Essential Fats


Fats are required by every single cell of the body and are involved in the manufacture of hormones, the transport of some vitamins and for the protection of the heart and liver. However, this statement does not apply to all fats. Most people consider fats as bad for you because they can block your arteries and encourage weight gain, but the desire to avoid fats can actually be detrimental to your body.

There are different types of fats and these include monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. Most foods contain a mixture in different ratios of these; butter, for example, can contain 65% saturated, 4% polyunsaturated and 30% monounsaturated.

Monounsaturated fats are helpful for reducing cholesterol levels in the body; they become liquid at room temperature and examples include those found in olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil. Specifically, they help to raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholestoral)

Polyunsaturated fats are also liquid at room temperature and examples include corn, sesame and safflower oils. There are two types of polyunsaturated fats, known as omega 3 and omega 6. Omega 6 fats are derived from meat, seeds, nuts and grains and most of us have an abundance of omega 6 fats. Omega 3 fats are derived from oily fish such as salmon and mackerel and green leafy vegetables also contain a small amount of these fats.

Saturated fats are the worst kind of fats because they can clog the arteries and may be responsible for numerous health concerns. They are often solid at room temperature and examples include cheese, meat, butter and oils such as palm oil.

As far as good fats are concerned, we all need to increase our uptake of omega 3 fats because an abundance of omega 6 can be pro-inflammatory, meaning inflammation may be caused in the body. Inflammation in the body is the leading cause of many diseases including cardiovascular and arthritic concerns. Most people do not have a sufficient intake of omega 3 and therefore increase their levels by taking fish oils.

There are many fish oils available, but I always recommend Krill Oil as it contains omega 3 in a unique form that can be utilised more efficiently than most fish oils and is a cleaner source of omega 3. The body can never get too much omega 3 because these fats are involved in numerous processes within our bodies, including hormone manufacture. In general terms you can take up to 6000 mg of fish oils per day, but this dosage is usually reserved for mood elevation, so we recommend between 1000 – 2000 mg daily, unless you are on blood thinning medication.

To end, two things: firstly if you suffer from anxiety or low mood swings we recommend PharmEpa E-EPA 90 taken in conjunction with Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, otherwise we recommend Power of Krill.

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Nutrition, Shabir Daya | , , , ,
  • Sharon

    I seem to be allergic to fish, shellfish and possibly even kelp! I would like to increase my Omega 3 levels particularly as we have arthritis and dementia in the family – what supplement would you recommend?

  • Victoria Health

    Dear Sharon, plant sources such as hemp and linseeds are nowhere near as good a source of essential fatty acids as Echium seed oil. A supplement containing Echium seed oil is Echiomega and I would recommend two capsules as a minimum dose every day which provides the best plant source of omega 3’s. Shabir

  • Sharon

    Thank you for the advice Shabir – I have been using Flax seed oil and have not heard of Echiomega before at all, I shall place an order now.

  • Victoria Health

    You are welcome. Shabir

  • Jan

    What is Echium seed oil – never heard of it before. I love flax seed and flax oil but I found it was high in estrogen for me (post menopausal now) and it really made me put on weight especially the boobs, bum and tum – would this do the same.

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Jan, Echium is a native plant to the UK and has been found to contain essential fatty acids which are converted readily into the active components EPA more than any other plant source. Essential fats do not normally cause an increase in weight and Echium is definitely not a phytoestrogen. Shabir

  • Jan

    Thanks phytoestrogens definitely made me gain weight