Within the fields of academic biology, medicine and nutrition the adjective ‘essential’ is used in three different ways:

  • The common usage of ‘‘must have’ or ‘cannot do without’ this or that nutrient if one wants to achieve good health. Many fatty acids are deemed ‘essential ‘ or ‘singly essential’ in this sense, including the ‘derivative’ fatty acids (see ‘EFAs – EFAs – Essential and ‘derivative’ fatty acids’ in The Contents Page )
  • Academic biologists, doctors, researchers and nutritionists sometimes use the adjective ‘essential’ as a shorthand for ‘this substance cannot be made by the human body’. There are two fatty acids considered ‘doubly essential’ – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA) – in that:

    • we cannot do without them if we want to achieve good health
    • they cannot be made by the human body

  • Finally, the adjective ‘essential’ is a synonym of the adjective ‘pristine’, meaning ‘in its original state’, ‘undamaged’, ‘untainted’, ‘undiminished’. If one wanted to only use the most whole, clean, vibrant ‘doubly essential’ fatty acids one would seek out those that:

    • have been grown organically (to both maximise nutrient levels and minimise toxic chemical pesticide and fertiliser residues) and
    • are raw (uncooked) and ‘raw’, i.e. have not been exposed to temperatures exceeding 49 degrees Centigrade/120 degrees Fahrenheit during processing (to minimise damage to nutrient levels)

If one wanted to emphasise the importance of using only the most vibrant, cleanest, least damaged ‘doubly essential’ fatty acids one might flag up these as ‘triply essential’.

(17637)   Nick Anderson. Green Health Watch Magazine 53    (22.12.2018)


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