Finding The Right Balance Between Omega-3 & 6 Fatty Acids In Your Diet

28 November 2017

Both omega-6 and omega-3 are essential fatty acids, that is fats our body cannot produce
from other substances. The balance of these particular fats plays a big role in modulating
cellular inflammation, heart health, and brain function.

Anthropological research indicates that ancient hunter-gatherers were free of the modern
inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, that are the primary
causes of death and morbidity today. Over the course of human evolution, there has been a
dramatic change in the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats consumed in the diet. This
change, perhaps more than any other dietary factor, has contributed to the epidemic of
modern disease. Diets were abundant in seafood and other sources of omega-3 long-chain
fatty acids, but relatively low in omega-6 seeds oils (ω-6/ω-3 ratio = 1:1).

At the onset of the industrial revolution (about 140 years ago), there was a marked shift in
the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Consumption of omega-6 fats
increased at the expense of omega-3 fats. This change was due to both the advent of the
modern vegetable oil industry and the increased use of cereal grains as feed for domestic
livestock (which, in turn, altered the fatty acid profile of meat that humans consumed).
Today, estimates of the ratio omega-6/omega-3 range from 10:1 to 20:1, with a ratio as high as 25:1 in some individuals. Soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils are the worst oils to use for a healthy diet; olive oil is, instead, the one to prefer, being rich in monounsaturated oleic acid and low in omega-6.

An excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids is scientifically proven to cause chronic
inflammation in human tissues, whereas a decent introduction of omega-3 in the diet
counterbalance omega-6’s adverse effects by competing for the same conversion enzymes.
Elevated omega-6 intakes are associated with an increase in all inflammatory diseases. The
list includes (but isn’t limited to):
* cardiovascular disease
* type 2 diabetes
* obesity
* metabolic syndrome
* irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
* macular degeneration
* rheumatoid arthritis
* asthma
* cancer
* psychiatric disorders
* autoimmune diseases

The question of how much omega-3 to eat depends in large part on how much omega-6 we
eat. Ideally, we should start limiting the omega-6 intake before augmenting the omega-3
with the diet or specific supplements.

The three most important omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid), EPA
(Eicosapentaenoic Acid), and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). ALA is mostly found in plants
(kale, spinach, purslane, walnuts, chia, flax and hemp seeds), while EPA and DHA are
primarily found in seafood (fish (salmon, anchovies, tuna, mackerel, shrimps), krill (very
small ocean-dwelling crustaceans), and algae). However, the human body has very scarce
efficiency in converting ALA into EPA and DHA.

Supplementing your diet with any of Vitality™ New Zealand Blackcurrant-based products will give you the right balance of Omega 3, 6 and 9 that your body needs every day. Start today!

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