Essential Health Info

Fatty Acids- Disease Fighting or Disease Supporting?

fatty acids

Cellular respiration implies activities that takes place inside a cell i.e. metabolic processes.  The cell’s purpose to promote or prevent disease highly depends on food-derived fats (Carper, 1993).  In Laymen’s terms, eating the macronutrient fat directly affects your overall health.

More importantly, fat critically manipulates a cell’s function. Therefore, two pathways of fats achieve this process.  Furthermore, eicosanoids are arachidonic acids or essential fatty acids (EFA) that only originate from food.  Both families represent these EFA’s, omega 6s and omega 3s, to form alternative eicosanoids that produce different metabolic activities.  In the end, both EFA’s compete for interaction within the cell.  Therefore, eating high amounts of omega 6s results in the overproduction of unhealthy fats in your body.

The Tale of Two Fatty Acids

First, potent hormones like prostaglandins, thromboxane’s, and leukotrienes i.e. eicosanoids delineate omega 6’s function as damaging (1993, p. 12).  In other words, omega 6s produce critical metabolic activities like inflammation, constricting blood vessels, and blood stickiness (1993, p. 12).  Recent research suggests, Americans inhabit 80% of unsaturated fats or omega-6s according to Phyllis Bowen, Department of Nutrition and Medical Dietetics at University of Chicago Illinois (1993, p. 13).

Today, processed oils concentrated in land-based vegetables i.e. corn along with animal foods raised on agriculture farms are causing chronic illnesses.  These illnesses are disease bound like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer (1993, p. 13).  Believe it or not, the type of fat you eat can change the levels and activity of eicosanoids circulating in your body (1993, p. 12).


Fortunately, there are only two types of fats from eicosanoids.  First, the omega 3s originate from marine life such as fish and from some plants.  Fat from seafood is top-notch healthy!  For example, omega 3 fatty acids are changed into substances that prevent cell damage- blood platelet clumping, constricting blood vessels, and reduce inflammation (1993, p. 12).

Furthermore, Western countries eat mainly fatty foods that have omega 6s.  However, let’s look at some people from the cold lands.  By contrast, the Indigenous people incur low rates of chronic diseases because they eat three times more omega 3s (1993, p. 13).  Indigenous people such as the Inuit Eskimos live in the Artic where marine life abounds.  Let’s just say their meal mainly consists of seafood three times a day.  Now that’s a lot of fish!

Omega 3s Affect Up-Regulation

Just how special are omega 3s?  Though there are different types of receptors in the human body, these fatty acids help receptors on target cells.  For example, sensory receptors interpret the outer and inner environment around the cell.  A stimulus causes the receptor to generate a potential inside the cell.  If it’s strong enough, then the sensory neuron (cell) will travel up to the brain, which determines that a motor response should follow.  In short, a signal is sent to the brain to tell the body to do something.

Further, up-regulation refers to increasing the amount of receptors on the surface of target cells (Biga & Oregon State University, Open Educational Resources Unit, n.d.).  In other words, the cells increase their response to a substance or signals from the outside of the cell.  Omega 3s provide a starting place for hormones to regulate blood clotting, inflammation, constriction or vasodilation of artery walls.  Omega 3s bind to the receptors that also regulates genetic function.


Omega 3s are known to help our heart’s function the most.  Lowering blood pressure, improving blood vessel circulation, lowering triglycerides, and easing inflammation are some of the most important benefits.  Moreover, clinical trials suggest that heart attack survivors from GISSI Prevention Trial took 1 gram of omega 3s once a day for three years did not experience a heart attack, stroke, or die of sudden death than those who took a placebo (Harvard T.H. Chan, 2019).  Most importantly, the risk of cardiac arrest was reduced by 50% in this group (2019).

Obtaining omega 3s can be as simple as taking a supplement or including your daily meals with the following foods:

  • vegetable oils (flaxseed oil, walnut oil)
  • ground flaxseed
  • chia seeds
  • walnuts
  • fish twice a week

Talking with a dietician will help you determine the best arrangement that omega 3 food sources into your meals throughout the day.  Nutrition is on of the best way to help your body overcome symptoms that could lead to serious health issues.  Lastly, always consult your doctor before changing your diet or if you are experiencing pain in your body.


Biga, L. M. & Oregon State University, Open Educational Resources Unit. (n.d.). 13.1 Sensory Receptors – Anatomy & Physiology. Pressbooks. Retrieved September 4, 2021, from

Carper, J. (1993). Food: Your Miracle Medicine : How Food Can Prevent and Cure over 100 Symptoms and Problems (1st ed.). Harper Collins.

Harvard T.H. Chan. (2019, May 22). Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution. The Nutrition Source.

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