Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency: The Modern Nutritional Illness

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Essential Fatty Acids: The Modern Nutritional Deficiency

Many experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the American population does not get sufficient quantities of essential fatty acids in their diets to maintain health (Murray, 1996). And, in fact most Americans are consuming only about 10 percent of the essential fatty acids in their diets that would be needed for optimum health.

However, most orthodox health care practitioners will never make the association between a health problem and an essential fatty acid deficiency because they are not trained in nutrition, because fatty acid deficiencies are not routinely analyzed for in the lab, and because the symptoms of fatty acid deficiency are not as obvious as with many other nutrient deficiencies. Not only this, but few orthodox health professionals understand the issue with enough comprehension to be able to adequately treat the condition, were they to discover it.

The following list of conditions and symptoms are typical of EFA (Essential Fatty Acids) deficiency.

  • Aching joints
  • Angina
  • Arthritis
  • Constipation
  • Cracked nails
  • Depression
  • Dry, lifeless hair
  • Dry mucous membranes, tear ducts, mouth vagina
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue, malaise, lackluster energy
  • Forgetfulness
  • Frequent colds and sickness
  • High blood pressure
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Immune weakness
  • Indigestion, gas, bloating
  • Lack of endurance
  • Lack of motivation

Read on to understand the biology of essential fatty acids, and the reasons why this diverse set of symptoms could be caused by a deficiency in the essential fatty acids.

Essential Fatty Acids to the Rescue

Certain populations of people in the world have been noted for their abundant essential fatty acid nutritional levels. One example of such people is the population of Iceland, a nation in which fish and fish oil is consumed in abundant amounts. Icelanders are noted for their very low incident of heart disease and of high blood pressure and of stroke compared to any other nation on earth. Not only this, but Icelanders have a remarkably low incident of infant mortality and also a remarkably low incident of depression.

All of the health attributes noted in this population can be attributed to the benefit of adequate omega-3 nourishment.

Essential fatty acid, and omega-3 nutrition in particular, is also associated with cancer, joint health, diabetes prevention, and skin replenishment. Mental illness ranging from ADDH to Schizophrenia have been shown to be more prevalent in omega-3 deficient individuals.

It is no wonder that some health professionals consider omega-3 oils to be the miracle nutrient of the day. All of the degenerative illness of today will be impacted by essential fatty acid nutrition. The cost to society brought on by the massive nutritional deficiency in essential fatty acids that is suffered by so many persons and in so many countries is staggering. Unfortunately correcting this situation requires more than just the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to the diet. Education as to how oils interact with one another and with the body’s biochemical pathways is also needed. If the health problems brought on by poor essential fatty acid levels is to be truly addressed in each person’s case this type of understanding is imperative.

To find out more about omega-3 oils, how to get them in your diet, and how to give your body a chance to utilize them properly read Essential Fatty Acids: How They Influence Health, Good Fats & Bad Fats: Understanding Different Oils and Fats, Good Fats & Bad Fats: Edible Oil Chemical Properties, and How to get Omega 3 Oils in your Diet.


Gordon, Garry, M.D., D.O., M.D.(H.), Herb Joiner-Bey, N.D.(2004).The Omega-3 Miracle. Freedom Press, Topanga, CA

Murray, T. N.D. and Jade Beutler, R.R.T., R.C.P.,(1996). Understanding Fats & Oils, Progressive Health Publishing, Encinitas, CA.

This post is part of the series: Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids must be gained from one’s diet. Your body can not manufacture these special oil constituents and without them your health will fail and you will eventually perish. Essential fatty acids influence health in many ways. You need to understand what they are and how they work.

  1. What Are Essential Fatty Acids?
  2. Essential Fatty Acids: How They Influence Health
  3. Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency: The Modern Nutritional Illness
  4. What are Prostaglandins? How Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency Causes Inflammatory Disease
  5. How to Get Omega 3 Oils in your Diet