Omega 3 fatty acids have been recognized since the 1930’s as essential components for growth and health and must be sourced from food as they cannot be synthesized by the body.
Research since the 1990’s has given us much greater insight into their function, and defined their metabolic role, differentiating between the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and establishing a need for proper balance between the two groups.
The Omega 6 fatty acids are also necessary nutrients but western society, in particular, tends to ingest far more of these and the imbalance can lead to inflammation and disease. The preponderance of vegetable and seed oils in the western diet is primarily responsible for this excessive intake.
Studies conducted on populations such as the Inuit who consume a high proportion of Omega 3 rich foods (i.e. fish) demonstrate reduced atherosclerosis, heart rate, blood pressure and triglycerides.
Indications are that the Omega 3’s are less likely to create inflammation, as they are converted to eicosanoids in the body at a slower rate than the Omega 6, diminishing inflammatory effects. There is general agreement today that appropriate Omega 3 intake can have beneficial effects on heart health, and possibly alleviate other conditions such as arthritis and depression. Continue reading this entry »