, this can be extremely challenging.

O3 graph

On the other hand, cold water fish oils are a readily available abundant source of both EPA and DHA, eliminating the need for this conversion in the body. Fish oils also tend to be a much more palatable source for animals. Both dogs and cats absolutely love the taste, which makes it easy and enjoyable to administer.


Omega 3 Fish Oil is the richest biologically-available source of EPA and DHA!


Essential Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acid family

Omega 6 fatty acid family

Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA)

Linoleic Acid (LA)

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)

Dihomogamma-linolenic Acid (DGLA)

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Arachidonic Acid (AA)

Series 3 Prostaglandins

Series 1 & 2 Prostaglandins


Essential Fatty Acids and their derivatives serve a number of major vital functions in the body. They are required for the transport and metabolism of both cholesterol and triglycerides. They are required for normal brain development and brain function. They are required in visual function (retina), brain and nerve function (synapses), and adrenal function. They are required in the structure of the membranes that surround each cell in our body. They stimulate metabolism, increase metabolic rate, increase oxygen uptake, and increase energy production. They slow down growth of cancer cells.


EPA (from fish oil) also converts to series 3 prostaglandins, which have many benefits. Series 3 prostaglandins regulate inflammatory responses (Skin and Joint). They regulate immune function, which can help in fighting disease more effectively. They regulate platelet stickiness and arterial muscle tone, which helps to regulate blood pressure.


The series 1 & 2 prostaglandins have the exact opposite effect on the body as the series 3. They stimulate inflammation, constrict the arteries, make platelets stickier, and inhibit immune response. That is the reason why a properly balanced ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is so critical. In essence they keep each other in check.


In conclusion, the lack of Omega 3 and the excessive amount of Omega 6 in the modern diet ultimately create degenerative conditions. The store-bought processed foods still do not supply an adequate amount of Omega 3 to properly balance the ratio. Many nutritional supplements are still promoting and loading up the Omega 6 (LA) fatty acids -exacerbating an already severely imbalanced and unhealthy situation. The best solution to insure our pet’s health is to provide a high quality Omega 3 Fish oil supplement along with a premium food.

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