Omega-6 and Omega-3 Ratio


Today, most people are eating way too many Omega-6 fatty acids.At the same time, consumption of animal foods high in Omega-3 is the lowest it has ever been.A distorted ratio of these polyunsaturated fatty acids may be one of the most damaging aspects caused by Western diet.

Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are called polyunsaturated because they have many double bonds (poly = many).Our bodies don’t have the enzymes to produce them and therefore we must get them from the diet.If we don’t get any from the diet, then we develop a deficiency and become sick. That is why they are termed the “essential” fatty acids.

However, these fatty acids are different than most other fats. They are not simply used for energy or stored, they are biologically active and have important roles in processes like blood clotting and inflammation.The thing is, Omega-6s and Omega-3s don’t have the same effects. Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while Omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect.Of course, inflammation is essential for our survival. It helps protect our bodies from infection and injury, but it can also cause severe damage and contribute to disease when the inflammatory response is inappropriate or excessive.

The problem today, is that people who eat a typical Western diet are eating way too many Omega-6s relative to Omega-3s. Not only are people eating much less Omega-3, but they are eating large amounts of processed seed- and vegetable oils, which are loaded with Omega-6.Due to fast pace of evolution in technology,these processed oils become abundant however,we have NOT had time to genetically adapt to these high amounts of Omega-6.The single most important thing you can do to reduce your Omega-6 intake is to avoid processed seed- and vegetable oils high in Omega-6, as well as the processed foods that contain them.

Animal foods are the best sources of the preformed Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.One problem today is that animals are usually fed grain-based feeds with soy and corn.This reduces the Omega-3 content, so the polyunsaturated fats in the meat are mostly Omega-6

Therefore, if you can afford it, grass-fed meat is definitely optimal. However, even conventionally raised meat is healthy, as long as it is not processed .Some conventionally raised meats like chicken and pork are particularly high in Omega-6. If you want to bring your intake of Omega-6 down as much as possible, then it makes sense to choose the leaner portions of those meats.

By far the best and healthiest way to increase your Omega-3 intake is to eat seafood once or twice per week. Fatty fish like salmon is a particularly good source. Wild caught fish is best, but even farmed is better than no fish at all.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to realize that this is a long-term process.

Most people are storing immense amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids in their body fat stores and it can take years to get rid of them.

This is a simple guide to optimize your balance of the Omega fats:


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