ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (EFAs) ARE JUST THAT - ESSENTIAL!
The brain consists of lipids - that is, fats - that the body cannot manufacture and
can only obtain through the food we eat. Generally we eat too many foods containing
saturated fats, such as meat and dairy products and also margarine, which, though
made with sunflower and other vegetable oils is high in saturated fats. EFAs, which
are literally essential to life, are available in nuts, plants and seeds, and fish,
especially oily or "blue" fish. Evening Primsose Oil, Linseed Oil and Fish Oil are
all high in EFAs.
In order for the body to be able make use of the EFAs, we also have to make sure
we obtain adequate quantities of certain vitamins and minerals from the food we eat.
These vitamins and minerals - Zinc, B&, B3 Magnesium and Vitamin C - act as co-factors
in the metabolsim of EFAs.
OMEGA 3 (Fish Oil) and OMEGA 6 (Evening Primrose Oil) for ADHD
Research carried out in the UK and USA in the early eighties showed that fish oil
(containing EFAs EPA and DHA ) and EPO (containing Omega 6 fatty acids) are of vital
importance to the functioning of the brain. The HACSG, as early as 1980, undertook
its own research into the links between hyperactivity and EFA deficiency based on
a detailed survey of the characteristics of many of the hyperactive children and
their families with which it was working. The HACSG came to the conclusion that many
ADHD children have a deficiency of EFAs, either because they cannot metabolise linoleic
acid correctly, or because they cannot absorb EFAs from the gut, or their EFA requirements
are higher than would normally be the case. The HACSG was the first to propose that
fatty acid deficiency could be a factor in ADHD. The findings of this research were
published in 1981, A Lack of EFAs as a possible cause of hyperactivity in children
(Medical Hypotheses, 7(5), 1981, Irene Colquhoun & Sally Bunday). The Colquhoun/Bunday
hypotheses stimulated further experimental studies and treatment trials which have
generally supported the theory. Further information on the role of EFAs and co-factors
is available in our special booklet ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS, VITAMINS & MINERALS and
their role in ADHD/Hyperactivity - please send 4 x 1st Class Stamps.
Research is ongoing throughout the world into the links between essential fatty acids,
nutrition and behavioural disorder. Research carried out, for example, with British
and US offenders suggests nutritional deficiences play a strong role in aggressive
behaviour. A prison trial at Aylesbury in the UK showed that when men were fed multivitamins,
minerals and EFAs, the level of violent offenses committed in prison fell by some
37%. While no one suggests that an improvement in nutrition is the cure-all for complex
social ills, evidence strongly suggests a link between diet and behaviour. One US
researcher into the effects of Omega-3 on the brain believes that modern industrialised
diets may be changing "the architecture and functioning of the brain". Deficiency
in the essential fats the brain
needs and the nutrients needed to metabolise these fats, is leading to increases
in mental problems from depression to aggression. In the past 100 years western diets
have undergone a shift in which the omega-3 fatty acids, essential to brain function,
have been overwhelmed by competing omega-6 fatty acids. These come mainly from the
industrial preparation of takeaways, ready meals and snack foods which have become
staple parts of the diet for many families.
For information on symptoms of Essential Fatty Acid deficiency contact Sally Bunday.