Omega 3 6 and 9 fatty acids are unsaturated fats, which have long been considered healthier than saturated. Of the unsaturated fats, some are healthier than others. Basically, it is all about balance.
Some of the omega-3s and 6s are the only truly essential fats. Scientists deem a nutrient essential when it cannot be produced by the human body, so they must be present in the foods that humans eat.
The problem, according to numerous researchers, is that the typical American diet is imbalanced. People get too many omega-6s and not enough omega-3s. Since the American diet is becoming popular in other industrialized countries, this could be a worldwide problem.
The imbalance is a long-term health problem. It can take years for the health effects to become noticeable, although becoming overweight or obese is one effect that may be seen in the earliest years of a person’s life. Studies have shown that many diseases are directly related to unhealthy diet.
Consequences of imbalance
Measuring blood lipids or fats is one way to “see” the problem. Too much saturated fat or too many omega 6s will cause high LDL or bad cholesterol levels and low HDL or good levels. LDLs are bad because they clog the arteries. HDLs are good, because they help to remove LDLs from the bloodstream.
The underlying problem caused by imbalanced intake of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids is inflammation. The two fats compete for conversion into pro-inflammatory or less inflammatory hormones. Inflammation is what lies at the root of diseases like arthritis and cancer and makes your body look and feel older than it really is. So if there’s one thing you need to do to improve your health and well being, it’s to fight off inflammation from taking roots in your body.
How to avoid
Some omega-3s are believed to have anti-inflammatory activity, although the anti-inflammatory effect has only been scientifically proven when studying certain kinds of fish oil. Fish oil supplements are among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
The omega-3s called DHA and EPA are only found in some kinds of fatty fish and fish oils. EPA and DHA are essential for normal brain development and function. They are essential for good heart health, as well.
Some companies claim that a supplement containing balanced amounts of omega 3 6 and 9 fatty acids is the best choice. That might be true if a person’s diet were already balanced. The whole point of supplementation is to correct the imbalance. So, omega-3s are really the only supplement you need.
Although there are many dietary supplements on the market, fish oil has become the most popular in recent years as word about the benefits has spread. It is hoped that taking the supplement will correct the omega 3 6 imbalance and improve people’s long term health. This single nutrient group can be much more effective than taking multiple vitamins and other supplements. Just make sure to choose a quality fish oil.