Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to human health and are only obtained through diet or supplementation. While omega-3s are abundant in oily fish, and recommended intake is achievable through consuming two servings of oily fish per week, more than 80% of the population is consuming far less omega-3 than recommended for healthy eyes, brain, and heart.

Balancing Omega-3 with Omega-6

Omega-3 is most effective when balanced with dietary omega-6 fatty acids, which are abundant in meat, poultry, and vegetable oils. Prior to the industrial revolution, human intake of omega-3 was much higher than it is now, and intake of omega-6 was lower, such that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the body ranged from 1:1 to 4:1. In diets that include increased plant-based oils and animal proteins high in omega-6 and low fish consumption, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 has increased dramatically, and is as high as 25:1, with an average ratio of about 16 to 20:1 (15-17) in favor of omega-6.

Omega-6 and omega-3 produce eicosanoids, signaling molecules that regulate blood pressure and inflammatory response. Omega-6 eicosanoids are vasoconstrictive and pro-inflammatory; meaning they increase blood pressure and promote an inflammatory response to infections. Conversely, omega-3 eicosanoids tend to dilate blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure, and modulate the body’s inflammatory response, among other important regulatory functions. The large increase in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is indicated as likely contributing to many chronic conditions, cardiovascular illnesses, and inflammatory disorders.

What Scientists Are Saying

Scientists measure the balance of these fatty acids with blood tests, providing patients with their Omega-3 Index and/or OmegaScoreTM. By assessing the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the blood, nutritional scientists can identify an individual’s risk for specific conditions, including sudden cardiac death, all-cause mortality, and age-related cognitive decline. Human clinical studies show that supplementing a diet with Nutriterra® Total Omega-3 oil can reduce the risk for poor health outcomes in as little as four weeks.

These details will be elaborated in our forthcoming white paper. Stay tuned!