As most of you know, I usually like to trumpet the immense value of eating mostly unprocessed foods. I like to avoid sugar and keep it fairly low-carb as well. But sometimes it can be difficult to get every single bit of the nutrients we need to keep our bodies humming along perfectly from our diets alone.
In the fitness world supplements are a pretty big deal. I’m sure lots of you know a gym rat or two who have whole cabinets devoted to shelves of tubs and bottles. You may hear people talking about everything from protein powder to pre-workout stimulants to BCAA’s to creatine. And depending on who you are and how you train, those things and other supplements may or may not be helpful and/or healthful to you.
People often ask me about supplements; what do I take? What do I recommend? I personally use protein powder and take an essential fatty acids supplement. Protein powder is no mystery. It can be hard to get all the protein you need from food alone when you’re an athlete that trains daily. Protein powder is convenient and tasty and helps me build and retain muscle, along with helping me feel full and satisfied. I also have a special Pre-Workout Protein Blend with Botanical Fat Burner in my own supplement line, that I ‘ve been using for months already.
Essential fatty acids are something else all together and it’s mostly what I want to talk about today. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are acids that the body must have to function properly. It’s stuff you can’t live without! They affect all bodily systems and tissues. Deficiencies in EFAs can cause dry skin, eczema, anemia, hair loss, impaired wound healing, loose stools, and early death, among other symptoms.
EFAs are called essential because the body can’t function without them and the body can’t make them either. All EFA’s must be gotten from your diet alone. The two main EFAs are linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).
Ah, now there’s a familiar name. Many people feel like they’re on good terms with omega-3 fatty acids. That’s why we’re supposed to eat a bunch of salmon (salmon is the food with the highest amount of omega-3 EFAs) or take fish oil supplements. EFAs act as local hormones and have vital roles in inflammation, blood clotting, blood pressure, and contractions of the uterus. We’ve all heard that omega-3s are the good kind of fat.
So we should all be taking omega-3 supplements, right? But it turns out that just taking omega-3 supplements or eating a lot of fish doesn’t quite fill the bill. Unless you have omega-3 AND omega-6 EFAs, you might have a EFAs deficiency.
Unfortunately, the food highest in omega-6 EFAs is vegetable oil. And I don’t know about you but I’m not really up for drinking a shot or two of veg oil every day along with my fish dinner. Now, there are lots of other foods sources for omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs; nuts and seeds, poultry, cereal, grass-fed dairy, etc. But it can be hard to know how much you’re getting and in what ratio. Add in dietary restrictions or allergies (no dairy, no gluten, no meat) or the elimination of certain food groups because you’re trying to lose weight, and things can get really complicated.
That’s why I take an EFAs supplement. It has the appropriate ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs and adds no wasteful calories to my diet. I believe in them so strongly that I have had a formula developed for my own supplement line and actually sell them in my online store. Don’t get me wrong, I still love, eat, and recommend salmon and nuts and seeds and leafy greens and all that good stuff. But when I take my EFAs supplement I know I have all my bases completely covered. Tons of people are walking around with an EFAs deficiency and don’t even know it.
If you feel like something is off with your health and your diet is low in some of the food items mentioned above, I would highly recommend trying the EFAs supplement. I would actually recommend trying it anyway because EFAs are so crucial to your health and proper bodily function. It’s what I do and I wouldn’t recommend anything to you guys that I don’t do myself.
I’d love to hear from you all about your experiences with EFAs. Do you take any EFAs supplements? How does it affect your health and well being? DO you think supplements are bogus? As always, I’d love to know your thoughts.
In good health,