With a passion for natural, evidence-based medicine and a degree in Health Science under her belt, we asked naturopath and nutritionist Ema Taylor to give us the rundown on the health-boosting benefits of essential fatty acids...
What Are Essential Fatty Acids?
“Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are fatty acids that the human body cannot make and therefore must be obtained from the food you eat. EFAs include linoleic acid (omega-6 group) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 group) and play an important role in the body's structural and metabolic functions, including brain and nervous system health, hormone production, cardiovascular health, skin integrity and so much more.”
Are You Able to Break down the Benefits of Omegas 3, 6, 7 & 9s?
“Omega-3s are critical for the skin’s function and appearance and have been shown to reduce the occurrence of acne, reduce inflammation, support wound healing and even attenuate UV-induced skin ageing and damage. They also encourage short-chain fatty acid production in the digestive system, which strengthens the gut lining and provides a source of food to stomach cells. They’ve been shown to promote the proliferation of beneficial bacteria and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the digestive tract, too. Finally, they play a role in the function of the brain-gut axis, which supports a balanced mood.
Omega-6s play a critical role in skin appearance, texture and function. They’re fundamental for the skin’s structural integrity and barrier function, and also help to reduce inflammation and skin sensitivity.
Omega-7s have been found to reduce skin hyperpigmentation and improve the hydration and structure of the mucous membranes that reside in the skin and digestive tract. They also help to relieve ulcers and gastritis. And finally, omega-9s boast anti-inflammatory benefits.”
What Are the Benefits of Mixing Omegas 3, 6, 7 & 9?
“Consuming a blend of omegas ensures that you’re hitting your required daily limit of these fundamental fats that are essential for your health.”
Why Would We Consider Taking OMEGA ELIXIR over a Regular Fish Oil?
“OMEGA ELIXIR contains omega 3, 6, 7 & 9, while a regular fish oil contains omega 3s.”
How Do You Know If You’re Not Digesting Healthy Fats Properly, and What Can You Do about It?
“Some symptoms associated with fat malabsorption are steatorrhea (fatty, oily, pale stools), nausea after a high-fat meal, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating. I recommend having proper testing to assess how well you are absorbing fats, which can be done with a stool test from your naturopath or doctor.
To improve fat maldigestion:
Take digestive enzymes, particularly lipase which helps break down fat.
Slow down your eating and chew your food properly.
Eat in a relaxed manner to encourage correct digestion.
Support your liver and gallbladder function to support fat digestion. Reduce alcohol and increase bitter foods such as rocket, dandelion greens, apple cider vinegar and dandelion root tea.
Ensure you’re getting individualised care by your health practitioner––everyone is unique and there may be something underlying, such as a bacteria imbalance, that’s leading to digestive issues.”
More Generally Speaking, Are There Three Things Everyone Could Be Doing to Help Promote Healthy, Glowing Skin from the Inside Out?
“Drink three litres of filtered water per day, increase your intake of organic vegetables to three cups per day and aim to have eight hours of quality sleep per night.”
Got a burning question that you’d like to ask an expert? Let us know in the comments!