All about Omega 3 and Omega 6

All about Omega 3 and Omega 6

Omega 3 and omega 6 are a group of essential fatty acids that play important roles in the body. Your body does not produce them on its own. So, you need to get them from food and/or supplements.

Omega 3
Omega 3 is a fatty acid, most notably found in oily fish (examples include tuna, sardines, and salmon) eggs and seafood. Research has shown that consuming omega 3 decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s also a key structural component of the brain and is necessary for normal cognitive function. A type of omega 3, DHA appears to be important for the neurological and visual development of infants. It is known for being anti-inflammatory, which is why in some studies it has been shown to curb the stiffness and joint pain associated with Rheumatoid arthritis. Further studies indicate that omega 3 can help manage depression and ADHD.

Omega 6
This is also a healthy unsaturated fat. Just like with omega 3, omega 6 is essential and we need to get it from food or supplements. Omega-6 fats play an important role in regulating our genes and promoting immune health and blood clotting.  These fats can also help with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and dermatitis. Found in corn, nuts and seeds and soybeans. Also found a lot in processed food and fast food. They’re found everywhere in the body as they help with the function of all cells. Omega-6 fats play an important role in regulating our genes and promoting immune health and blood clotting.

The Problem
Westerners have an unbalanced ratio of omega 3 and 6. In general we have far more omega 6 than omega 3, most likely due to the high amount of processed food we eat. This ratio is estimated to be roughly 1:17. Studies suggest that consuming too much omega-6 could lead to health problems, for example: The arthritis foundation say that omega-6 fatty acids may trigger the body’s production of pro-inflammatory substances, potentially worsening symptoms in people with arthritis. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.

TDL test
If you believe you may have an omega 3 deficiency it may be worth getting a test done to see if this is the case. The Mews practice offers a test from TDL (The Doctors Laboratory). If you discover that you have a deficiency, you will know whether you need to modify your diet, and/or take supplements. Your symptoms will likely improve after you do this.

Nutrition advice
If someone is not getting enough omega 3, the best supplement is a fish oil. It will offer the highest available dose. Examples include cod liver oil or krill oil. For vegetarians or vegans, algae oil is another good option. It does contain less omega 3 than the fish oil though, so you may need to take a higher amount of it if you want to get the same benefit. Nuts can also be a good source, as can soybeans. Other foods containing a decent amount of omega 3 are eggs, certain vegetables like spinach and dairy products.

November 01st, 2022

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