Essential Fatty Acids 101

Date: 
Wed, 08/13/2014

 


Essential Fatty Acids are important, but what are they?


What are EFA?

There are two main type of EFA: omega-6 and omega-3.  They are called Essential because it is a type of fatty acid that cannot be generate internally and can solely be obtained and/or converted from food.  Omega-9 is not an EFA as it can be internally generated and obtain from food.

 

Why do pets (dog/cat) need EFA?

  • A very important nutrition to our pet
  • It is vital for normal growth and functioning of all muscles, nerves, and organs.
  • Essential for skin, fur, nails and hair of an animal.
  • Injured animal and animal with chronic disease (i.e. kidney disease) needs higher dose of EFA
  • Puppies, Pregnant and Lactating animals (dogs and cats) need higher EFA

What are the signs of EFA Deficiency?

  • Dull coat
  • Dried Skin (Dandruff from the skin)
  • Itchy skin
  • Excessive shedding
  • Cracked paws
  • Split claws
  • Anaemia
  • Impaired fertility
  • Overgrowth of bacteria on the skin
  • Liver disease
  • Biliary disease
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Malabsorption problems

 

What are the signs of EFA Excess?

  • Obesity
  • Inflammation
    • This often happens from an excess of Omega 6
    • Most food (dog food, non-grass-fed fresh meats, grains, nuts, vegetable, and vegetable oil) are high in Omega-6
    • Too much of Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3 will lead to inflammation
    • Therefore, I do not advocate supplementing with Omega-6

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acid Benefits


  • Improve coat and skin condition
  • Slow down/ stabilize kidney disease
  • Slow down / stabilize disease biliary disease
  • Slow down/ stabilize Chronic pancreatitis
  • Slow down/ stabilize Heart disease (Dogs with heart disease has lower % of DHA and EPA in their blood)
  • Improve appetite/ Malabsorption problems
  • Slow down/ stabilize Hypertension
  • Slow down/ stabilize Type 2 diabetes
  • Improve arthritis as a natural anti-inflammatories
  • Slow down Ulcer 
  • Slow down/ stabilize Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease



Bad Sources of Omega 3

  • Packaged pet food
    • Omega-3 from packaged pet food is not recommended as Omega-3 can easily be spoiled with exposure to air.  
    • Consuming spoiled oil will lead to more free radicals in the body, and end up doing more harm than good.  
  • Plant based Omega-3
    • Dogs can only convert 15% of plant based Omega-3 consumed, and Cats can only convert 0% of plant based Omega-3.
    • Do NOT feed your cats plant based Omega-3.
    • Plant based oil will be full of Omega-6 as mentioned above, you do not need to supplement additional Omega-6.

The Best Sources of Omega 3

Unless you only feed grass-feed meats and supply your pets with raw fatty cold water fish, you will need to feed additional Omega-3 supplement and we recommend you select those with the following characteristics:

  • Animal based Oil (i.e. fish)
  • Omega-3 only
  • Capsulated as exposure to air can easily spoiled it
  • With added Vitamin E as fatty acid (long chain fat) will consume Vitamin E in the body.
  • Human graded
  • Our CoatPlus Fish Oil product has all of the above characteristics. 


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