Thursday, June 15, 2017

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids – A Quick Explanation

If you are confused about the difference between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, you are not alone. Many health-oriented folks are aware that we need these fatty acids, but don't know the role that each plays in the body ... or how much of each we need.

So here's a quick explanation that might help: Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids both fall in the category called Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), which are fatty acids that our bodies need but which our bodies cannot produce. That means that we have to get EFAs from the foods and supplements we eat. Essential fatty acids are a necessary part of cell membranes and for our brains to function properly.

Getting Omega-6 fatty acids from the foods we eat is relatively simple. Seeds and nuts, plus oils refined from these seeds and nuts, all contain Omega-6 fatty acids. In fact, we tend to get too many Omega-6's from our regular diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, are much less available. These fatty acids can be found in blue-green algae, and coldwater fish such as salmon and sardines. This means we tend to get too few Omega-3's in our diets. The typical diet in this country has a much higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, fourteen to twenty-five times more, which leads to higher risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory states in the body. Some amount of omega-6s are necessary for growth of hair and skin, to keep bones healthy, in regulating metabolism and for their role in the reproductive system. There are also types of omega-6 that don't promote inflammation like many of them do. Linoleic acid for example becomes gamma-linolenic acid in the body and is then broken down to arachidonic acid and can be used to reduce inflammation. GLA has been found to actually help with allergies, eczema, high blood pressure, diabetic neuropathy, and osteoporosis. The trick is to get a good ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. In general to be healthy, you need 3 to 4 times as many omega-3's as omega-6's.

The Solution? 
Eating a diet such as the Mediterranean diet without a lot of meat and that concentrates mostly on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil is one way to get the right ratio. Eating more fish is an alternative solution. An even simpler solution is to add AFA blue-green algae to your diet. Each algae cell contains 4.1 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids and only 0.9 mg of Omega-6 fatty acids. Thus taking blue-green algae gives you the optimal ratio of these fats in your diet. According to Jeffrey Bruno, PhD., microalgae is the primary source of essential fatty acids in the food chain containing EPA (eicosapentaenoic), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). Adding AFA blue-green algae is one of the simplest ways to get the right ratio of fatty acids because this form of algae has the exact ratio of fatty acids the human body needs. The form of AFA with the cell wall removed is an especially abundant source of raw materials for enhancing activity in the brain with nutrients that can pass through the blood brain barrier and are necessary to feed the brain. AFA also has all the essential amino acids in a proportion nearly identical to that found in human breast milk, making it a complete and assimilable source of high-quality protein.

So don't avoid fat in your diet, just make sure you get the right types of fats. Your body and in particular your brain need those good fats. You just need to watch your diet and the ratio of the types of fats you are eating to support good health.



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Sources: 
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega6-fatty-acids
http://chriskresser.com/how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sick
Edible Microalgae, Jeffrey Bruno Ph.D.

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