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Help with managing Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

The follow is an excerpt from an article whose link is http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18408140

"Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today's Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.... [These] studies indicate that the optimal ratio may vary with the disease under consideration.... A lower ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids is more desirable in reducing the risk of many of the chronic diseases of high prevalence in Western societies...."

I have been diligently tracking my foods using a chart recommended by Karen, the link to which is http://nutritiondata.self.com/mynd/mytracking/tracking-analysis Following a breakfast of all types of fruit (peaches, plums, cantaloupe, banana) and a lunch of 1/2 avocado and one beefsteak tomato, a dressing of turmeric/black pepper/warm olive oil and then a handful of almonds, my total Omega 3s are about 350 and my Omega 6s are a whopping 2881mg. I think the avocado did me in.

All of the websites I check indicate that the ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s should ideally be 3:1. I am basically a vegetarian/almost a vegan. What can I do to up my intake of Omega 6 fatty acids and improve my ratio using only food and no supplements?

Is anyone else interested in this?

Jill

upsofloating's picture
upsofloating
Posts: 473
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Jill, I include high omega-3 fish in my diet to keep numbers up- particularly salmon. Flax seed is another good source which I include in my cereal. I also include high omega-3 eggs occasionally for protein source as well. I can't quite get to going totally vegan as I try to balance all nutritional needs. Others may be much better at this :-)
Annie

culka's picture
culka
Posts: 158
Joined: Oct 2009

I check cronometer and every time, when I had Budwig mix, my ratio was 1:2 or 1:3.

And yes, you are right about avocado 2.3g omega6 and only 0.2g omega3.

We have to use flax oil, olive oil only with turmeric mixed.

Thank God I'm chemical engineer, now I'm checking iodine and potassium consumption.

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Dear Jill,

In Michael Pollan's recent bestseller, The Omnivore's Dilemma, he points out that only a century ago, the average American diet's ratio (given grass-fed cows as a source of meat and milk) was a ratio far favoring OMega-3s to Omega 6. (Sorry, can't recall the statistic at the moment.) He also notes that this healty ratio lessened so many chronic diseases and that the CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in meat and milk from grass-fed cows was in itself a protectant against cancer, depression, and a host of afflictions that now seem to besiege our nation.

The usual entreaties from alternative doctors is to ensure that our ratio is about 3 to 1.

Aside from supplementing with high quality fish oil (my integrative doctor has me taking two to three teaspoons a day) as well as occasional flaxeed oil or meal, the best way to improve your ratio is to decrease the sources of Omega 6: largely found in animal foods (esp inorgnic ones), processed foods (which I'm sure you're aware of), but even some foods that, like avocado--which I love--need to be eaten in moderation as they, too, are relatively high in Omega-6 acids.

Will try to find a good list of foods high in Omega-3s versus Omega sixes and post to our Board within a week.

Btw: Living in Philadelphia, I often take day trips to Manhattan. If you're ever free for lunch or an early dinner, would love to meet you--even if just once. Am so impressed with your posts and your writing (KNEW you were an editor or writer; your syntax gave it away immediately.)

Best,
Rosey

PrimeCortexMDPhD
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2012

Dear Jill :

Your dietary and health concerns regarding omega-6/omega-3 ratios is well founded, and forms the basis for many controversies in Food Science. The solid scientific data on the deleterious health effects, especially as inflammatory molecules, of omega-6's is irrefutable ! Equally as formable is the data base on omega-3's health benefits !!. There is no question that EPA and DHA are the two most important omega-3's for your heart health, anti-inflammatory effects on your joints, and especially DHA on cognition, memory and very importantly, brain growth and maturation, not to mention your eyes !

Now here's the REALLY serious truth and problem about the over saturation of the food market and the web about Flax seeds, and to a much lesser degree, Chia seeds. NEITHER DHA NOR EPA ARE PRESENT IN FLAX AND CHIA SEEDS !! The omega-3 present in both is alpha linoleic acid (ALA). The human body, in fact for that matter only females, below the age of about 35, can metabolically turn ALA into EPA. THAT"S A SCIENTIFIC FACT which is constantly ignored as you go to your health food store, think you are eating healthy and consume bread, tortilla chips, frozen waffles etc etc with whole or ground flax seeds. Furthermore only about 5 to 10% of the ALA your body absorbs actually is converted to EPA , in women. Pregnant woman especially need to have adequate intake of DHA for their developing fetus !

Trans-fats found in chips, cookies, cakes, margarine, and most processed foods will stop your body from converting the ALA to usable EPA. Eating too much Omega-6 from corn oil can also put the brakes on this conversion. Most Americans eat about 20 times too much Omega-6. Eating sugary candy or drinking alcohol can prevent your body from metabolizing flaxseed oil. The same thing happens with deficiencies in B-vitamins, magnesium or zinc. SIX out of 10 Americans are deficient in magnesium, an essential element in cardiac and muscle performance. So, if you are diabetic, have high blood pressure or are overweight, then your body cannot use flaxseed oil either. And again let me point out that if you are male or a female over the age of 35, then your body cannot convert ALA to EPA.

Whole flax seeds are indigestible by the human alimentary tract, so they do pass through and get a positive grade for participating in your fiber load. That's about it. Some web sights take about fractured flax seeds, or grinding them up first in a small coffee grinder. Remember, while this minimally makes a digestive difference, flax seeds rapidly oxidize and become rancid. when fractured. A friend of mine goes so far as to say, " ... the only thing flax seeds are good for is to make furniture oil ! "

Chia seeds are a far better whole food source, containing 19/20 essential amino acids, swell by 15X their weight in water absorption, recall those "fish egg " looking particles in commercial kombucha w/chia seeds, acting as a wonderful regulatory inducer, and they are loaded with
with protein, and other minerals and flavinoids. And the good news, the human digestive track can do just that w/ them. One additional comment here, Salvia hispanica L, the mixed black/grey and white Chia seeds have more nutritional value and ALA, not less than the "white " Chia seeds, which the Mealla brothers from Argentina try to sell as better. They named their Chia seeds Salba hispanics L in 1990's, combining the original botanical name Salvia with the Latin name alba for "white"!

The adequate intake of healthy usable omega-3's is a very difficult problem for vegetarians and veegins, especially to obtain adequate DHA, and EPA for that matter. Its very problematic, and although ALA is better than nothing, again as a male or a woman over 35, all the ALA consumption isn't going to solve your problem. A discussion for another time, Krill verses fish oil. Pregnant women and their developing baby need DHA !!

Jill I hope this was helpful to you , and will redirect so many individuals who think they are doing their body well, eating flax seeds.
And yes I agree .... they do make for a great furniture oil !

Respectfully;
PrimeCortexMDPhD.

PrimeCortexMDPhD
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2012

Dear Jill :

Your dietary and health concerns regarding omega-6/omega-3 ratios is well founded, and forms the basis for many controversies in Food Science. The solid scientific data on the deleterious health effects, especially as inflammatory molecules, of omega-6's is irrefutable ! Equally as formable is the data base on omega-3's health benefits !!. There is no question that EPA and DHA are the two most important omega-3's for your heart health, anti-inflammatory effects on your joints, and especially DHA on cognition, memory and very importantly, brain growth and maturation, not to mention your eyes !

Now here's the REALLY serious truth and problem about the over saturation of the food market and the web about Flax seeds, and to a much lesser degree, Chia seeds. NEITHER DHA NOR EPA ARE PRESENT IN FLAX AND CHIA SEEDS !! The omega-3 present in both is alpha linoleic acid (ALA). The human body, in fact for that matter only females, below the age of about 35, can metabolically turn ALA into EPA. THAT"S A SCIENTIFIC FACT which is constantly ignored as you go to your health food store, think you are eating healthy and consume bread, tortilla chips, frozen waffles etc etc with whole or ground flax seeds. Furthermore only about 5 to 10% of the ALA your body absorbs actually is converted to EPA , in women. Pregnant woman especially need to have adequate intake of DHA for their developing fetus !

Trans-fats found in chips, cookies, cakes, margarine, and most processed foods will stop your body from converting the ALA to usable EPA. Eating too much Omega-6 from corn oil can also put the brakes on this conversion. Most Americans eat about 20 times too much Omega-6. Eating sugary candy or drinking alcohol can prevent your body from metabolizing flaxseed oil. The same thing happens with deficiencies in B-vitamins, magnesium or zinc. SIX out of 10 Americans are deficient in magnesium, an essential element in cardiac and muscle performance. So, if you are diabetic, have high blood pressure or are overweight, then your body cannot use flaxseed oil either. And again let me point out that if you are male or a female over the age of 35, then your body cannot convert ALA to EPA.

Whole flax seeds are indigestible by the human alimentary tract, so they do pass through and get a positive grade for participating in your fiber load. That's about it. Some web sights take about fractured flax seeds, or grinding them up first in a small coffee grinder. Remember, while this minimally makes a digestive difference, flax seeds rapidly oxidize and become rancid. when fractured. A friend of mine goes so far as to say, " ... the only thing flax seeds are good for is to make furniture oil ! "

Chia seeds are a far better whole food source, containing 19/20 essential amino acids, swell by 15X their weight in water absorption, recall those "fish egg " looking particles in commercial kombucha w/chia seeds, acting as a wonderful regulatory inducer, and they are loaded with
with protein, and other minerals and flavinoids. And the good news, the human digestive track can do just that w/ them. One additional comment here, Salvia hispanica L, the mixed black/grey and white Chia seeds have more nutritional value and ALA, not less than the "white " Chia seeds, which the Mealla brothers from Argentina try to sell as better. They named their Chia seeds Salba hispanics L in 1990's, combining the original botanical name Salvia with the Latin name alba for "white"!

The adequate intake of healthy usable omega-3's is a very difficult problem for vegetarians and veegins, especially to obtain adequate DHA, and EPA for that matter. Its very problematic, and although ALA is better than nothing, again as a male or a woman over 35, all the ALA consumption isn't going to solve your problem. A discussion for another time, Krill verses fish oil. Pregnant women and their developing baby need DHA !!

Jill I hope this was helpful to you , and will redirect so many individuals who think they are doing their body well, eating flax seeds.
And yes I agree .... they do make for a great furniture oil !

Respectfully;
PrimeCortexMDPhD.

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