It is known as vitamin F although it is not really considered as a vitamin itself. It is the vulgar name of the union of the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and the linoleic acid (THE).
Both elements are essential for the activity of the organism, and are specifically related to cognitive (brain) health and the cardiorespiratory system.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is linked to omega-3. Instead, linoleic acid belongs to the omega-6 group. They are present in foods such as cod liver oil.
Vitamin F was discovered in the 2nd decade of the tenth century, when the evolution of rats in fat-free diets was analyzed. From here, it was observed that the so-called vitamin F was the sum of ALA + AL and were essential for the body.
In this article we want to analyze the activity of vitamin F, the benefits of consuming foods that contain it and recommended dosage of consumption.
Functions of vitamin F in our body
Vitamin F is made up of 2 types of essential fatty acids (ALA and AL), and both are essential for our daily activity. Our body is not able to produce it, so we need to introduce it through food.
Both vitamin F compounds are essential for the following functions:
- It helps to make signaling compounds. ALA and LA are used to produce “signal compounds” that regulate blood pressure, immune system responses, blood clotting and so on.
- They are part of the cellular structure. ALA and LA, along with other fats, are part of the cellular structure and provide flexibility, being a main component of the outer layer.
- It intervenes in growth and development: alpha-linolenic acid is involved in normal growth, the organ of vision and brain development.
- They are transformed into other fats. ALA and LA can be transformed into other substances essential for our body.
With normal eating habits, it is very rare to suffer from a vitamin F deficiency. The lack of some of these fats favors hair loss, skin problems, poor healing and slowed growth.
Potential Health Benefits
Vitamin F consumption is linked to countless positive health effects. These fatty acids have the following benefits.
Benefits of Linoleic Acid
Linoleic acid (LA) is a primary type fat that perishes to the group of omega-6. It also has the ability to transform into other fats in your body.
It provides great potential benefits for our body when consumed in moderation:
- It can regulate the blood sugar level: several trials have yielded positive results with linoleic acid supplementation to control blood sugar level when consumed.
- May reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: A trial of 200,000 adults found that linoleic acid reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 14 percent when it replaced saturated fat intake. [See study]
- It can benefit cardiovascular health: in a study of more than 300,000 adults, intake of linoleic acid in place of saturated fats was linked to a 21% reduction in heart disease [See study]
Benefits of Linolenic Acid
Linolenic acid belongs to the omega-3 family, a group of fats offers many health benefits. In orgnaism, linolenic acid is also transformed into other beneficial fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.
All these fats provide many potential benefits:
- Promotes growth: pregnant women need 1.4 grams of linolenic acid daily to promote the proper development of the fetus.
- Improves mental health: Although research is still in the primary phase, those already conducted suggest omega-3 fats may improve symptoms of depressive states and anxiety.
- Reduces inflammation: the incorporation into the diet of omega-3 fats such as linolenic acid from vitamin F isLacionado with the reduction of inflammation processes in joints, digestive, respiratory and cerebral system.
- Improves cardiovascular health: Several trials have shown that moderate consumption of linolenic acid can reduce the risk of heart disease. The consumption of 1 gram of linolenic acid daily was related to the 10% decrease in suffering a heart attack.
Recommended vitamin F dosages and consumption
A healthy diet means that it is not necessary to supplement vitamin F (linolenic acid and linoleic acid). Some research believes that the ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3 in Western diets may be 20 to 1. This is not entirely positive, as it can increase the processes of inflammation and the risk of suffering from some type of heart disease. [Ratio omega-6 y omega-3]
Although it is difficult to establish a ratio between different types of fats, it is believed that the ideal omega-6 and omega-3 ratio is 4 to 1.
Foods rich in vitamin F
There are many sources of vitamin F and fatty acids that we can easily incorporate into our diet. However, we want to divide foods according to linoleic acid or linoleic acid.
Sources of linoleic acid
- Soybean oil: 7 grams of LA per tablespoon (15 ml).
- Olive oil: 10 grams of LA per tablespoon (15 ml).
- Corn oil: 7 grams of LA per tablespoon (15 ml).
- Sunflower seeds: 11 grams of LA per 28 grams.
- Nuts: 6 grams of LA per 28 grams.
- Almonds: 3.5 grams of LA per 28 grams.
Sources of linoleic acid
Animal products such as fish, eggs, and meat and dairy also provide ALA and AL but are mainly rich in other types of omega-6 and omega-3 fats, such as salmon oil.