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.
The optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 3:1. The Standard American diet goes so far overboard with the omega-6’s that the ratio is more like 20:1. Even those of us that try to eat healthy and get omega-3 fatty acids in our diets don’t get off the hook. If you stock your diet with coldwater fish, chia seeds, dark-green leafy vegetables, various seeds, nuts, and flax and olive oil then you may be going overboard with your ratio in the favor of omega-3’s. Tipping the scales too far in the omega-3 direction can cause changes to body cells, allergies, a reduction in sexual drive or suppress the immune system.
Take a look at the types of food you eat. If you eat mostly from the Standard American diet then you are getting too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. The obvious solution is to cut down on the processed and fast foods and make sure you add some of the omega-3 foods into your diet each week. If you are getting too many omega-3’s in your diet, then we aren’t recommending you head for the nearest fast food restaurant, but instead add some hemp seed,sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and raw nuts to your diet. Gamma-linolenic acid which is an active form of omega-6 is available in hemp seeds and linoleic acid which is the inactive form is available from the raw nuts, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. When eating foods with linolenic acid, consuming foods with Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium will convert them to the active form.
The imbalance of too many Omega-6 fatty acids and too few Omega-3 fatty acids leads to problems. Why? Because hormones generated from Omega-6’s tend to cause inflammation in the body, clotting of the blood, and cell proliferation. The Omega-3 fatty acids have the opposite effect. When we get equal amounts of both types of fatty acids, our bodies stay healthy. But the modern diet gives us way too many Omega-6’s and too few Omega-3’s.
The solution? Eat more fish. A 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 can help rebalance these fats in your system.
This balance is important since inflammation from too much Omega-6 can lead to chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, many forms of cancer, asthma, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases.