The Importance of Optimizing the Omega-6
In the building blocks of biology, health and wellness, there are any number of things to remember to consider when making supplement or food choices. Of the most important ideas to understand is that of Omega-6 and Omega-3 and how their ratio plays a big role your body’s nutrition needs.
Why do Omegas matter?
To understand why they matter is to understand more about the compounds, themselves. Omega-6 and Omega-3 are both polyunsaturated fats. They’re called that because they have double bonds and Poly means “many”. Your body cannot make these Omegas on its own so we must get these from our diet. These essential fatty acids are different from most fats. While most are used for energy or stored, Omegas are biologically active, and they play different roles. Omega 3 has benefits like assisting in immune response, neuroprotection and circulation and Omega 6 can be beneficial in immune response as well as brain function and development. Of the many ways that Omegas influence the body, the effect on inflammatory response is the most notable.
What’s the deal with inflammation?
Inflammation is a body’s ability to encourage the immune and healing responses. Working with both of these systems, inflammation does have a role to play. In that regard, a small amount of responding inflammation is normal and healthy. However, when that response grows, becomes out of control or never-ending, the inflammation goes from “body’s little helper” to becoming a major catalyst to potential issues like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and some cancers.
This is where the Omegas come in. Science has found that a diet that has a more balanced ratio of Omega-6 and 3 is one that has a balanced control over inflammatory response and, therefore, has a positive result for those who include it in their diet and wellness routine. Getting Omegas is only part of the battle. It is important to get the right amount of them. What is an optimal Omega ratio? According to scientists and anthropologists, in pre-industrial eras, the typical Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio hovered around 4:1. In areas where fish was more readily available, that ratio was more 1:4. These diets were also utilized, then, by bodies which were very physically active and didn’t have things like fast food and high sugars. Today, the ratio of the western diet is believed to be around 16:1 or worse. With Omega 6 not being matched well by its counterpart of Omega-3, the skewed scale pushes for a hyper-inflammatory response by the body.
So, what is there to be done?
There are many ways to be sure to add a better Omega ratio back into your life. One way is to be sure to get plenty of good fruits, vegetables and healthy nuts and fats into your diet. Foods that are high in Omega-3 include: fish, Chia seeds, walnuts and flax. Those high in Omega 6 include sunflower, cashew, almonds and soybeans.When it comes to optimization, however, the most balanced options available in the local health food store comes from hemp. Hemp seeds, which have been available for decades, are the basis for the magic that is hemp seed oil and hemp seed protein options. Both products of the seeds have a balanced Omega ratio of 4:1 and are also rich in nutrients and fiber. While the oils can be easily added to dressings and gravies, the protein-rich ground seed powder is a staple in fine hemp protein supplements like Hemp Fuel. By being sure to have a well-rounded diet and including quality plant supplements that are rich in balanced Omegas is a great way to be able to boost the results potential of your health and wellness routine.
References: Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids.Biomed Pharmacother. 2002;56(8):365-379. doi:10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00253-6back to news