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Fatty acids

When we look at the carrier oils employed in aromatherapy massage, we talk about vegetable oils, which are classified as lipids and are composed mainly of fatty acids.

aromatherapy massage fatty acids

Although this is an essential oil site, we have included this short page, since we thought that a basic knowledge on fatty acids may be interesting to our visitors, since they are contained in the carrier oils that we sell.

Fatty acids are the building blocks of fat in the body and in food, are a source of energy as well as constituents of cellular membranes.

The fatty acid molecule contains a fatty carbon chain as well as a weak organic acid and can either be saturated or unsaturated.

Saturated fatty acids aromatherapy massage

These fatty acids are normally solid at room temperature, and are mostly from animal origin. These saturated fatty acids, especially the long chained ones, are the ones that cause elevated cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDL).

It is also these fatty acids which we are advised not to consume too much of in our diet, since it can negatively impact on our health in general.

Unsaturated fatty acids aromatherapy

These fatty acids differ from their "animal cousins" since their structure is different, and are normally liquid at room temperature.

The carrier oils used in aromatherapy normally contain unsaturated fatty acids (except palm and coconut oils which are high in saturated fat) and are mostly poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Examples of these fatty acids are linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acid - all of them being essential fatty acids.

By their description alone, we can see that the body requires them for normal functioning and although they cannot be produced by the body, linolenic and arachidonic acids can however be synthesized from other nutrients, but linoleic acid needs to be taken in with your diet.

So, from a nutritional aspect we can see that the cutting out of all oils from your diet can severely impact on your general health.

Although scientific proof is lacking, it might also be a good idea to choose a carrier oil which is high in these unsaturated fatty acids as they in general are good for your health, and certain oils, such as evening primrose oil, which is high in linoleic acid as well as linolenic acid is used topically on the skin with good results in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), rheumatoid arthritis as well as weight loss.

Analysis of fatty acids in vegetable carrier oils used in aromatherapy Fatty acids essential oil aromatherapy massages

 

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