It is becoming better understood that we consume far too much of the essential fatty acid known as Omega 6, to the detriment of the other essential one – Omega 3. As with all things in nature both of these fatty acids are required in perfect balance to maintain a healthy body. They are called Essential because we cannot make them ourselves, we must get them from the foods we consume.
Many people in the fields of science, biology, chemistry, nutrition etc, with far more credentials than I could ever hope to have – have written extensively on this topic. My whole intention in writing this short blog post today, is to bring to your notice a series of links to papers which expound on this subject.
Before I post the promised links, perhaps (for the uninitiated) it will be beneficial to show, just where in our food chain, we get the Omega 6’s and the Omega 3’s. Yes I do know there are Omega 9’s, but at this moment they are not part of this discussion.
Keep in mind that the Omega 6’s are known for their inflammatory effect, while the Omega 3’s are known for their anti inflammatory response. When consumed in the correct balance as nature intended they balance each other out.
For general health, there should be a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The ratio should be in the range of 2:1 – 4:1, omega-6 to omega-3 — and some health educators advocate even lower ratios. The average diet provides plenty of omega-6 fatty acids, so supplements are usually not necessary. LINK
Generally speaking we find the Omega 6 fatty acids in seed oils, which are overly abundant in our food supply. The following list appears here.
|Grape seed Oil|
|Wheat Germ Oil|
The Omega 3’s are found as most of us know in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. There are also other Non-Fish sources as listed here.
It is not difficult to see how easy it is, consuming the modern / standard diet, to get far too many omega 6’s at the expense of the omega 3’s. The SIXES are found in just about every convenience food on the planet and are heavily promoted as being ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ by health agencies worldwide. This has probably done a great amount of harm to all who typically consume what has become known as a SAD diet. We need to become super sleuths to discern where in our personal food chain we maybe obtaining the majority of our Essential Fatty Acids, and make the necessary adjustments for health and longevity.
Now onto those promised links, which I assure you are well worth you perusing.
From Dr. Rath (Link)- a plethora of links to scientific papers on the health benefits of the Essential Fatty Acids (omega 3)
From David Gillespie – Oils Ain’t Oils: The irony is that there is no such thing as oil from a vegetable. The products being sold as “vegetable” oils are in fact fruit oils (coconut, palm, avocado), nut oils (macadamia, peanut, pecan) or seed oils (canola, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed, grape seed, rice bran). While the fruit and nut oils are relatively harmless, the seed oils pose a real risk to our health – and unfortunately they make up most of the “vegetable” oil in our food. It is now almost impossible to buy a packaged or takeaway food that is cooked in anything but a seed oil, and while some seed oils are unhealthier than others, they all contain damaging levels of omega-6 fatty acids.
From Bare 5 (link) – Avoid Industrial Seed & Vegetable Oils: that most industrial vegetable and seed oils are likely really bad for your health. They came into popularity early last century, and took off, particularly in the 1960s & 70s, when people were convinced of the supposed detriment of animal and saturated fat. As a result, many blame the increased rates of heart disease on these manufactured fats that replaced the more traditional fats eaten for most of human existence
From Kris Gunnars – Six Reasons why Vegetable Oils are Toxic: Many people perceive vegetable oils as healthy. Maybe it’s because they have the word “vegetable” in them. I mean… vegetables are good for you, right? So vegetable oil must be too…
From Prevention.com (Link) – Is Vegetable Oil Bad for Your Heart? : Despite the fact that they help lower cholesterol, the polyunsaturated fats in certain vegetable oils could still actually increase the likelihood of death from coronary artery disease, finds a new Canadian Medical Association Journal analysis of more than 20 studies.
As a closing thought- Soy Oil is listed in those high in Omega 6’s. I have found it nigh on impossible to purchase any processed product in the supermarket that does not contain Soy or soy by-products. This oil/plant material is in food, sweets, desserts, pharmaceuticals, factory farmed fish, grain finished beasts sold for human consumption, bread and pastries too.
When we think of soybeans in our daily diet, it is typically as tofu, veggie burgers, or other meat substitutes. But most of the world’s fast-growing soybean harvest is consumed indirectly in the beef, pork, poultry, milk, eggs, and farmed fish that we eat. Although not a visible part of our diets, the incorporation of soybean meal into feed rations has revolutionized the world feed industry, greatly increasing the efficiency with which grain is converted into animal protein. (Link)
Do your homework people, and see where you can reduce your intake of Omega 6, increase you intake of Omega 3, and attempt to bring your body back into a healthy balance as nature intended.
Chris Kresser has some excellent articles on how you might achieve this and why it is so important. Look Here.
Till next time, read, research and be a super sleuth… all for the best possible health you can achieve.