Essential Nutritional Categories: towards an understanding of which nutritional supplements should be taken, how many and for how long. Part Three
2. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs):
In biochemistry a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid or organic acid with a long aliphatic tail, either saturated or unsaturated. Most of the natural fatty acids have an even number of carbon atoms, because they are made up of acetate which has two carbon atoms.
- Omega-3 or Alpha-Linolenic Acid (LNA) is an essential fatty acid (EFA), which means that it is essential to human health and cannot be manufactured by the body. For this reason, Omega 3 fatty acids must be obtained from food. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fish and certain plant oils.
- Omega 6 or Linoleic Acid (LA) is an EFA and cannot be made by humans and is considered essential in the diet. Omega 6 is found in cereals, eggs, poultry, oils, whole-grain breads
- Omega-9 or Oleic Acid is essential but technically not an EFA, because the human body can manufacture a limited amount, provided the essential LNA and LA EFAs are present. Oleic acid lowers heart attack risk and arteriosclerosis, and aids in prevention of numerous health issues. It is found in olive oil (virgin cold pressed), olives, avocados, almonds, peanuts, sesame oil, pecans, pistachio nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.
It is important to maintain a balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 in the diet as these two fatty acids work together to promote health. It should be noted that we get far more Omega 6 in our diets.
3. Amino Acids:
There are 22 known amino acids of which eight are essential. Amino acids have been called the “building blocks” of the body. They help in building cells and repairing tissue. In addition, they form antibodies to combat invading bacteria and viruses. They carry oxygen throughout the body and participate in muscle activity.
The eight essential are:
- Isoleucine provides elements required for the manufacturing of essential biochemical components in the body, which are utilized for the production of energy and stimulants to the upper brain and helps one to be mentally more alert. They can be found in eggs, fish, lentils, poultry, beef, seeds, soy, wheat, almonds and dairy
- Leucine also provide ingredients for the manufacturing of essential biochemical components in the body, which are utilized for the production of energy, stimulants to the upper brain and also helps one to be mentally alert. They can be found in cottage cheese, sesame seeds, peanuts, dry lentils, chicken, and fish
- Lysine insures the adequate absorption of calcium and helps form collagen which makes up bone cartilage and connective tissues and aids in the production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes. They can be found in food sources such as green beans, lentils, soybean, spinach and amaranth
- Methionine is a principle supplier of sulfur which prevents disorders of the hair, skin and nails. It helps lower cholesterol levels by increasing the liver’s production of lecithin, reduces liver fat and protects the kidneys. They are found in fish, whole grains, and dairy
- Phenylalanine is used by the brain to produce Norepinephrine, a chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells and the brain; keeps you awake and alert. It reduces hunger pains, functions as an antidepressant and improves the memory. This is found in dairy products, almonds, avocados, lima beans, peanuts, and seeds
- Threonine is an important component of collagen and of enamel protein. It helps prevents fat build-up in the liver. It also helps the digestive intestinal tracts function more smoothly, assists metabolism assimilation. This is found in dairy products, beef, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds
- Tryptophan is a natural relaxant and helps ease insomnia by inducing normal sleep. It reduces anxiety and depression; helps in the treatment of migraine headaches. It is known to help reduce the risk of artery and heart spasms and works with Lysine in reducing cholesterol levels and is plentiful in chocolate, oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, cottage cheese, meat, fish, turkey and peanuts
- Valine promotes mental vigor, muscle coordination and calms emotions and is found in dairy products, grain, meat, mushrooms, peanuts, and soy proteins
We get most of the amino acids from food. If we are lacking any of the essential ones, they must be supplied through supplementation. The others are non-essential, which means they can be manufactured by the body with proper nutritional intake. Remember that the adding of a polysaccharide (chain of sugars) to a polypeptide (chain of amino acids) is essential to make a glycoprotein. Monosaccharides and amino acids are without question vital for optimal health.
Amino Acid deficiency can be manifested as a weak immune system, fatigue, stomach acid or alkaline imbalance, dizziness and nausea, water retention, and infertility.
To Your Health,
Certified Wellness Consultant (DSHEA Certified) (Diplomat in Nutritional Education and Health)
Mr. Kettler is an ordained Presbyterian Elder and the owner of Undergroundnotes.com where his theological, philosophical and political articles can be read. He has worked in corporate America for over 30 years and is now realizing his dreams as a successful home business entrepreneur. Permission is hereby granted to reprint this article as long as my web site is retained in the biographical information. Mr. Kettler can be contacted by e-mail at: email@example.com