A guide to fatty acids for supporting joint health

Sep 22 2020Gill

A guide to fatty acids for supporting joint health

When it comes to aches and pains, you’re probably all familiar with the role that essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 can play. While these fatty acids definitely live up to the hype, today I’m going to look at a lesser known group of fatty acids – esterified fatty acids – and the role they could potentially play in easing joint pain! 

What’s the difference between EFAC and EFA?

The chances are that most of you can probably already name a few essential fatty acids (EFA) off the top of your head – take omega-3 for example! When it comes to everything from skincare to eye health and even to sleep, EFA’s are often part of the solution and, while this attitude is definitely merited, to focus solely on the benefits of EFA’s for joint pain ignores another vital group of fatty acids – esterified fatty acids (EFAC)!

So what exactly are EFAC’s? I’m glad you asked! EFAC’s are very similar to EFA’s in that both are derived from oils, but EFAC’s aren’t derived from essential oils like omega-3 or omega-6. Instead, EFAC’s are produced from the esterification of vegetable acid oils with glycerol and often contain a range of non-essential fatty acids,such as cetyl myristoleate.[1]

However, this certainly doesn’t impact their ability to reduce inflammation – as I will go on to discuss, it’s quite the contrary!

What are the benefits of EFAC’s?

What makes EFAC’S so good for joint pain? Well, for a start they’ve been identified as possibly our most potent natural anti-inflammatory[2], with numerous studies exploring their benefits! For a start let’s take a look at cetyl myristoleate (CM), arguably the most well-known EFAC.

This fatty acid is in fact related to omega-9 fatty acids and has been discussed in a variety of studies. One such study examined cetyl myristoleate as a treatment for osteoarthritis – it was found that mice that had natural levels of CM did not develop arthritis, even when researchers tried to induce the condition in laboratory environment.[3]

Of course, since this is an animal study the results should be taken with a grain of salt – after all, humans don’t always react the same way as animals. However, a human-based study in 2001 found that CM was able to help considerably when it comes to chronic arthritis of the knee. The study, which involved 64 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, utilised a controlled placebo group and found that those taking CM experienced a significant improvement after just 30 days![4]

Okay, so CM might have some merits when it comes to easing joint pain but what about EFAC’s as a whole? Well, once again referring to research, in 2007 scientists investigating knee osteoarthritis found that using an EFAC cream was able to greatly improve joint mobility in the knees![5]

Which supplements are best?

When it comes to getting EFAC, topical creams or supplements are usually the best way to go. One supplement in particular that’s been making waves recently is Celadrin. Celadrin is a supplement that usually contains a blend of EFAC’s and my favourite Celadrin supplement here at Jan de Vries is Hadley Wood’s Celadrin 500mg Capsules!

This supplement utilises a patented complex of specifically chosen esterified fatty acids to help lubricate the joints and relieve inflammation, improving mobility and reducing pain! This is a three-a-day dose so you’ll be getting around 780mg of these fatty acids. Don’t take my word for it though – this product’s 5 star rating speaks for itself!

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25865422

[2] http://www.nutritionalwellness.com/archives/2009/feb/02_fatty_acids.php

[3] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-400/cetylated-fatty-acids

[4] 7. Barathur R, et al. A fatty acid ester complex (CMC) improves quality of life outcomes in osteoarthritis (OA) patients. FASEB J 2001;15:A265.

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15088305