15 November 2011

ratio n6 to n3

From Wiki (link)
"Some clinical studies indicate that the ingested ratio of n−6 to n−3 (especially linoleic vs alpha-linolenic) fatty acids is important to maintaining cardiovascular health. However, two studies published in 2005 and 2007 found that while n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are extremely beneficial in preventing heart disease in humans, the levels of n−6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (and therefore the ratios) were insignificant.

Both n−3 and n−6 fatty acids are essential; i.e., humans must consume them in the diets. N−3 and n−6 eighteen-carbon polyunsaturated fatty acids compete for the same metabolic enzymes, thus the n−6:n−3 ratio will significantly influence the ratio of the ensuing eicosanoids (hormones), (e.g., prostaglandinsleukotrienesthromboxanes, etc.), and will alter the body's metabolic function. In general, grass-fed animals accumulate more n−3 than do grain-fed animals, which accumulate relatively more n−6. Metabolites of n−6 are more inflammatory (esp. arachidonic acid) than those of n−3. This necessitates that n−3 and n−6 be consumed in a balanced proportion; healthy ratios of n−6:n−3 range from 1:1 to 1:4 (an individual needs more n−3 than n−6.) Studies suggest the evolutionary human diet, rich in game animals, seafood, and other sources of n−3, may have provided such a ratio. [Sounds a little like paleo to me! Anne's note]
Typical Western diets provide ratios of between 10:1 and 30:1 (i.e., dramatically higher levels of n−6 than n-3). The ratios of n−6 to n−3 fatty acids in some common vegetable oils are: canola 2:1, soybean 7:1, olive 3–13:1, sunflower (no n−3), flax 1:3, cottonseed (almost no n−3), peanut (no n−3), grapeseed oil(almost no n−3) and corn oil 46:1 ratio of n−6 to n−3."

I dunno. I myself try for a ratio of 5:1. Max.
Plus or minus 2 or 3:1
Somedays I am 2:1.
But that is rare!
Mostly, I just try to hit the broad side of the barn. 
I'm getting better!

Think of it like a faucet with hot and cold handles.
When one is turned up, it influences the other.
Most of us have way way way too much Omega 6!
The poor little Omega 3's never had a chance!

However - keep in mind that Omega 6's 
ARE also an Essential Fatty Acid.
Just not overkill!
I take a fish oil supplement
every day.... even sometimes on salmon days.
So the 100 days of fish / fish oil continue!

Thanks for reading - Hope this helps!
We are ALL learning together - Bloggers, 
Nurses, LoCarb, Low-Fat...
This is a huge amount of info
And WAY too important to miss!

Edited To Add:
A year later, I don't worry about any ratio 
Of Omega 6 to Omega 3.
I just try to keep all my PUFA's low - 
Around 4 to 5 % of the total diet....
Or 5 grams total intake, per day.
When the totals are this low, 
I can emphasise Omega 3,
But not stress too much about the Omega 6
That might sneak in somewhere.


  1. I will keep taking seal oil, eating fish, and hoping!

  2. Me too - ceptin it's real hard to find seal oil here.
    Just good old cod liver oil!


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