- Essential fatty acids are components of cell membranes.
The membranes perform a variety of functions essential for life; they keep the cellular contents intacts, maintain each cell's shape and flexibility and control the passage of compounds in and out of each cell.
- They regulate the cholesterol metabolism and the blood clotting.
- They transport and help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).
- They are involved in the manufacture of prostaglandins. These substances play a role in a number of body functions including reproduction, hormone synthesis, immune function, inflammation, heart and lung functions...
- They are used for energy: each gram of fat is delivering 9 calories (as compared to protein and carbohydrate which only provide 4 calories per gram).
- They circulate constantly in the blood but a part of them is stored in adipose tissue.
The role of this reserve is important as it protects the body from the cold, cushions vital organs and is a source of energy ready to use.
- Essential fatty acids are found in high concentrations in the brain and are essential for normal nerve impulse transmission and brain function.
- DHA, which is produced from omega-3 fatty acid, is essential for normal development of eye function and vision in the growing fetus.
It can also prevent premature birth.
- They have been shown to have benefical effects in the treatment of psoriasis and other skin disorders.
- Omega 6 fatty acid may improve calcium absorption and reduce calcium excretion. It is benefical in treating and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Realized by Laurence LIVERNAIS-SAETTEL, dietetian
© Copyright L. Livernais-Saettel 2000
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