Archive for September, 2012

Omega 3 : omega 6 – the rise of chronic disease and illness

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

The human body can synthesise all fatty acids with the exception of omega3 and omega 6 . They are known as essential fatty acids or EFA’S they are the building blocks of cell membranes – brain tissue and nerve tissue – they are essential for the functioning of every cell in your body .They help protect against chronic health conditions and disease , they repair degenerative cells and ensure that the body is fuelled properly . The ideal scenario would be to have a ratio of 1:1 omega 6 : omega 3 this however as we shall see is not the case and the actual ratio in UK , USA , UAE and countries following a westernised diet maybe as much as 25 : 1 omega 6 : omega 3 .

To put this in perspective taking breast cancer as an example studies have shown that an excessive food based intake of Omega – 6( linoleic acid ) is linked to some forms of breast cancer , in subjects whose breast tissue contains high levels of omega-3 they appear to be less prone to this form of cancer which affects 1 in 8 women.

In order to maintain levels of these very important EFA’s you have to take them from food sources – what has happened in the last Century is that there has been an increase in the consumption of Omega 6 (linoleic acid) and a decrease in consumption of Omega 3 ( alpha linoleic acid )

Fats can be divided into two groups saturated and unsaturated fatty acids . Saturated fats are from animals sources , unsaturated fats are your omega 3 , omega 6 and omega 9 . Omega 9 is also known as Oleic acid .

Omega 6 is converted in your body into arachodonic acid (AA) Omega 3 is converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA ) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) the secret to good health is to have a balance between the omega 6 and omega 3 . Unfortunately in our modern diet we consume too much omega 6 and too little omega 3 and it is this inbalance that has resulted in so many of the health problems affecting the population . Part of the problem is the intense farming methods and what we feed animals on as well as that a lot of fish in fish farms are fed an artificial diet so the farmed fish contains less omega 3 than wild cold water fish which feeds on krill . The most common source s of omega 6 in our modern diet is sunflower oil , corn oil , groundnut oil , hemp , safflower and soya oils . These oils are used extensively in the modern food industry just look at the labels of the food you buy – bread , pizza, margarines , ready meals .

A diet high in omega 6 is one that is pro inflammatory – this is due to the fact your body produces more prostaglandins which promote inflammation – inflammation is what precedes disease and many diseases are aggrevated by inflammation ie arthritis , type 2 diabetes , IBD , psoriasis etc . With the western diet showing a ratio of around 25: 1 omega 6 (pro inflammatory ) : omega 3 (anti inflammatory ) it is easy to see what has gone wrong and why we have the increase in so many chronic conditions .

The simple solution is obviously to increase intake of the anti inflammatory omega 3 – EPA and DHA and decrease intake of the pro inflammatory omega 6 sunflower oils , corn oil etc . Very often the simplest way is for most people is to take an omega3 supplement however due to the clever marketing of the companies finding the right supplement is difficult .

You need a supplement that is high in active ingredients specifically EPA which is believed to be the most potent natural anti inflammatory . Takeomega3 has 800mg EPA per capsule which is far in excess of any other omega3 product on shelf – surprisingly the brands advertising 1000mg omega3 are only 30% active ingredients and the other 70% is fat which you dont need !! ., TakeOmega 3 is 90% active ingredients. Research has shown that for an omega3 supplement to be effective it needs to be 80% active ingredients none of the brands on UK shelves offer this . They label highest concentration , pure omega3 , 1000mg omega3 but at the end of the day they are lowin the active ingredients and as a result are not effective . Why waste money on a product that could be as much as 80% fat that you dont need ?

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