Omega 3 and Omega 6 are two important essential fatty acids (EFA).
Essential fatty acids are so-called for two reasons. They are essential
to life and health. You and I must have them. But our bodies cannot
I cannot overemphasize the importance of essential fatty acids in general and omega 3 and omega 6 in particular. Scientific research continues to link an impressive list of health problems to EFA deficiency and imbalance.
Omega 3 and omega 6 imbalance is responsible for many chronic heart conditions. We are concerned with heart disease. But you and I do not merely want to avoid heart disease. Our goal is optimal heart health. In order to build good habits to promote our optimal heart health it is imperative to look at the current subject. Let’s consider the following points…
Before we jump into it... Do you have any experience with Omega 3?Do you have an opinion you would like to share?
So many people take omega 3 for their heart health. Do you? Have you? Do you have a story or opinion?
Now is your chance to share it. And we would love to hear it. Please take a couple of minutes and tell us what you think! And you will get your very own webpage on this site!
Click here to give us your omega-3 story or opinion.
Here’s a question for you…
Are you sick and tired of just not
Are there health issues – in addition to your heart health – that concern you? Like…
Anxiety? Or not sleeping well? Or joint pain? Or low energy? Or poor digestion? Or weight gain? Or stress? Why do so many people suffer from these symptoms and others? Those nagging health issues that seem so difficult to define.
Did you know that these health problems – as well as more serious chronic diseases – can be the result of …
Many people have come to realize this and have made changes to recapture their health. We have a great – FREE – resource we want you to have. Simply click the link below.
Omega 3 exists in three forms. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in vegetable sources such as…
Less potent sources are…
Omega 3 is also found in two marine forms. They are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). They are found primarily in cold-water fatty fish such as...
Omega 6 also exists in several forms. The first is LA (linoleic acid) which is found in…
Two other forms of omega-6 are GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid). GLA is also found in plant based oils. ARA is found in many animal based foods.
These sources will become important as we learn about the health benefits and risks of omega 3 and omega 6. That’s right. There are benefits and risks.
We have noted that omega 6 is essential to health. In fact research has linked an impressive list of health concerns to omega 6. It has been suggested that omega 6 should be used in the treatment of…
But before you and I go loading up on omega 6 it is important to know that…
Since I live in the U.S. let me speak from home. The average American diet provides more than 10 times the proper amount of omega 6. Most of us are getting too much of a good thing. Why is that?
Linoleic acid (LA) is found in the primary oil added to most processed foods. (This indicates another reason to limit our eating of processed foods.) It is also found in the often used oils listed above.
Here is another important fact. Our bodies have the ability to convert linoleic acid (as well as alpha-linolenic acid) into longer chain fatty acids which lead to the production of eicosanoids. Eicosanoids depending, on their source, can have positive and negative influences on our bodies. They may…
That is the good news. On the other hand they may…
Generally speaking the eicosanoids produced by an overabundance of
omega-6 tend to produce the negative affects… not the positive.
So much for a happy ending.
But there is hope. We need to look at the other side of the equation...
Here’s the bad news. We are not getting nearly enough omega 3. The average diet is horribly deficient in omega 3 rich foods. Because of this fact we are at increased risk for a number of chronic health concerns.
Who gets enough omega 3? Well, Eskimos do.
In the early 1970's two Danish researchers observed that Eskimos had diets very high in fatty fish. They expected to find that these people would have high incidence of heart disease. In fact they found the exact opposite.
It was discovered that the blood platelets of Eskimos were not as sticky as those of their European and American counterparts. The researchers attributed this "non-sticky" characteristic to the omega 3 fatty acids consumed in the Eskimos' diet.
Further studies in the decades that followed brought increased knowledge of the effects of fish oils and especially omega 3 fatty acids. This includes…
That’s the good news. Who would have thought that a diet high in fat – not just any fat – would be good for us?
So next time you are in the artic circle why not have lunch with an Eskimo?
Lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids can increase the risk of heart disease. This is especially true with diets high in saturated fats. Simply put we are designed to receive a high intake of omega 3 fatty acids.
But we don’t.
Let’s look briefly at the data.
In a 1988 New England Journal of Medicine clinical, Weber and Leaf discuss the medical progress doctors have made in the research of EPA and DHA. These are the potent omega 3 fatty acids found in fatty fish.
The clinical refers to numerous studies and marked the beginning of many omega-3 clinical trials. Since then copious studies have verified that EPA and DHA inhibit high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These and other findings are consistent with the low prevalence of atherosclerosis in the Greenland Eskimos.
One such study found significant reductions of triglycerides and VLDL cholesterol (very low density lipoproteins) from the use of fish oil. These findings included individuals with both normal and high blood pressure.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (decosahexaenoic acid) are polyunsaturated fatty acids. They inhibit thromboxane2 and monocytes. These substances account for hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and coronary associated diseases each year.
The Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial was a study supported
by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Its design was to
investigate the effects of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on heart
The trial involved 22 clinical centers and nearly 13,000 men believed to be at high risk for heart disease over a period of 10.5 years. The primary result demonstrated that those subjects who ingested 664 mg of omega-3 fatty acids every day had a significant reduction in mortality. The results showed…
There are countless clinicals demonstrating that omega 3 (containing DHA
and EPA) is effective in lowering total cholesterol, blood pressure,
and inhibiting the production of atherogenitic lipoproteins.
We need a balance of omega 3 and omega 6
The World Health Organization recommends that polyunsaturated fats make up 3 - 7% of the energy in the diet. Experts advise that one should consume a minimum of 3% of energy from omega 6 fatty acids and between 0.5% and 1% from omega-3.
Research scientists recommend ratios varying from 5:1 to 10:1 omega 6 to omega-3. Some experts suggest a ratio of between 1:1 and 4:1 as being optimal. What are we getting? The current ratio in our diet is estimated to be 14:1 to 20:1.
It is this imbalance that helps promote so much heart disease today.
The first step in achieving a healthy balance is to minimize the use of oils rich in omega 6 fatty acids. Oils such as…
…are high in omega 6. Many margarines, salad dressings and mayonnaise
are made from these omega 6 rich oils. Also, many processed foods
contain these and similar oils. Check the labels.
The next step is to increase consumption of omega 3 rich foods. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in many vegetable sources. It is helpful in the reduction of heart related ailments. But it has been shown to lack the potency of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) for heart health.
High consumption of fish oils rich in omega 3 fatty acids has been shown innumerable times to reduce the risk of many heart conditions. So we need to eat more cold-water fatty fish.
Unless you really love fish – like our friends in the artic circle – it may be difficult to get enough omega 3. Also, high fish consumption raises the risk of metal poisoning – such as mercury.The third step
is to add fish oil supplements to your daily routine. Please get good ones. You don’t want any extra pollutants.
Remember, we aren’t merely trying to avoid heart disease. This site is about optimal heart health. There are many opportunities for us to build good heart health habits. Getting plenty of omega-3 is a great habit to begin.
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A Challenge For You!
People are making great improvements in their heart health.
How... are they doing it? By challenging themselves to change the way they eat. Really!
I have a challenge for you. It is my double dog dare.