Did you know there are fatty acids that your body can not do without? Did you know these fatty acids were mislabeled and called a vitamin?
Vitamin F is not a vitamin in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, vitamin F is a term for two fats which are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA). These fatty acids are essential for regular body functions, including aspects of brain and heart health. Since your body is unable to make these fats, you must get them from your diet.
What is ALA?
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential member of the omega-3 fat family (which consists of Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)). Omega 3’s are necessary for normal human growth and development. ALA is most commonly used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, such as hardening of the arteries, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Additionally, omega-3 fats are renowned for their powerful health benefits, including their potential to fight depression, lower inflammation, and reduce markers of heart disease. Plus, one lesser-known perk is that they may benefit your skin and hair. A study of ALA with the skin determined that it may be able to do the following:
- Protect against sun damage
- Reduce Acne
- Guard against dry, red, or itchy skin
- Accelerate wound healing
- Reduce risk of skin cancer
- Boost hair growth and reduce hair loss
- Reduced symptoms of eczema & psoriasis
What is LA?
Linoleic acid (LA) is the member of the omega-6 family, accompanied with classes of essential fatty acids such as y-linoleic acid (GLA), dihomoylinolenic acid (DGLA) and arachidonic acid (AA). Linoleic acid itself plays a special role in support of heart health. Randomized clinical trials have shown that replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid reduces total and LDL cholesterol. There is also some evidence that linoleic acid improves insulin sensitivity and blood pressure.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found everywhere in the body. They help with the function of all cells. But too much omega-6 fatty acids can change the way cells react and have harmful effects on cells in the heart and blood vessels.
ALA and LA play the additional following crucial roles in the body:
- Serve as a calorie source. As fats, ALA and LA provide 9 calories per gram.
- Provide cell structure. ALA, LA, and other fats provide structure and flexibility to all cells in your body as a major component of their outer layer.
- Aid growth and development. ALA plays an important role in normal growth, vision, and brain development.
- Are converted to other fats. Your body converts ALA and LA into other fats needed for health.
- Help make signaling compounds. ALA and LA are used to make signaling compounds that help regulate blood pressure, blood clotting, immune system responses, and other major body functions.
- Maintaining the structure, flexibility, and fluidity of cell membranes
- Producing and storing energy
- Ensure normal growth and function of the brain and retina
- Regulating inflammatory processes
- Influencing neurotransmitter synthesis and signaling
- Preventing chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis
Vitamin F deficiency is rare. However, a lack of ALA and LA can lead to various symptoms, such as dry skin, hair loss, slow wound healing, poor growth in children, skin sores, scabs, brain and vision problem. To keep ourselves from having deficiencies in Vitamin F, we must eat the right foods!
So, what foods should we eat to make sure we are getting all the nutrition values that we need? Let’s peek at some food sources high in ALA and LA, that will sure to be beneficial:
Sources of ALA
Sources of LA
Here are some foods that are also high in Omega 3 and 6!
Sources of Omega 3
Sources of Omega 6
· Cod liver oil
· Safflower oil
· Hemp Seeds
· Sunflower Seeds
· Peanut butter
· Avocado oil
Lastly, extensive research indicates that applying ALA to the skin may help prevent wrinkles from developing. In an 2011 review there is also suggestions that LA may be a powerful anti-aging agent for the skin. As you continue to keep yourselves in great health, keep in mind all the things you will need to maintain your body operating at its best! Share this with family members and friends, so we can continue to spread the knowledge.