Omega 3 vs Omega 6

Are you confused about omega 3 vs omega 6? How much do you need? And what is omega 3? With all the emphasis on low fat diet, fats have become a controversial and confusing topic. The fact is, good fats are involved in every function of the life process. Good fats help to transport nutrients from food and supplements to the cell. This helps not only the cells but the organs, the brain, the skin and even moods.

Living in a fat free world can actually create imbalances in the body. Those who think that low fat diets are good, need to know that we need fat to burn fat.

The challenge lies in that most people are eating the wrong kinds of fat and in doing so health issues arise.

Some fats can be manufactured in the body but some must be supplemented by diet.

Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids are commonly referred to as omega oils.

Essential - these things can not be made by our body, they must come from foods in our diet. Therefore they are essential just like vitamins and minerals.

Fatty - there is a fatty component to these compounds

Acid - There is an acid component to these compounds.

Now you are probably thinking, "I'm eating fat and acid, how can that be good for me?"

There are 2 types of essential fatty acids:

Lineolic acid or omgega 6 and

Alph-linolenic acid - omega 3

The important factor of omega 3 vs omega 6 is getting them in the right ratio.

If omega 6 is higher it can lead to:

  • Heart attack
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Obesity

Also when omega 6 is too high the body has a harder time using omega 3.

What prevents the body from using omega 3?

  • Highly processed foods
  • Trans fats
  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Sugar
  • Some prescription drugs
  • High grain consumption
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

What depletes EFAs?
Increased ingestion of toxins in our water, air and food
Lack of breast feeding.

We also lack essential fatty acids due to not eating enough foods that contain them and because, heating, cooking and freezing destroys them.

Omega 3s are found mostly in fatty fish, see omeaga 3 rich fods and omega 6 are found in nuts and seeds, the oils made from them and in unhealthy refined oils and all the packaged and processed foods that contain them.

Omega 9 is not an essential fatty acid as the body is able to produce it, provided there is enough omega 3 and omega 6.

omega 3 vs omega 6

It is found in

  • Olives and olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Pecans
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Sesame oil

Ratio of omega 3 vs omega 6

There are many different opinions on the correct ratio of omega 3 vs omega 6. Studies have shown that it used to be 1 to 1 for earlier mankind.

Dr Andrew Weil believes that for every 2 omega-6 fatty acids we consume we should be consuming at least one omega-3. He states that it is estimates that in America most people are eating a ratio of 20 to 1 or even 40 to 1.

Dr Kim Balas states that most research on Omega 3s being increased to 4 to 1 shows a 70% decrease in total mortality. A ratio of 2.5 to 1 shows a reduction in cancer cell proliferation in colorectal cancer. It is essential to increase our omega-3 intake and decrease omega-6 intake.

Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve brain function
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Improve cell membranes
  • Improve depression, and bipolar tendencies
  • Protect against Alzheimer’s

However, the secret lies in not only replacing saturated fats with healthy fats monosaturated fats and omega 3s, but by also eliminating sugar and high-glycemic carbs. By correcting the underlying problem of insulin resistance, triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels drop drastically. 1

Also with healthy fats in a meal or snack, the stomach stays fuller longer and so blood sugar will rise more slowly. Find a complete list of omega 3 rich foods. An essential fatty acid supplement should be of highest quality, high in EPA and DHA as poor quality can use fish that are high in mercury.

Find the

best fish oil supplements 

1. Strand, D. Ray, MD Healthy for Life, Developing healthy lifestyles that have side effect of permanent fat loss (Rapid City, SD:Real Life Press 2005) 173.