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Essential Oils - a Preview

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Essential oils (or fatty acids as they are commonly known) are indispensable for optimum functioning of the body. They provide the basic building blocks for the body's numerous enzymatic and hormonal functions. They are also precursors to eicosanoids. Eicosanoids lower blood pressure, raise body temperature, modulate bronchial passages, and stimulate hormone production. Their production is highly dependent on dietary fat.

There are 3 essential oil families: omega-3, omega-6, and omega- 9 fatty acids. Both omega-3 and omega-6 posses the strongest ability to generate eicosanoids. Omega-9s are weaker and not labeled as essential but are helpful. The common source of omega-9s is olive oil.

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