Essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) are responsible for the health of our skin, hair and nails but most people are deficient in these important nutrients. Salmon and tuna are healthy food choices that contain essential fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids deficiency relate to a variety of medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, inflammatory & auto-immune conditions andmental health conditions.
You might be surprised at some of the signs and symptoms of essential fatty acids deficiency:
- Dry skin
- Scaly or flaky skin
- Cracking/peeling fingertips & skin
- Lackluster skin
- Small bumps on back of upper arms
- Patchy dullness &/or color variation of skin
- Mixed oily and dry skinor combination skin
- Irregular quilted appearance of skin
- Thick or cracked calluses
- Dandruff or cradle cap
- Dry, lackluster, brittle or unruly hair
- Soft, fraying, splitting or brittle fingernails
- Dull nails – lack of surface shine
- Slow growing fingernails
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth/throat
- Inadequate vaginal lubrication
- Menstrual cramps
- Premenstrual breast pain/tenderness
- Excessive ear wax
- Excessive thirst
- Allergic (eczema/asthma/hay fever/hives)
- Crave fats/fatty foods
- Stiff or painful joints
Supplementing Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fats: When treating the deficiency, try either 6 grams of fish oil or 1 tablespoon of flax oil for six weeks and observe if any of the symptoms listed above change. If you notice a reduction in symptoms, then you are definitely headed in the right direction!
If symptoms have not improved, then you may need to add Omega-6 fats.
Omega-6 Fats: Approximately 10% of the population has an Omega-6 fatty acid deficiency. This deficiency is more common among those with allergies. If symptoms do not improve after treating with Omega-3, or if they feel worse after the Omega-3, Omega-6 is recommended.
Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in Evening Primrose Oil and this tends to be more effective.
An easier way to find out if you are deficient in essential fatty acids is to have a Red Blood Cell Fatty Acid Analysis blood test done. Your standard, conventional laboratories will not run this test, but there other laboratories that focus on integrative medicine who will do this. There are two labs in the United States that offer this service:
Never try any treatment without first consulting your physician.