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Dietary Oils

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)
Fish Oils
Many diets are deficient in essential fatty acids (EFA). These fats are necessary for many bodily functions and cannot be made by the body, so they must come from your diet. The two essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). Besides alpha linolenic acid, there are other omega-3 fatty acids that are very beneficial to your health.

Cold water fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and trout are good sources of eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) . EPA and DHA are needed by human organs - especially useful to the brain. Although your body can manufacture these oils from the essential fatty acids, sometimes the conversion process does not work optimally, so it is beneficial to supplement your diet with these oils directly.

  • Fish Oil is rich in EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids
Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Monounsaturated Oils

Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) is an unusual fatty acid that is rare to find in foods in significant amounts. Pure chicken fat has 21 mg in 3.5 ounces, while the same size of lean chicken meat has only 3.8 mg.

GLA in the skin gets converted to Dihomo-Gamma-Linolenic Acid (DGLA). DGLA in the skin makes a powerful eicosanoid (15-OH-DGLA) that has strong anti-inflammatory properties and reduces many of the symptoms of dry, flaky skin.

David Horrobin, who has published dozens of research articles on GLA in both humans and animals, estimates daily GLA production rates of 250 - 1000 mg in humans - the higher end is most likely for children. With a 50% loss by age 60, this suggests supplementation on the order of 125 - 250 mg per day. GLA supplementation for atopic dermatitis, where a defect in delta-6 desaturase (D6D) activity is believed to create the disorder, have typically utilized 300 - 400 mg per day in order to supply an approximate day's supply. In studies with post viral fatigue, GLA doses were about 300 mg per day and required about 3 months to have an effect.

Some cases of alcoholism (especially in younger men) are due to low levels of Prostaglandin E1 (PGE1). PGE1 is one of the "good" eicosanoids. Alcohol appears to promote the formation of PGE1. DGLA is the essential fatty acid that PGE1 is made from. So low PGE1 levels indicate a depletion of DGLA. Low PGE1 levels causes more need for alcohol to increase the amounts of PGE1 and the alcohol craving process begins. GLA is converted into DGLA very easily. So, taking GLA will increase levels of DGLA which form PGE1. This leads to a more appropriate level of PGE1 in the absence of alcohol potentially resulting in fewer cravings. In one study of alcoholics, 160 mg of GLA per day was ineffective, but double that amount was effective. However, not all cases of alcoholism are related to low PGE1 levels.

GLA is an acceptable form of therapy in England for several mild conditions including atopic dermatitis and cyclic breast pain. In this country, many women take GLA for menstrual discomfort.

Monounsaturated oils are beneficial to our HDL/LDL ratio ("good" vs. "bad" cholesterol).  Shelf life after opening is about twelve months without refrigeration.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) fats are saturated fats that are very useful on low carb, or ketogenic, diets since MCT's are more quickly converted to ketones than other fats. MCT oil does not need bile to emulsify them like other dietary fats, so the fat is available to the blood stream to be used as energy more quickly. This can improve your energy levels when you experience low blood glucose levels from lack of carbohydrates. MCT's do not affect insulin sensitivity as other saturated fats do. Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a previously unrecognized nutrient that occurs naturally in wide variety of food, and particularly in beef and dairy products. In more than 17 years of research, CLA has been shown to be an anticarcinogen in several animal models, reduce the adverse catabolic effects induced by immune stimulation in rats, mice and chickens, enhance growth performance in rats and inhibit plaque formation in rabbits fed an atherogenic diet at least in part via changes in lipoprotein metabolism. In the last several years, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and elsewhere have begun to study CLA’s affect on metabolism, energy retention and balance between body fat and lean body mass.

Our food supply contains fats in various forms. We believe too many nutritionists and health care professionals are oversimplifying this issue by lumping all fats together and telling you to reduce your total fat consumption.  Some fats are good for you. Some are bad. We think many people need to increase consumption of the good fats and reduce consumption of the bad fats.

You might be asking: "Why should I add fat to my diet when everything I hear tells me to reduce my fat intake? I eat enough fat - why would I want to buy fat supplements?"

Well, we don't recommend that you add more fat to your diet if you are already getting 30% or more of your calories from fat, but you can make a big difference in your health if you can replace many of the "bad" fats with these "good" fats. If you are not getting 30% of your calories from fat, you most certainly can benefit by adding some of these oils to your diet.

There are three basic categories of dietary fats, well really four if you count trans fatty acids, which we'll explain in just a moment. Fats in their original form are made up of some combination of saturated and unsaturated fats. The unsaturated fats are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

We've all heard the horror stories about the saturated fats that exist in beef, pork, hard cheeses, and other dairy products. Excessive saturated fat consumption is generally considered to be bad because it is more difficult to breakdown by the body leading to a greater insulin secretion than other fats induce. When consumed with a moderate to high carbohydrate diet, saturated fats can cause blood platelets to become "sticky" which may lead to a build up of plaque in the arteries. These two effects of dietary saturated fat have lead nutritionists to recommend that they be limited in consumption.

Many nutritionists suggest that you get most of your dietary fat from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat sources. The most important of the polyunsaturated fats are the two essential fatty acids, alpha linolenic acid and linoleic acid. Monounsaturated fats are the most benign of the fat sources and are generally considered to not cause disease or other health problems. Macadamia nut oil is one of the best sources of monounsaturated fats. It is about 79% monounsaturated (about 60% oleic acid and 20% palmitoleic acid). Extra virgin olive oil is good also at around 74% (mostly oleic acid). Canola oil is at about 59%, yet also contains a good amount of alpha linolenic acid. Peanuts and peanut oil are also relatively healthy because the fats they contain are mostly monounsaturated and they are very economical. See our Food Nutrients web page for more information on specific nuts, nut oils, vegetable oils and other foods.

Fatty acids exist in different structures in that the double bonds may have one of two forms; cis and trans. The cis form is the natural structure of the fatty acid. Many oils undergo processing (heating and/or hydrogenation), which creates the trans fatty acid structure form. Hydrogenation is performed by a process of adding an extra hydrogen molecule to the original structure. These processes allow an oil to last longer on the store shelves (many store bought vegetable oils) or it will become solid at room temperature (margarine, shortening). So, although their original form was that of an unsaturated fat, they have been modified to act like a saturated fat. These trans fatty acids should be avoided since research has shown their effects to be as bad or worse than naturally saturated fats in the body. Many commercial products contain hydrogenated oils such as cookies, potato chips, peanut butter, and many other products you find in your grocery store and vending machines.

So, to optimize your overall health, we recommend that you consume more monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, especially the essential fatty acids. To make room for these fats in your diet, you should decrease your consumption of saturated fats.

Above are several of the dietary fats that we offer in oil form so that you can use these important "good" fats to make your eating more healthy.

One last comment on the importance of fat in the diet for those of you who might still be saying "I'm a bodybuilder and eating fat will only make me fat!" even though thousands of people are experiencing great body fat loss on moderate fat diets like the Zone diet. Well, a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology (Volek, JS et. al. 1997. 82(1): 49-54) found a significant correlation between testosterone production and total energy from fat (r = +0.72 correlation), saturated fat (+0.77), and monounsaturated fat (+0.79). This says that as fat consumption increased, so did testosterone production. This study compared a low fat diet (18%) vs. a high fat (41%) diet. Since hormones like testosterone are created from cholesterol, it seems reasonable that a very low fat diet may impair testosterone production.

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