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EFAs Menubar Essential Fatty Acids for producing local hormones

(3) Local “Hormones” (Eicosonoids)

 - “First Response Team” (Affects Inflammation/Pain, Muscles, blood pressure, clotting . . . )

EICOSONOIDS produced from EFAs are the Cell's “First Response Team”

If you are obtaining them - the 20-carbon-length EFAs (i.e. DGLA, AA, EPA) reside in the phospholipid bi-layer of the cell membrane and convert to eicosanoids (eico is Greek for 20).

Eicosanoids are local scouts sent out from the cell to report back what's going on outside in its immediate environment - they enable the cell to take appropriately balanced action in response to any existing trauma or “happenings”. Eicosanoids are similar to hormones,regulating and coordinating all cellular and body functions, but short-lived and operating only in their immediate locale.

The best known eicosanoids are prostaglandins, leukotrienes, thromboxanes and prostacyclins -Each  cell is able to control an appropriately balanced response to what is happening outside, by having a BALANCE of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in its membrane, competing equally for enzymes, which convert them to derivatives, and finally to eicosanoids.

Reporting prostaglandins PG-1. PG-3 and leukotrienes LK-5 derived from fatty acids DGLA or EPA, work in opposition to eicosanoids PG-2 and LK-4 produced by AA to affect how the cells of a tissue or organ respond.

Together they can:

✔ Increase or decrease inflammation and pain;

✔ Raise or lower blood pressure;

✔ Control uterine contractions;

✔ Dilate/Constrict blood vessels;

✔ Relax/contract muscles;

✔ Affect immune response;

✔ Affect blood clotting;

✔ Regulate nerve impulses, body temperature and fluid levels.

Phospholipase A2 removes Omega-6 or Omega-3 fatty acids from the cell membrane

Stimulated by physiologic events - the enzyme phospholipase A2 removes the Omega-6 or Omega-3 fatty acids from the cell membrane phospholipid bi-layer;

These fatty acids then compete for other enzymes, which convert them to eicosanoids - E.g. Adequate EPA reduces the amount of enzymes available for conversion of AA to Series 2 Prostaglandins and Series 4 Leukotrienes.

See: EFA Conversion Chart

From the EFA CONVERSION chart we can determine that for balanced prostaglandin and leukotriene production our diet needs to include:

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Magnesium, Zinc, vitamin B3 (Niacin) and vitamin C - needed by the conversion enzymes Δ6D and Δ5D.

-   Note that arthritics are deficient in all 3 cofactors required for the Δ6D enzyme - i.e. B6, magnesium and Zinc.

A balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids - since their presence affects the body's production of eicosanoids, such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes, we therefore need to attend to the following (and yes - I realize this logic is complicated, but it is what it is):

-   Consume LA and/or GLA (or DGLA for baby drinking mother's milk) - to produce the beneficial PG-1.

-   Reduce production of negative PG-2 and inflammatory LK-4, from AA, by either reducing AA consumption or countering its conversion to PG-2 and LK-4:

-   Since AA is the precursor to PG-2 and LK-4 we need to moderate AA intake directly from food or AA derived from LA, GLA or DGLA i.e. have a moderate consumption of AA from meat, dairy and eggs should be balanced by a source of EPA

 Consume ALA, SDA and/or EPA - providing EPA to limit/counter the production of PG-2 and LK-4 from AA.

  -    If not consuming marine-source omega-3 fatty acids - consume a balance of LA and ALA food sources and ensure a sufficiency of conversion enzymes: Magnesium, Zinc, and Vitamins B3, B6 and C.

-    For optimal brain/nerve/reproductive/adrenal function, consume sufficient DHA in marine oil (E.g. Wild Salmon Oil, Krill Oil) or consume ALA, SDA or EPA sources with sufficient zinc, B3 and C - to enable your body to either have or make DHA for your brain and nerve function.

EFFECTS of Prostaglandins (Series 1, 2 and 3) and Leukotrienes (Series 4 and 5)

The EFA Conversion chart shows some effects of prostaglandins PG-1, PG-2, PG-3 and leukotrienes LK-4; LK-5, helping us to realize the necessity for Omega-6 DGLA and AA to be present in the cell membrane in delicate balance with Omega-3 EPA.







Increase vasodilatation

Increase vasoconstriction


Decrease pain

Increase pain



Increase endurance

Decrease endurance




By competing for conversion enzymes COX and LOX these Inhibit:

Series 2 Prostaglandins

& Series 4 Leukotrienes

Increase oxygen flow

Decrease oxygen flow


Decrease cellular proliferation

Increase cellular proliferation


Prevent platelet stickiness

Create platelet stickiness (clotting)

Dilate airways

Constrict airways



Relax Muscles

Constrict Muscles

Increase urinary output

Decrease urinary output (fluid retentive)

Regulate Calcium Metabolism


“Series 4”


Improve Insulin Regulation


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