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Omega 3 & 6 are essential fatty acids in the blood, (essential because the body canot make them and therefore must consume them from an external food source).
They are healing fats, necessary to maintain good health in the body.
They are both polyunsaturated fats and Omega 3 is sometimes referred to as a Superunsaturated fat.
Omega 3 has 3 double bonds in its chemical structure and Omega 6 has 2 double bonds in its make up. Double bonds in essential fatty acids give a slight negative charge and repel one another and tend to spread out over surfaces and tend to be anti-sticky. The more double bonds there are the greater their tendancy to disperse, not aggregate like saturated fatty acids.
These properties of EFA’s help provide the fluidity needed in cell membranes and allows molecules within our membranes the freedom to swim and interact with each other and fulfill important chemical and transport functions. These functions of Essential Fatty Acids give biological systems the power to carry substances such as toxins to the surface of the skin, intestinal tract, kidneys or lungs where these substances can be discarded.
Essential Fatty Acids attract oxygen. They increase oxidation and metabolic rate in our body. Our body uses Omega 3 and 6 to construct membranes around our cells which help to absorb shock and provide insulation. Flax oil containing both Omega 3 and 6 is chemically more active, they contain more double bonds in an equal number of oil molecules than most other nutritional oils. EFA’s also absorb sunlight.
When the body has sufficient quantities of Omega 3 and 6 it can make Omega 9 itself.
The body converts Essential Fatty Acids into more highly unsaturated derivatives which have important functions in brain cells, nerve endings, sense organs, adrenal glands, sex glands and all cells. The body uses some of these derivatives to make prostaglandins which have hormone like regulation and communicating functions in our cells. They are extremely important to health.
The goodness in the oil is only available to the body when the oil is used cold or at body temperature. When the EFA’s are heated during cooking their molecular structure is changed and would have the opposite effect in the body.