What Are the Health Benefits of Essential Fats?

Medically Reviewed on 3/24/2022

10 health benefits of essential fatty acids

What are the health benefits of the essential fats
Learn the ten health benefits of essential fatty acids below, which include omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid, and omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid.
  1. Heart health
    • Omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fish oil products play an essential function to maintain the cardiovascular system. However, their cardiac advantages have been overstated at the expense of the numerous other benefits of these oils.
    • Omega-3 fatty acids play a significant function in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Fish oil-rich diets lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL), and triglycerides levels. They increase healthy cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL) levels. Accepted research has suggested that these characteristics considerably minimize the likelihood of acquiring heart disease and prevent cardiovascular diseases in type II diabetics.
  2. Brain function
    • Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain development. Other studies report their significance in mood improvement and their ability to aid boost neuro-regenerative systems in the brain. This is associated with good memory and better cognitive functions.
  3. Promote liver health
    • Polyunsaturated fatty acids may aid in the reduction of liver fat. Omega-3 supplementation can improve liver health according to one study that had 1,424 participants.
  4. Inflammatory diseases
  5. Arthritis
    • GLA is turned into eicosanoids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It regulates the immune system, which can reduce joint inflammation and damage. Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis are GLA deficient and respond well to GLA supplementation.
    • GLA supplementation has been shown in placebo-controlled studies to improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in both children and adults. Symptoms, such as morning stiffness, joint swelling, discomfort, and pain, had shorter durations. In many situations, GLA supplementation reduced the usage of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids.
  6. Encourage restful sleep
    • Consumption of essential fatty acids has been shown to benefit the brain and may help sleep. Studies suggest that youngsters who take omega-3 supplements daily have fewer sleep disruptions than those who do not.
  7. Mental disorders
    • Although omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) is well-known for its heart-protective properties, it may be beneficial to mental health.
    • Many illnesses have been associated with EFA insufficiency, including:
    • A recent study suggests that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may be beneficial for the treatment of depression and other mental illnesses.
  8. Prevention and control of diseases
  9. Improves skin health
    • If you want to have healthy, glowing skin, you must consume a lot of healthy fats. Essential fatty acids are required for healthy skin. This is because omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats increase the production of eicosanoids, which impact the inflammatory response of your skin.
    • Studies have reported that EFAs may help with dry skin conditions, such as eczema.
  10. Development in children
    • DHA is especially vital for pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is a nutrient that growing babies rely on from their mothers.
    • DHA supplementation during pregnancy may lower the risk of premature delivery. It is necessary for both visual and neurological development.

Other benefits of essential fats

  • Fats are an energy source
  • They aid in the production and regulation of hormones
  • They are responsible for the formation of cell membranes
  • Maintains healthy blood pressure and sugar levels in the blood
  • They are necessary for the transfer of nerve signals, which cause muscular contractions
  • They aid in the transfer of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • They contain two important fatty acids that the body cannot produce: linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid)
  • Strengthens bones

What are the essential fatty acids?

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are polyunsaturated fats that your body cannot produce and depend on plant and animal sources, such as oily fish or nuts. These EFAs are composed of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. These groups of essential fatty acids are necessary for various important bodily functions.

The omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid (LA), is converted into the following fatty acids in the body:

  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
  • Arachidonic acid (AA)

The omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is converted into the following fatty acids in the body:

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

Though LA and ALA are strictly essential, their derivatives are also considered essential. Though the derivatives are produced in the body, the efficiency of conversion of omega-3 fatty acids into its derivatives is low, so it is recommended to consume foods that contain EPA and DHA.

EFAs are essential to all bodily processes; without them, the body cell membrane quality is affected. The symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency include tingling, numbness, and poor skin quality among others.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 3/24/2022
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Cleveland Clinic. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17290-omega-3-fatty-acids

Down to Earth Organic & Natural. The Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids. https://www.downtoearth.org/health/nutrition/benefits-essential-fatty-acids

Oregon State University. Essential Fatty Acids. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/essential-fatty-acids