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What is Vitamin F?

By Joyce Priddy
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Vitamin F is an outdated term for two essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6. These fats' primary function is to repair and create tissue in the body. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that they make up be 1 to 2 percent of the total daily caloric intake for adults. They also help with general metabolism, healing, and hair and skin growth.

People who bruise easily often have a shortage of essential fatty acids. Other signs of deficiency include scratches that are slow to heal, dull hair, and dry eyes. People with low levels of these substances can suffer from eczema or dry skin. They also aid digestion by helping the intestines produce bacteria for the digestion process.

Supplement capsules provide the FDA recommendations for vitamin F. The capsules generally need to be kept in a location that is dry, cool, and dark — too much light and heat can cause the fatty acids to break down, thereby making the capsules useless for the body. A refrigerator can be an excellent location to store this supplement. Consumers typically should check the supplement capsules to be sure the supplement offers both types of fatty acids. To reduce the number of different nutritional supplements taken daily, a person could look for a vitamin supplement that has vitamin F as one of its ingredients.

One way to increase the amount of fatty acids is to eat one or two servings of cold-water fish every day. Baked salmon or broiled trout are excellent sources of fatty acids. Other fish that a person could consider eating include mackerel and tuna.

Nuts are another potent source for fatty acids. A snack of unsalted sunflower seeds can be an excellent choice; walnuts can be eaten raw or used in recipes. For example, a person could sprinkle walnuts and sunflower seeds on a salad instead of croutons to gain his or her daily intake of omega-3s and omega-6s.

There are several oil supplements that could be added to the diet as well. Many of these supplements, such as grape seed oil, are available in capsule form. Evening primrose oil not only increases fatty acids but is also taken for other benefits.

Cooking oils, such as flax seed oil, canola oil, and walnut oil, add flavor to foods while providing an addition of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to the diet. By cooking in these oils, many people are able to lower unwanted cholesterol in their diets. The vitamin F in these oils helps the body properly metabolize and use fatty acids to decrease cholesterol problems.

Vitamin F is generally considered safe for daily consumption. It does not interact with most medications. A person should always consult with his or her health care provider when adding a nutritional supplement to the diet.

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Discussion Comments
By anon994848 — On Mar 13, 2016

Just a few notes:

Vitamin F is considered an "outdated term" because the term does not refer to a single chemical, and it does not refer to any amino (vital-amine) material.

The fatty acid substitution position designations should be read "omega minus three," "omega minus six," etc. Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and is being used here to mean "the other end." Nutritionists started using this terminology because it was believed that the position of the carbon-carbon double bonds (unsaturation) relative to the methy ("omega") end of a fatty acid cannot be changed by the human body, as the fatty acid chain is made longer or shorter. In fact, the human body can change the saturated stearic acid into the unsaturated omega-9 oleic acid. This makes it rather unclear whether these omega designations have any nutritional importance, and therefore whether "vitamin F" is in any way vital.

By anon298781 — On Oct 22, 2012

I was wondering, if the term vitamin F is an outdated term, why did I just read it in an item a few days ago?

By anon295841 — On Oct 08, 2012

Omega 6 and 9 are present in abundance in the rest of what we eat. Omega 3 is really the only one you might have to supplement. As for the fish debate: farm raised!

By CoffeeJim — On Oct 04, 2010

@MrPolitic, you hit the issue right on the head. Fish is a great source but way to dangerous.

As a medical doctor I always recommend to my patients that they use a multivitamin pill if they seek a specific dietary supplement. People also need to realize that even though vitamins like vitamin F can come in a pill form, there are many advantages to ingesting in as part of a meal as well.

For one, taking a vitamin pill in the morning on an empty stomach can be very nauseating as you body tries to cope with the very complicated chemical makeup of such diverse pill. There are also many other nutrients and sub-nutrients that compose actual food that never make it to the pill when ingested that way.

Please consider all your options and consult your medical professionals to make the best and most healthy choice for your body. In the end, Vitamin F intake is crucial, but so is the way that you get it into your body.

By MrPolitic99 — On Oct 04, 2010

@JoseJames, thanks for the great information on the hemp seed. I didn't realize that it was the same plant as cannabis or marijuana. The seeds really don't get your stoned?

Please take heed though. Your recommendation for using fish as a source of vitamin F omega-3 fatty acids is very dangerous and quite literally can kill you.

Despite the known fact that many fish can be poisonous or contain harsh toxins, eating too much fish can now lead to adverse health effects from too much mercury intake.

We have all heard the dangers of mercury poisoning so please take my warning and think about it when eating too much fish.

It is sad but because of all the high-contamination rates of our oceans the way they are we now have to seek alternative sources for vitamin f even though fish was once a huge source of it.

Eating fish can still be very healthy for one as long as the intake is not too great and done so in moderation. Fish and chips taste great but maybe a pill form of omega-3 fatty acids would be best. A multivitamin tablet can usually do best for this.

By JoseJames — On Oct 04, 2010

@anon111445, my favorite sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, or Vitamin F, is from fish and amazingly, hemp seed.

Hemp seed is a great and legal way to get the Vitamin F that the FDA recommends. Please don't be confused and think that the cannabis sativa plant seed will get you high like the mature female plant often called marijuana.

The hemp seed can be purchased legally here in the United States although you will find that the product is usually imported from Canada or somewhere far away as the production of hemp and cannabis are both illegal.

My favorite way to get the Vitamin F out of hemp seed is by baking it into bagels. The seedy and nutty flavor is very nice and compliments the toasted bagel and cream cheese combo.

By anon111445 — On Sep 16, 2010

Where can I get Vitamin F?

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