Understanding Essential Fatty Acids
The Need for Nutrients
We are not all alike. The needs for your particular lifestyle must be adequately covered, preferably through eating more of the appropriate kinds of foods. In cases where nutritional deficiencies are causing health problems, the use of nutritional supplements may also be helpful. For example, if you smoke and drink alcohol frequently your nutritional needs will be higher. If you are pregnant, if you live in a polluted environment, if you have a high stress occupation or are suffering emotional stress, if you suffer from allergies,
if you have any sort of disease, degenerative illness or inherited
weakness – all of these factors may increase your needs.
The poor nutritional quality
of many purchased foods is another factor. Depleted soils and
lengthy storage, as well as toxicity from pesticides, antibiotics,
additives, and so on can make an apparently healthy food of
little value. Tests have shown that, for example, most people
do not obtain adequate zinc, folic acid or the essential fatty
acids in their diet, and health (physical and mental) suffers
– the weakest link of the inter-acting bodily systems inevitably
Deficiency of any of the essential nutrients (below
the RDA amount) will, over a period of time, result in illness.
Recent research has shown that most of the population in Western
countries is deficient in at least a few nutrients (the most
common being zinc, selenium, B and C vitamins) and literally
on the edge of illness.
Moreover, individual nutritional needs are frequently
higher than the RDA amounts, and to reverse the effects of decades
of poor diet and the resulting toxicity, yet alone to attain
optimum health, larger amounts are required – preferably as
part of an improved diet but if necessary, through supplements
Vitamins and minerals are essential for almost
every function of the body. They are vital for energy and they
protect you from premature ageing and degenerative diseases.
And because they work together they are best digested and absorbed
as natural and wholesome foods, in the context of a balanced
and varied diet, not just in isolation in the form of nutritional
Nevertheless, supplements can play a role to prevent
the risk of deficiencies occurring and to remedy health symptoms
caused by long-standing deficiencies due to inadequacies in
our diet – all too common with cultural bad eating habits and
If you are suffering from significant health problems,
it is also necessary to obtain personal professional guidance
for remedial therapy from a nutritional consultant, who will
work in liason with your doctor.
The question is, how much do you need of the various
vitamins and minerals? There’s a big difference between the
amount required to prevent deficiencies that would lead to serious
degeneration, and the amount of each vitamin and mineral you
need for optimum health. A few years ago, scientists at the
University of Alabama worked this out for every nutrient and
called the amounts Suggested Optimal Nutrient Allowances or
SONAs. The following formula is based on SONAs and gives the
amount of each essential vitamin and mineral that you need contained
in your diet for optimal health.
The formula provides:
Vitamin A 7500 i.u. – Retinol,
a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant, derived from animal sources
such as dairy foods, fish liver oil, eggs and liver. Like other
fat-soluble vitamins, this form of vitamin A can build up in
the body tissues causing undesirable side effects if taken in
excessive amounts (much more than 7500 i.u. per day). Excess
should particularly be avoided by pregnant mothers or those
expecting to become pregnant. A good supply of vitamin A is
however essential for optimal functioning of the eyes, gums,
skin, the mucous lining of the nasal sinuses, respiratory and
digestive tracts. Also for bone development, production of sex
hormones and normal immunity.
Deficiency symptoms: mouth ulcers, poor night vision, acne,
frequent colds or infections, dry flaky skin, dandruff, thrush
or cystitis, diarrhoea.
Beta Carotene 2500 i.u. – Vegetable pre-cursor to vitamin A,
found in orange/red fruit and vegetables, that is not toxic
in larger amounts (it is converted in the body to vitamin A
only as and when required). As an antioxidant it helps prevent
cancer and premature ageing and protects the heart and arteries.
Vitamin D 300 i.u. – Ergocalciferol,
a fat-soluble vitamin derived from animal sources (fish, dairy,
eggs). Needed for the absorption, utilisation and retention
of calcium, normal sexual function, and calcification of bone
to maintain strong bones and teeth. Helps prevent loss of calcium
from urine. Made by the body when exposed to sunlight. Toxic
in excess (more than 1500 i.u. daily) as this may cause calcification
of the liver.
Deficiency symptoms: joint pain or stiffness, back ache, tooth
decay, muscle cramps, hair loss (in extreme: rickets in children,
osteoporosis in adults).
Vitamin E 150 i.u. – D-alpha
tocopherol is a fat-soluble antioxidant found in nuts, seeds
and vegetable oils which it helps to prevent becoming rancid,
just as it protects fats within the body from oxidation. ts
antioxidant properties help limit the damage to all body cells
caused by naturally present free oxygen radicals, and therefore
helps prevent cancer and ageing. Needed for maintenance of a
healthy heart and circulation, normal sexual function, proper
growth and repair of skin. Helps heal scar tissue, oxygenate
muscles and maintain immunity.
Deficiency symptoms: lack of sex drive, exhaustion after light
exercise, easy bruising, slow wound healing, varicose veins,
loss of muscle tone, infertility.
Vitamin K (not included) – Phylloquinone,
fat-soluble, required for blood clotting, is found in many vegetables,
dairy products and wholegrain cereals. It is also produced by
healthy intestinal bacteria, so it is rarely deficient except
in young infants (nursing mothers should eat cauliflower and
Vitamin C 300 mg – Ascorbic acid,
a water-soluble antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables.
Strengthens the immune system – fights infections. Makes collagen,
the inter-cellular glue, keeping bones, skin and joints firm
and strong and strengthening blood vessels. A powerful antioxidant,
helping to detoxify pollutants and protect against cancer and
heart disease. Helps make anti-stress hormones and needed for
metabolism. Helps the absorption of iron from food. Most animals
make the equivalent of several grams of vitamin C daily; however,
by a quirk of evolution, humans cannot produce their own, so
we really do need the benefit of further supplementation.
Deficiency symptoms: frequent colds, lack of energy, bleeding
or tender gums, easy bruising, nose bleeds, slow wound healing,
red pimples on skin (in extreme: scurvy).
Vitamin B1 37.5 mg – Thiamin,
a water-soluble vitamin, found in association with other B Complex
vitamins in wholemeal products, brown rice, many vegetables,
meat, nuts and dairy, is unstable and frequently destroyed by
cooking or by preservatives. B1 is needed for carbohydrate metabolism
and may be deficient in those on a high sugar diet. Helps maintain
appetite, normal functioning of the nervous system, eyes, hair,
heart and other muscles. Helps keep mucous membranes (digestive
lining, lungs, etc) healthy. It is needed for digestion, growth
and maintenance of muscle tone.
Deficiency symptoms: tender muscles, eye pains, irritability,
poor concentration, prickly legs, poor memory, fatigue, loss
of appetite, nausea, stomach pains, constipation, tingling hands,
rapid heart beat (in extreme: beriberi).
Vitamin B2 37.5 mg – Riboflavin,
a water-soluble B Complex vitamin found in vegetables, fish
and dairy, works particularly closely with vitamins B6 and B3
and selenium. It assists in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates
and fats and therefore is needed for energy. It plays a role
in cataract prevention and is needed for healthy mucous membranes,
skin, nails, hair and the absorption of iron. It is also a necessary
factor in healthy functioning of the nervous system and helps
to regulate body acidity. Requirement is increased with alcohol
or drug abuse, consumption of coffee, the contraceptive pill,
antibiotics and pregnancy. Unrequired B2 harmlessly colours
the urine yellow.
Deficiency symptoms: burning or gritty eyes, sensitivity to
bright lights, sore tongue, cataracts, dull or oily hair, eczema
or dermatitis, split nails, cracked lips.
Vitamin B3 75 mg – Niacin or
nicotinic acid, a water-soluble B Complex vitamin found in vegetables,
fish, dairy and unrefined cereals, has a vasodilatory effect
(felt as flushing of the skin) which helps take nutrients to
cells and remove toxins and also reduce stickiness of the blood.
(Niacinamide, another form of the vitamin, does not have this
beneficial effect). B3 is essential for energy production, normal
digestion, nerve function and the skin. Helps balance blood
sugar and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It is also
needed for the production of vital hormones such as cortisone,
oestrogen, progesterone and thyroxine. Deficiency can occur
with alcohol or drug abuse, or protein deficiency, and may,
in extreme cases, result in pellagra (dematitis, diarrhoea and
Deficiency symptoms: lack of energy, diarrhoea, insomnia, headaches
or migraines, poor memory, anxiety or tension, depression and
other psychological disorders, irritability, bleeding or tender
gums, acne, eczema/dermatitis.
Vitamin B5 75 mg – Pantothenic
acid, a water-soluble B Complex vitamin found in eggs, lentils,
unrefined grains and vegetables. B5 is essential in energy production
and the synthesis of hormones and blood cells. Known as the
‘Anti-Stress Vitamin’ it is needed to make the neurotransmitter
acetylcholine and therefore for proper brain activity and nerve
transmission. It is also needed by the adrenal glands to make
glucocorticoids, the anti-stress hormones, and along with glucosamine
has been found helpful in arthritis and relieving joint pains
and stiffness. Helps healing and counteracts allergy effects.
Maintains normal hair pigment.
Deficiency symptoms: muscle tremors or cramps, apathy, poor
concentration, burning feet or tender heels, nausea or vomiting,
lack of energy, exhaustion after light exercise, anxiety, teeth
Vitamin B6 75 mg – Pyrodoxine,
a water-soluble B Complex vitamin found in meat, fish, vegetables,
bananas, wholegrains, seeds and nuts, may be toxic in extreme
doses (above 1000 mg). Works with other B Complex vitamins,
zinc and magnesium. Required for the metabolism and synthesis
of proteins. Needed for making energy, utilizing essential fatty
acids, keeping levels of the female hormone oestrogen stable
(and therefore effective in preventing pre-menstrual tension).
Essential for efficient nerve transmission, protein digestion
and utilisation, making healthy red blood cells and antibodies.
Involved in the maintenance of the circulation, the skin, the
immune system and the production of chemicals in the brain which
govern mood, sleep patterns, etc. Helps absorption of B12 and
maintenance of fluid balance in the body.
Deficiency symptoms: infrequent dream recall, water retention,
tingling hands, depression or nervousness, irritability, muscle
tremors or cramps, lack of energy, flaky skin, anaemia, peripheral
neuritis, convulsions, lesions of the skin or mucous membranes.
Vitamin B12 15 micrograms – Cyanocobalamin,
a water-soluble B Complex vitamin found in fish, eggs, meat
and dairy produce which often works together with folic acid
in the body. Needed for making energy. Essential for the production
of red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA. Helps make
the myelin sheath that insulates nerve cells. Vegans and vegetarians
are susceptible to deficiency and other causes are: alcohol,
coffee, smoking, lack of calcium or iron, diabetes and liver
disease. In extreme may cause pernicious anaemia.
Deficiency symptoms: poor hair condition, eczema or dermatitis,
mouth over sensitive to hot or cold, irritability, anxiety or
tension, lack of energy, constipation, tender or sore muscles,
loss of muscle co-ordination, fatigue, sore tongue, drowsiness,
pale skin, menstrual problems.
Folic Acid 150 micrograms – Folic
acid is water-soluble, part of the B Complex group of vitamins,
found in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, eggs, organ
meats, wholegrains, seeds and nuts but often destroyed by overcooking.
Required for protein synthesis, works with B12 in the formation
of red blood cells and is also vital for rapidly dividing cells
and the developing foetus. It is needed to make RNA and DNA
and therefore essential for the repair and manufacture of all
cells. Needed for proper growth, brain activity, normal nervous
function. Recent research indicates that folic acid may play
a protective role against heart disease due to its ability to
lower homocysteine levels; along with B6 and B12 it reduces
the risk of heart attacks. It also helps to regulate histamine
levels in the body. As with B12, anaemia will result when folic
acid is low. 400 micrograms is needed prior to and during pregnancy
to prevent spina bifida or other neural tube defects. It is
adversely affected in the body by alcohol, coffee, coeliac disease,
oral contraceptives, stress, the taking of drugs and smoking.
Deficiency symptoms: eczema, cracked lips, premature grey hair,
anxiety or tension, poor memory, lack of energy, fatigue, breathlessness,
anaemia, poor appetite, stomach pains, depression.
Biotin 75 micrograms – Biotin,
a water-soluble co-enzyme which works with the B Complex vitamins,
is found in many vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, milk, eggs.
Biotin is part of many enzyme systems and is involved in the
conversion of amino acids to protein. It is involved in the
production of energy from carbohydrates, fatty acid metabolism
and the conversion of folic acid to a biologically active form.
It helps maintain healthy skin and hair, good muscular tone
and a balanced hormonal system. Promotes healthy sweat glands,
nerve tissue and bone marrow. Antibiotics, excessive intake
of alcohol, coffee or raw eggs will inhibit dietary intake.
Deficiency symptoms: dry skin, greyish skin colour, poor hair
condition or hair loss, premature grey hair, leg cramps, tender
or sore muscles, poor appetite or nausea, eczema or dermatitis,
Choline 30 mg – Choline is a
constituent of the emulsifier lecithin, found in egg yolks,
meat organs, green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, soy beans,
and can be made in the body so strictly speaking it is not a
vitamin. It helps make acetylcholine and is therefore essential
for brain function. Necessary to help break down accumulating
fats. Reduces lactic acid build-up in muscles.
Deficiency symptoms: Poor memory, high blood pressure, excess
cholesterol, fatigue, degeneration of the liver.
Inositol 30 mg – Like choline,
a constituent of lecithin, needed for hair growth, healthy arteries,
normal fat and cholesterol metabolism.
Deficiency symptoms: eczema, high cholesterol, poor hair condition
or loss of hair.
Minerals are originally extracted from the soil
by plants. Like vitamins, they may be obtained directly from
plants or indirectly via meat. However they are frequently refined
out of foods and over-farmed soils may be deficient in trace
minerals. For this reason it is essential to eat organically
grown, unprocessed produce.
Calcium 500 mg (as citrate, phosphate and carbonate) – Calcium (found in dairy, fish, eggs, root vegetables, pulses,
nuts, wholegrains and water) is the most abundant mineral in
the body, of which 99 per cent is found in the bones and teeth.
The remaining 1 per cent circulates in the blood and has many
functions. The 800 mg daily requirement is needed for growth
and maintenance of bones and teeth, nerve transmission, regulation
of the heartbeat, and muscle contraction. It is needed for blood
clotting, for helping to maintain the right acidity in the bloodstream
and for insulin production. Absorption is increased by exercise
and adequate vitamin D status, and decreased with exposure to
lead, consumption of alcohol, coffee and tea and a lack of hydrochloric
acid in the stomach. Continued stress leads to calcium loss.
With hormonal changes, post-menopausal women are particularly
prone to osteoporosis (weak and porous bones) since the lack
of oestrogen negatively affects calcium absorption. Pregnant
and breast feeding women may also need extra calcium, accompanied
Calcium deficiency symptoms: muscle
cramps, tremors or spasms, insomnia or nervousness, joint pain,
osteoarthritis, tooth decay, high blood pressure.
Magnesium 225 mg (as citrate, aspartate,
or other organic form) – Magnesium is present in green
leafy vegetables, peas, nuts, brown rice, wholemeal products,
seeds and some fruits (and therefore is more commonly deficient
than calcium). It is involved as a co-factor in most enzyme
reactions in the body and is necessary for the production of
energy. It works together and in balance with calcium in maintaining
bone density and in nerves and muscles. For bone integrity,
calcium needs to be balanced with magnesium, preferably 2:1.
Calcification of soft tissues can occur if there is a calcium/magnesium
imbalance. The two minerals also act together in the regulation
of blood pressure. A lack of magnesium is strongly associated
with cardiovascular disease. Shortage of magnesium can also
lead to loss of control over the relaxing and contriction of
muscles, as again, calcium and magnesium act in balance. Magnesium
may be lost through food processing and refining, and its absorption
reduced with a high-fat diet, so it is widely deficient among
those with a fast-food diet, and indeed, is deficient in most
Western people! Magnesium has been shown to be beneficial for
women with pre-menstrual cramps or sugar cravings, especially
when taken in conjunction with vitamin B6. Deficiency may also
arise with prolonged treatment with diuretics. It is a primary
cause of most ADD cases (along with Zinc deficiency) and other
types of learning disability and psychological disturbance.
Magnesium deficiency symptoms: Muscle
tremors or spasms, “restless leg syndrome”, chronic
weakness and exhaustion, insomnia or nervousness, high blood
pressure, headaches, irregular or rapid heartbeat, constipation,
excessive muscle tension, fits or convulsions, ADD and hyperactivity,
difficulty with mental concentration and memory, nausea, apathy,
Potassium (not supplied) – Potassium
(found in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains) works in conjunction
with sodium in maintaining water balance and proper nerve and
muscle impulses. The more sodium is eaten the more potassium
is required and so a relative deficiency of potassium is widespread,
with the high amounts of salt in typical diets.
Potassium deficiency symptoms: vomiting,
abdominal bloating, muscular weakness, loss of appetite (more
likely to occur in those taking diuretic drugs, laxatives or
corticosteroids). This is not supplemented in this Formula because
of the large amounts required which are best obtained from dietary
sources. Magnesium-potassium-aspartate, however, is a particularly
effective combination in its ‘anti-fatigue’ and cholesterol
Iron 15 mg (as citrate or other organic
form) – Iron (found in meat, eggs, nuts, beans, oatmeal)
is needed as part of the haemoglobin molecule to carry oxygen
around the bloodstream, and for the production of hydrochloric
acid for protein digestion in the stomach. A deficiency of iron
can result in anaemia. Those particularly at risk include pregnant
women, children, women with heavy menstruation and people with
Iron deficiency symptoms: pale
skin, sore tongue, fatigue or listlessness, loss of appetite
or nausea, heavy periods or blood loss.
Zinc 15 mg (as citrate or other organic
form) – Zinc (found in meat, shellfish, herrings, wheat
germ, eggs, cheese, nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds) is needed
for normal functions of taste and smell, for insulin formation,
reproductive and immune systems, tissue renewal, and for healthy
bones, skin and teeth. It is essential (along with B6) for protein
synthesis including hormones, enzymes and antibodies. It is
needed for over 90 enzymatic processes in the body. High levels
are found in semen and a deficiency is linked to male infertility;
zinc is also necessary for a healthy prostate gland. Hydrochloric
acid, necessary for digestion of proteins and assimilation of
minerals, is dependent on zinc and B6 for its secretion by the
stomach. Zinc is vital for the growth and maintenance of the
nervous system; therefore it is important in brain function
and deficiency is linked to depression and anxiety, and it is
an important factor in schizophrenia.
Stress increases the need for zinc. With zinc
deficiency there is increased risk of having a baby with low
birth weight or premature. Women suffering from postnatal problems
frequently benefit from supplementing zinc and B6. It is especially
important to supplement because most zinc is lost in food processing
or never exists in substantial amount because of nutrient-poor
soil. Vegetarians and others on a high fibre diet may need more
zinc to offset the additional phytate present, which binds to
zinc and other minerals, making them less easily absorbed by
Zinc deficiency symptoms: poor
sense of taste or smell, white spots on the fingernails, frequent
infections, slow wound healing, stretch marks, acne, poor skin
condition, low fertility, pale skin, irritability, ADD, tendency
to depression and anxiety, poor digestion, loss of appetite,
impotence, prostate enlargement, growth problems.
Manganese 4.5 mg (as citrate or other
organic form) – Manganese (found in tropical fruits
nuts, seeds, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables, eggs) is associated
with iron metabolism and utilisation of vitamin E and B vitamins.
It has a critical role in the activation of over 20 enzymes
involved in growth, digestion and assimilation of nutrients,
the nervous system, healthy cartilage and bones, cell protection
against viruses, and making energy. Manganese is found in female
hormones and is required in the production of nucleic acids
that are part of the genetic code. Forms part of the important
antioxidant enzyme Superoxide Dismutase. Reduced fertility,
birth defects and growth retardation may, in part, be a result
of manganese deficiency.
Manganese deficiency symptoms: muscle twitches, joint pain, childhood growing pains, dizziness
or poor sense of balance, fits or convulsions, sore knees, fatigue,
nervous irritability, and in some cases: schizophrenia, Parkinson’s
disease and epilepsy.
Iodine 45 micrograms (as iodide) – Iodine (found in kelp, vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil,
onions and all seafood) is needed for thyroid hormones which
Iodine deficiency symptoms: slow
mental reaction, weight gain, lack of energy.
Copper 75 micrograms (as citrate or other
organic form) – Copper (found in peas, beans, wholegrains,
liver, seafood) is essential for the utilization of Vitamin
C and is required to convert the body’s iron into haemoglobin.
Copper deficiency symptoms: anaemia,
edema, rheumatoid arthritis. In excess, copper lowers zinc levels
and produces hair loss, insomnia, irregular menstruation, depression
and schizophrenia. The balance of zinc and copper in the diet
should be 15:1.
Chromium 30 micrograms (as picolinate) – Chromium (found in liver and seafood, wholegrains,
mushrooms and asparagus) is part of the Glucose Tolerance Factor
(with B3 and amino acids) necessary for the regulation of blood
sugar levels. Chromium works with insulin for normal glucose
metabolism and conversion of amino acids into protein. Continued
stress or frequent sugar consumption depletes the body of chromium.
A diet high in refined carbohydrates can also lead to deficiency
as the food processing removes much of the natural chromium
content. Other causes of depletion include infection, strenuous
physical exercise and pregnancy. Deficiency is implicated in
adult onset of diabetes. Impaired glucose utilisation can promote
sugar conversion to fats and cholesterol leading to obesity
Deficiency symptoms: excessive
or cold sweats, dizziness or irritability after 6 hours without
food (hypoglaecemia), need for frequent meals, cold hands, need
for excessive sleep or drowsiness during the day, excessive
thirst, addiction to sweet foods.
Selenium 45 micrograms (as selenomethionine) – Selenium (found in seafoods, liver and kidney and
in small amounts in other meats, grains and seeds) helps maintain
a healthy heart, eyes, liver, skin and hair. Part of the important
antioxidant enzyme Glutathione Peroxidase, giving the body protection
against cancer, premature ageing and degenerative diseases.
Needed for prostaglandin formation, involved in hormone balance.
Potentiates the antioxidant function of Vitamin E. Helps produce
CoQ10, required in cells to make energy. Selenium is particularly
vulnerable to loss during food processing and the low amounts
found in fruit and vegetables make this especially important
for vegetarians to supplement. Considerable loss of selenium
occurs in the seminal fluid. There have been indications of
a connection between inadequate selenium and Downs Syndrome.
Deficiency symptoms: family history
of cancer, signs of premature ageing, cataracts, high blood
pressure, frequent infections.
Degenerative diseases have three main causes:
malnutrition, incomplete digestion and internal pollution. These
are reversed by nutrient enrichment, improved digestion, and
An excellent, varied diet will provide these nutrients, and
will supply the many factors that enable proper digestion and
help to detoxify the body. Eat fresh, locally-grown, in-season
organic produce. Eat slowly and chew your food well. A healthy,
nutritional diet includes the following: