What Is Linoleic Acid?
Linoleic Acid is an omega 6 essential polyunsaturated fatty acid that forms the lipid component of all cell membranes in our body. Its deficiency can result in symptoms such as hair fall, dry hair, and poor wound healing.
Achieving a deficiency in linoleic acid is nearly impossible consuming any normal diet and is thus not considered to be of clinical concern.
However, access of linoleic acid or Omega 6 fatty acids in the body has its own side effects. Some of the common disorders associated with high Omega 6 percentage in the body are depression, attention deficiency disorder, weight gain, obesity, poor sleep patterns, cancers, arthritis, and breast cancer.
The problem is that the diet we intake is usually rich in Omega 6 fatty acids and low in Omega 3 fatty acids. This is one of the reasons for a steep increase in these lifestyle disorders.
To counter this problem, you need to consume a dietary supplement, such as Omega Daily that is rich in Omega 3 and helps in maintaining a balanced ratio between these essential fatty acids.
How Does Linoleic Acid Differ From Alpha-Linolenic Acid and Gamma-Linolenic Acid?
Some fatty acids are essential for the body which means that the body cannot fonction without them. Because the body cannot synthetize these two essential fatty acids, they must be provided by the food. They are essential for the health, and from them other essential fatty acid are made.
Linoleic Acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. It is biologically inactive before it is catalysed by our body into other omega-6 fatty acids: gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), dihomo-gamma linoleic acid (DHGLA) and arachidonic acid (AA).
Omega-6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids and are usually abundant in the Western diet. They are necessary for human health, but the body can't make them -- you have to get them through food. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 - 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. Many nationally oriented physicians blame this high rate of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids for the preponderance of inflammatory diseases in society.
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)is an omega-3 fatty acid. Other omega-3 fatty acids are manufactured in the body using alpha-linolenic acid as a starting point. These include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). High levels of omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish which may explain the low levels of heart disease in populations which eat a lot of fish.
Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid that is found mostly in plant based oils such as borrage seed oil, evening primrose oil, and black currant seed oil. (Most of these oils also contain some linoleic acid.) Spirulina (often called blue green algae) also contains GLA. Along with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), they help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system.
Also, GLA may actually reduce inflammation. Much of the GLA taken as a supplement is converted to a substance called DGLA that fights inflammation. For the conversion of GLA into DGLA, a good intake of vitamins and minerals is needed. Having enough of certain nutrients in the body (including magnesium, zinc, and vitamins C, B3, and B6) helps promote the conversion of GLA to DGLA.
Many experts find the science supporting the use of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and prevent diseases to be much stronger than that supporting GLA.
Cautions Against Supplementing with GLA:
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use omega-6 supplements without first talking to your health care provider.
Blood thinning medications -- People taking blood thinning medications should not take omega-6 fatty acid supplements without consulting a health care provider. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding. These medications include:
Ceftazidime -- Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) may increase the effectiveness of ceftazidime. Ceftazidinme, an antibiotic in a class known as cephalosporins, is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections.
Chemotherapy for cancer -- GLA may increase the effects of anti cancer treatments, such as doxorubicin, cisplatin, carboplatin, idarubicin, mitoxantrone, tamoxifen, vincristine, and vinblastine.
Cyclosporine -- Cyclosporine is a medication used to suppress the immune system after organ transplant. Taking omega-6 fatty acids with cyclosporine may increase the immunosuppressive effects of this medication. It may also protect against kidney damage (a potential side effect from this medication).
Phenothiazines -- People taking a class of medications called phenothiazines to treat schizophrenia should not take evening primrose oil. Evening primrose oil may interact with these medications and increase the risk of seizures. The same may be true for other omega-6 supplements. These medications include:
Dietary Sources of Linoleic Acid
Dietary sources of linoleic acid include all major plant and vegetable oils such as safflower oil, grape seed oil, poppy oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil.
The problem of obesity has taken a form of an epidemic disease in United States and over one-third of the population is suffering from it. The situation is deteriorating further, with more and more children becoming obese.
This is quite surprising as half of the Americans are known to be trying to lose weight at any given point of time. They are also known to spend around $30 - $50 billion dollars every year on their weight loss efforts, most of which fail miserably to give any substantial results.
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