Useful, interesting information about the Zone Diet plan.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Understanding Eicosanoids

Understanding eicosanoids and their function in the body is vital to understanding why the Zone Diet works. Here's a great article on the subject from Dr. Sears...
Strange, mysterious, and almost mystical, eicosanoids are the key to our health because they control the flow of information in our Biological Internet. Why are eicosanoids so important? They were the first hormones developed by living organisms more than 550 million years ago. As such they can be considered "super-hormones" because they control the hormonal actions of other hormones. Furthermore, you don't have an eicosanoid gland since every one of your 60 trillion cells can make eicosanoids.

Even though they are earliest hormones (dating from 550 million years ago), eicosanoids only were identified in the 20th century starting with the discovery of essential fatty acids in 1929. It was found that if fat in the diet was totally removed, rats would soon die. Adding back certain essential fats (then called Vitamin F) was found to enable fat-deprived rats to live. Eventually as technologies advanced, researchers realized that essential fats were composed of both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids that both needed to be obtained in the diet because the body could not synthesize them. The word eicosanoids is derived from the Greek word for 20 which is eicosa, since all of these hormones are synthesized from essential fatty acids that are 20 carbon atoms in length.