Why the Ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is So Important
Over the last hundred years or so, the diet that is consumed by Americans has under gone a severe shift. Around the time of the industrial revolution, people consumed about the same amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In other words, the ratio was 1:1. After the industrial revolution new techniques in processing food lead to an increase in the consumption of refined vegetable and seed oils and other corn products, and this greatly increased the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids.
Before new food processing techniques the consumption of omega-3s and 6s was just about equal, but in contemporary times there are twenty to thirty times more omega-6 fatty acids that are consumed. This can have a number of negative effects on the public’s health. An imbalance in omega fatty acids greatly increases the likelihood of inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids are believed to induce inflammation, and this can increase the risk and intensity of a number of inflammatory diseases, like arthritis. It may also increase the risk of heart disease and other heart related ailments.
One of the more disturbing trends that accompany the omega-6-heavy diet is the occurrence of thrombosis and vasoconstriction. Thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms. Thrombosis may cut off the oxygen to a body part, and this can cause that part of the body to turn a dark-blue color before it dies. Vasoconstriction should also be avoided, because it can hinder the flow of blood. Vasoconstriction is when the blood vessels gradually constrict, and this can greatly reduce blood flow as well. This imbalance of omega fatty acids may also lead to a number of consequences within the nervous system, like dementia and depression.
Clearly it is important to provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids, and there is no better way to get omega-3 fatty acids than with than through your diet, by eating cold water fish and grass-fed meats. The problem with eating fish too often however is that sadly they contain high levels of mercury. For this reason, you may not want to eat fish more than once or twice per week. I supplement my diet with fish oil softgels. I also make sure to eat grass-fed meat about twice per week. When fed a diet of grass, the steer’s fat is higher in omega 3 than when fed a corn-fed diet that increases the omega 6.
There are brands of omega supplements that are better than others. Two great brands are Fundamental Earth and Nordic Naturals; they derive their fish oils from sustainable fishing grounds. For the people that don’t want to consume oils from fish, Nordic also has an algae based omega-3 fatty acid supplement called ProAlgen. Some of their omega-3 supplements are also fortified with nutrients like CoQ10, Vitamin D3, and omega-9 fatty acids.
It is essential that you make a conscious effort to balance your consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Over the last hundred years American diets have shift towards more omega-6 fatty acids, and this can lead to a number of health problems. Diets that contain significantly more omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation, cardiovascular ailments, and depression. Balance your diet by adding omega-3 supplements and meat that only ate grass and not grain.