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By Dr. Keith E. Lewis
May 9, 2008

Recognizing clinical signs of essential fatty acid deficiency can be somewhat confusing to our patients and the public in general.  The commercial refinement of fats and oils has made lower availability of essential fatty acids in the diet; conversion of essential fatty acids in the toxic components and the blockage of proper or essential fatty acid metabolism.  Deficiency symptoms are commonly seen by doctors but may not be associated with essential fatty acid deficiencies.  Essential fatty acids with varying functions have characteristic deficiency symptoms as we see in a clinical setting.  There are a variety of different essential fatty acids that we as humans need to consume in our diet.  Our focus for this dissertation is on Omega 6 fatty acids which are gamma linolenic acid and Omega 3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid. 

The following signs of Omega 6 deficiency are listed:

    1) Growth retardation.
    2) Heart and circulatory problems.
    3) Poor wound healing.
    4) Loss of hair.
    5) Eczema or skin like eruptions.
    6) Liver or kidney degeneration.
    7) Behavorial disturbances.
    8) Excessive sweating with thirst.
    9) Susceptibility to infections.
    10) Sterility in males or miscarriage in females.

The following signs of Omega 3 deficiency are listed:

    1) Mental deterioration.
    2) Sticky platelets.
    3) Immune dysfunction.
    4) Tingling or numbness in the arms and the legs.
    5) Poor motor coordination or discoordination.
    6) Learning impairments.
    7) Dry skin or edema or swelling in the extremities.
    8) Poor motor coordination.
    9) High triglycerides.
    10) High blood pressure.

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