Module 6 - Fatty Acid Balance
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MO: What are the big ideas for fatty acid balance?
1. Healthy fatty acid imbalance is epidemic, leading to musculoskeletal issues, endocrine issues, cardiovascular issues, immune issues, allergies, skin problems, depression, etc.
2. Inflammation can be effectively managed with nutritional therapy, therefore reducing healing time.
MO: What two fatty acids are essential to the body?
- Linoleic Acid (LA, precursor to all Omega-6 fatty acids)
- Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA, precursor to all other Omega-3 fatty acids)
MO: What roles does dietary fat play in the body?
- Provide a source of energy.
- Are important in the make up of cell membranes.
- Are necessary for healthy liver function - building healthy cholesterol and bile.
- Are required for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins - A, D, E, K.
- Are required for the adequate use of proteins.
- Serve as a protective lining for the organs of the body.
- Play a role in slowing the absorption of food for proper energy regulation.
- Are imperative to managing the inflammatory process.
- Make food taste good.
MO: How is the healing process impacted by a diet low in Omega-3 and Omega-6?
- The body inflames to heal before it anti-inflames.
- To control inflammatory function, the body needs the ability to both inflame and anti-inflame.
- There are 3 groups of prostaglandins that control this process, and all are conjugated from Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
- A diet low in O-3 and O-6 will have impaired ability to inflame and then anti-inflame, and will thus have an impaired ability to heal.
MO: What primary cofactors do you need to consider when balancing prostaglandin formation?
- Digestion---has to be working, so fats are appropriately emulsified.
- Proper Liver Function---has to be working to be capable of making the enzymatic conversions.
- Enzymes (including Delta-6-Desaturase)---the appropriate nutrients (amino acids, B6, magnesium, zinc) need to be present for the production of enzymes.
MO: Describe the functional evaluation for fatty acid deficiency.
- 1. Oral pH
- - A general test for Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) need.
- - A client whose oral pH is below 7.2 is a good candidate for EFA supplementation and further testing for EFA deficiency.
- - Oral pH should be checked at least 30 minutes away from any food or beverages.
- - There are other factors that can effect oral pH, such as gum disease or poor mineral reserves. However, particularly when taken several times during the day and averaged, this is a good fatty acid measurement.
- - Instruct the client not to eat or drink anything within 30 minutes of the appointment.
- - Tear off a 2 inch piece of pH test paper. (Make sure you don’t put the end of the paper you touch in the client’s mouth.)
- - Have the client moisten the paper with saliva and allow you to pull it out of the mouth with their lips apart.
- - Compare the test strip to the chart as quickly as possible.
- A pH of 7.2 to 7.4 is sufficient.
- 2. Repeated Muscle Challenge
- - Fat is the primary energy source of the muscle in an aerobic state, while blood sugar is needed for the muscle’s anaerobic function.
- - In the Fatty Acid test, we simulate an aerobic condition in the muscles using a “repeated muscle challenge”.
- - This challenge involves a simple, normal muscle test repeated 20 times at a rate of once per second.
- - Joint is positioned in such a way that the muscle to be tested is shortened.
- - Practitioner applies pressure to the joint to lengthen the muscle until a “locking” is noted.
- - This is repeated up to 20 times at 1-second intervals.
- - A positive result (meaning there’s an EFA deficiency) occurs when a “locking” of the muscle and joint does not occur.
- - Initial screening should include a postural and non-postural muscle.
- - If the client fails the repeated challenge, lingually stimulate the client with different forms of fats and fat cofactors until s/he passes the test.
- If client fails non-postural but passes postural try folic acid.
- If client fails postural but passes non-postural try iron.
- No Deficiency – 20 or more reps
- Mild Deficiency – 15–19 reps
- Moderate Deficiency – 9–14 reps
- Severe Deficiency – 0–8 reps
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