The most important thing that determines the inflammation level in your body and your wife’s body and your kids body and your friends’ bodies, is likely to be the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats.
Here’s the "bare bones" reason.
Currently the average American and most Westerners have Omega 6 to 3 ratios of about 10 to 20 to 1. They should be closer to 1 to 1 or even more in favor of Omega 3, making that ratio less than 1.
What this translates to, is that the bulk of the population is walking around in a chronic sterile inflamed state. What does that mean?
It’s sterile, because it’s not caused by bacterial or viral infection, in most of us. It’s chronic because it’s been going on “forever”, since most of us were kids. Remember those kids’ cereals we used to eat? I recall the ones with several hundred calories and tons of carbs (sugars). Add in a few more teaspoons of sugar and consume 3 times the serving size.
I'm not sure what the actual counts of calories and carbs were, but in a single meal we could consume 800 calories and 250 grams of carbs, much of which was table sugar. OK, you may be thinking, what does this have to do with the Omega 6/3 ratio and inflammation in the body?
Well, that cereal with the added sugar, was the prototype of an Omega 6 rich food.
Many of us grew up carbohydrate poisoned.
You see kids doing it all day, everyday, with their dietary choices and those provided by their parents.
It all starts in childhood.
Read that again: Chronic Total Body Sterile Inflammation starts at a very young age because of the diet we eat.
Now what does inflammation do?
- Prematurely ages the body
- Prematurely ages the brain and may lead to Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s as well as stroke
- Prematurely ages the joints and affects the development of arthritis
- Shortens the biologic time clocks known as telomeres
- Ages Stem Cells and impairs their ability to repair tissue
- Ages the liver and pancreas and may accelerate the development of Type 2 Diabetes which is now an epidemic
- Alters our immune system in a negative fashion
And that is a short list.
Another area, where it is obvious that this low Omega 3 and high Omega 6 situation has a negative effect, is in bone density. Osteporosis and osteopenia are the fancy medical terms for loss of bone mass, as we age. While it’s clear hormones have a big role in this, so do the Omega 3 fats.
Data from a giant health study known as the “Women’s Health Initiative” suggests that the risk of fracture is related to how much Omega 3 and 6 you have in your body.
They report: “These results suggest that higher RBC α-linolenic acid, as well as eicosapentaenoic acid and total n-3 PUFAs, may predict lower hip fracture risk. Contrastingly, a higher RBC n-6/n-3 ratio may predict higher hip fracture risk in postmenopausal women.”
This is a scientific way of saying you’re better off with a healthy Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio.
If you’re already on fish oil, wonderful. If not, you should start now so we don’t have a bone to pick with each other.
Having a high enough Omega 3 level in your body, is critically important as a starting place to better health and probably longer life as well. Try our newest liquid supplement, Wild Red Fish Oil. It makes great tasting smoothies.
J Bone Miner Res. 2013 Mar;28(3):505-15. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.1772.
The association of red blood cell n-3 and n-6 fatty acids with bone mineral density and hip fracture risk in the women’s health initiative.
Orchard TS1, Ing SW, Lu B, Belury MA, Johnson K, Wactawski-Wende J, Jackson RD.