What are fatty acids?
Fatty acids are important for all systems of the body to function normally, including your skin, respiratory system, circulatory system, brain and organs. The come in both essential and non-essential forms. All Omega-3 fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids (EFA’s) because your body can’t synthesize them on its own, therefore, they must be attained through your diet, and or the use of dietary supplements.
What are some important essential fatty acids?
Arguably, the two most important Omega-3’s are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While fish has always been their primary food source, consuming enough fish to meet the minimum dietary requirements of these two EFA’s, has proved problematic for many reasons. First, whether due to growing concerns over environmental toxins in fish, dietary restrictions, or other reasons, most people don’t consume enough fish daily. Secondly, the Omega-3 content of fish varies, and is dependent on how fatty the fish is, and whether the fish are farm-raised or wild caught.
Are all essential fatty acids the same?
In short, the answer is no. While you hear way more about Omega-3’s, the other subtype of EFA’s are known as Omega-6. While both Omega-3 and Omega-6 are important for things like brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation, they need to be consumed in a balanced ratio to attain and maintain optimal health. However, the modern day Western food supply is both abundant in processed foods, which are loaded with Omega-6, and simultaneously deficient in foods rich in Omega-3’s. Both of these factors significantly contribute to throwing off their consumption ratio.
What is the Optimal Omega Ratio?
The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids should be between 2:1 and 4:1. However, current estimates put the ratio at about 16:1(Simopoulos, 2006).
Why is the Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio so critical to optimal health?
Some Omega-6 EFA’s may promote inflammation when they aren’t kept in check, and this imbalance can lead to a whole host of chronic health issues. Signs of an Omega-3 imbalance/deficiency can include, fatigue, poor memory, immune imbalance, dry skin, eczema, and hair loss, cardiac related problems, poor circulation, reproductive problems in both men and women, and mood swings or depression. Maintaining a balanced ration also ensures proper eicosanoids production. Eicosanoids are compounds similar to hormones, and influence virtually every major body system. They play roles in the inflammatory response, help maintain proper blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and promote fluid nerve transmission.
How do I balance correct my Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio?
First, you’d want to decrease your intake of Omega-6 linoleic acid, specifically. This means eating less processed foods that contain ingredients such as soybean, corn, and safflower oils, as well as less dairy, eggs and meat, if your diet is heavy in those foods. Simultaneously, you’d want to significantly increase your Omega-3 intake through supplementation with a supplement like AstaMatrix.
Are all Omega-3 supplements the same?
Unfortunately, no, they aren’t. Issues with ‘counterfeit’ supplements aside, all products are formulated very differently, and thus have differing levels of purity, potency, and ultimately absorbency, the latter of which is also known as bioavailability. Several factors, including age, poor diet, alcohol consumption, low levels of certain vitamins and minerals, some prescription drugs, compromised immune status, and a diet high in saturated and/or trans-fatty acids (meat, dairy, fast food, fried food, baked goods, and processed foods) can ALL decrease the absorbency of Omega-3’s. Therefore, taking a supplement with superior bioavailability, like AstaMatrix is crucial!