NUTRIENTS A-Z: Vitamin F
Vitamin F is not a vitamin in the traditional sense, but rather a term used for two fats — alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA). They are essential fatty acids (EFAs) and are required for regular body functions and are very important with regards to brain and heart health. They help build cell membranes and hormones and are incredibly important for the immune system.
They are labelled as essential because our bodies cannot make them. We must acquire them from dietary sources which include butter, olive oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, fish, eggs, poultry, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pecans. Avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower, soy, corn and sesame regardless of how naturally these oils may have been processed. They are chemically unstable and can break down in the body to produce excess levels of free radicals, which are causative factors in heart disease and cancer. Especially, avoid deep fried foods and rancid fats and oils of all kinds.
ALA is a member of the omega-3 essential fatty acid family, while LA belongs to the omega-6 family. Flax seed oil capsules are an excellent EFA supplement, especially if they are sealed in dark gelatin so that it is never exposed to the air.
Signs of EFA deficiency include:
- Rough, dry, flaky, or scaly sin
- Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis
- Dry or gritty feeling in eyes, dry tear ducts
- Dry, lifeless, or brittle hair, split ends
- Brittle or cracked nails
- Dry mouth, throat, mucous membranes
- Wounds or injuries heal slowly, poorly
- Bleeding gums, easy bruising
- Frequent colds, infections, sickness
- Depression, lack of motivation
- Forgetfulness, sort attention span
- FEMALE: Premenstrual syndrome
- FEMALE: Difficulty getting pregnant or carrying to term