The importance of micronutrients - Women's Health and Fitness Magazine





Essential fatty acids (EFAs)

Put your Einstein hat on; this is trickier than reversing into an angle car spot: omega-3 types EPA and DHA are synthesised from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The body can’t synthesise its own ALA, or cousin linoleic acid (LA), so you need to get it from food or a supp. But here’s where you need a calculator: EFAs compete for the same enzyme, so an abundance of one EFA may cause a diminished metabolism of the other. Fortunately, most good-quality fish oils provide the correct ratio. No wonder it’s called brain food. 

CARE FACTOR: Typical Western diets tend to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause imbalance and inflammation. Collins recommends fish oils “to make skin glow, increase brain power and development, as well as reducing joint pain as an anti-inflammatory”. Deficiency can result in dermatitis, acne, dry skin, brittle hair, joint stiffness/pain, respiratory infections, and varicose veins, and recent research links high intakes of fish and omega-3 fatty acids to decreased rates of major depression. 

ON THE DAILY: The Australian Heart Foundation recommends about 500 mg/day of DHA and EPA and 2 g/day of ALA to lower coronary disease risk. 

McGrice recommends looking for the highest percentages of EPA and DHA. 

ON A PLATE: ALA: flaxseeds (linseeds), walnuts, walnut oil and canola oil; LA: nuts, seeds, soybeans; DHA/EPA: oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and cod. 

SABOTEURS: If you’re on anticoagulant medication such as aspirin and warfarin, be wary of high doses of EFAs. 



Winter Sign

Brain fog, dull skin 


Dry skin and hair


Vitamin A, B3, B6, E, bioflavonoid, magnesium, selenium, zinc.


Anticoagulant meds


Take these morning and night with food. If you’re taking EFAs for joint pain, it is best to take them in the evening to assist your joints in repairing throughout the night.