The body needs fatty acids to survive and is able to make all but two of them: linoleic
acid (LA), in the omega-6 family, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the omega-3
family. These two fatty acids must be supplied by the diet and are therefore
considered essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in coldwater fish (and fish oil), perilla and flaxseed oils,
are essential elements of a healthy diet. Omega-3 oils contain eicosapentaenoic
acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are usually lacking in the
typical Western diet, which is filled with foods containing high amounts of omega-6
fats.19 EPA and DHA can be synthesized in the body from ALA, but EPA and DHA
synthesis may be insufficient under certain conditions and for most people thatconsume Western diets.