Vitamin F (Essential Fatty Acids)

Vitamin F, also known as essential fatty acids, is an important part of our diet. Essential fatty acids are building blocks of fat and are what they say they are...essential. Our bodies do not produce EFAs so they have to be part of our daily diet.

There are 2 types of fats:

  1. Saturated-found mostly in animal foods such as fatty meat, lard butter, sausage, and cheese; also found in palm kernel oil and coconut oil

  2. Unsaturated-found mostly in fatty fish and plants such as avocados, nuts, herring, and salmon

Essential fatty acids fall into the unsaturated group and are known as polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are 3 types of polyunsaturated fatty acids and you will, no doubt, recognize at least two of them. They are omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9. Omega-3 and omega-6 are considered essential. They cannot be produced by the body so we have to make a point to eat the foods that contain them. Omega-9 is considered non-essential because the body can make it from other fatty acids.


  • Promotes healthy skin

  • Quiets the nerves

  • Reduces high cholesterol

  • Reduces blood pressure

  • Activates the thyroid gland

  • Aids in reproduction

  • Aids in the prevention of arthritis

  • Reduces the risk of blood clots

  • Necessary for development and normal function of the brain

  • Necessary for development and normal function of the eyes

  • May have anticancer properties

Foods that provide vitamin F

  • Almonds

  • Walnuts

  • Cold-pressed vegetable oils

  • Pecans

  • Peanuts

  • Wheat germ

  • Avocados

  • Fish like salmon, herring

  • Fish oils like cod liver oil

Herbs that provide vitamin F

  • Red Raspberry

  • Slippery Elm

  • Black currant oil

  • Flaxseed oil

  • Primrose oil

  • Borage oil

Signs of deficiency

  • Problems with prostate gland

  • Tight, aching joints

  • Brittle nails

  • Dry skin

  • Dull hair

  • Severe colds

  • Build-up of cholesterol in the arteries

  • Contributes to mental disorders

  • Contributes to diabetes

  • Contributes to PMS

  • Contributes to immune dysfunction

  • Contributes to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis

Research shows

  • Omega-3 components, EPA and DHA, may be useful in treating depression and other mental disorders. Disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive impairment, and behavioral and learning disorders, have been linked to EFA deficiency.

  • GLA, a component of omega-6, has demonstrated anticancer effects, both alone and in combination with drug therapy, such as tamoxifen.

Use caution

  • Check with your physician before taking fish oil if you are on blood thinners as it also thins the blood. Continue eating fish, though, as it is a valuable source of essential fatty acids.

  • Do not rely on cod liver oil for ALL your EFA intake. It is high in vitamins A and D and taking more than the recommended amount could cause toxicity.

Essential fatty acids play an important role in our overall health and not having enough can affect many areas of our lives. Eat the good fats and enjoy them knowing they are building a better you!

Engel, P., & Raederstorff, D. (2010). Essential Fatty Acids - NUTRI-FACTS. Retrieved July 10, 2020, from

McColl, J., BSP, MSC, MH. (2019, February 12). An Introduction to Essential Fatty Acids in Health and Nutrition. Retrieved July 10, 2020, from

Hovis, B. S., ND, MH, CCII. (n.d.). Nutrition-Vitamins and Minerals. Retrieved July 10, 2020, from