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Essential Fatty Acids: The Perfect Skin Therapy For Dandruff, Psoriasis and Eczema


A diet low in essential fatty acids can result in several dysfunctions in the body including an exacerbation of skin conditions such as dandruff (seborrhea), psoriasis and eczema. These are common complaints known to distress many of us at some point in our lives. These problems of the skin and scalp have no known cause which makes them even more difficult to treat. Many individuals who experience them are said to be genetically predisposed to the condition. At times they lay dormant and we happily remove them from our thoughts, but then they resurface without much warning often times after stressful episodes in our lives.

So why should essential fatty acids work to correct these skin conditions? These skin disorders: dandruff, psoriasis vulgaris, and eczema all have two commonalities that allow them to be grouped together.

  1. Is that they run in families and therefore have a genetic component linked to autoimmune disease similar to allergies; therefore strengthening of the immune system is needed.
  2. Inflammation is one of the primary contributing factors that lead to irritations of these three scalp/skin conditions.

How Essential Fatty Acids Can Help

Inflammation and a weakened immune system are two areas that are integrally controlled by the functions of hormones, and essential fatty acids (EFAs) that form the base of their hormonal structure. Omega-3 or linolenic fatty acids and omega-6 or linoleic fatty acids are the building blocks of all essential fats needed in the body. They are the molecular framework by which all others are created. Their vital functions are to create and facilitate the autonomic functions of the body, which are those systems not requiring conscious effort.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are necessary to make cell membranes and build many of the important hormones and chemical messengers that tell your body how to function. For example, prostaglandins are one of the important hormones that regulate many activities including inflammation, pain and swelling. They are also important in strengthening and protecting the immune system and for allergic reactions.

When these systems are not functioning normally due to poor nutrition, the body’s response may take the form of dandruff on the scalp, eczema and psoriasis on the skin. Flare-ups can also be triggered by stress, which is the additional factor that pushes an already poor dieters’ threshold to showing the signs of these specific skin conditions, as well as splitting nails and dull lacklustre hair.

Now, how much EFA is needed in the diet is debatable. Each person is said to require varying amounts depending on their eating habits. Studies suggest that a ratio of 1:2 is optimum; that is for every one portion of omega-6 eaten, two omega-3 portions are needed in the diet.

Sources of Essential Fatty Acids

  •  Evening primrose oil
  •  Flax seed (linseed) oil
  •  Fish oil
  •  Olive oil
  •  Coconut oil
  •  Canola oil
  •  Organic soya oil
  •  Hemp oil
  •  Walnuts
  •  Sardines
  •  Tuna
  •  Mackerel
  •  Salmon
  •  Cod fish
  •  Green leafy vegetables
  •  Legumes
  •  Nuts

The typical Western diet has high concentrations of omega-6 already on society’s plates and a balance is needed to promote optimal health. Foods such as mayonnaise, margarine, creamy salad dressings are high inflammatory sources of omega-6; better options are avocado, safflower and sunflower oil, including those referred to on the list.

These oils are called essential because our bodies must have them to exist, and they can only be sourced from our diet. It is important to not forget this fact and consume them regularly to keep our bodies functioning correctly with these amazing nutrients.



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