Today, our Western diet, has skewed that ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) to between 15:1 and 16.7:1.
So what does that mean?
Current research tells us that Omega-6 fatty acids are the cause of many of our Western diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The researchers believe this for a few reasons.
1. Because of how Omega-6 fatty acids are broken down by your body, they are more likely than the Omega-3s to produce pro-inflammatory ‘eicosanoids‘. In fact, many of the drugs used to treat and manage these conditions work by blocking the effects of the potent Omega−6 fat, Arachidonic Acid,
2. The eicosanoids made from Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly anti-inflammatory.
3. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids have to compete with each other in order for them to be transformed from fatty acids into eicosanoids. So, when the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 was 1:1, it was a fair fight. Now that it is 15 or 16:1, the Omega-6s win the fight and the result is increased inflammation and disease.
That’s Very Bad.
So What Do I Do?
Increase your consumption of Omega-3 foods and supplements and reduce your consumption of Omega-6 foods and supplements.
It would also not be a bad idea to discuss this plan with your doctor. Especially if you are taking drugs for any condition that may be affected by Omega-3s and Omega-6s.
Omega-3 Foods & Supplements
- Cold Water Oily Fish (be aware of mercury levels)
- Fish Oil, Krill or Omega 3 Algae Supplements (Third Party Purity testing required)
- Flax Seed, Flax Meal and Flax Oil Supplements
- Omega 3 supplemented Eggs
- Grass fed Beef or Lamb
Omega-6 Foods & Supplements
It’s not hard to find foods high in Omega-6 in our Western diet. Here are some of the worst offenders.
- Cooking Oils – sunflower, safflower, corn, cottonseed, and soybean
- Egg yolks
- Grain fed meats, particularly organ meats
- Farm raised fish
- All manner of processed foods
Keep in mind, Omega-6 is not all bad. The problem is that due to the type of foods we eat, we have thrown the balance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 completely out of whack.
What Happens If I Take My Fish Oils?
- You may reduce your risk of the eye disease – age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- You may reduce your risk of asthma and allergies.
- You may reduce your risk of clogged arteries, even if you have other risk factors for heart disease.
- You may prevent diabetic complications such as: myocardial infarction and stroke due to atherosclerosis, retinopathy, end-stage renal disease, debilitating neuropathies, poor wound healing, enhanced risk of infection, and periodontal disease.
- You may reduce your risk of memory loss and stroke in your old age.
- You may improve your cognition and memory while helping to fight against such mental disorders as depression and mood disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia.
What Happens If I Don’t?
The opposite of above.