Omega Fats : Omega 3 and Omega 6
Omega fats are ‘essential fats’ that the human body does not produce endogenously. This means that it is necessary to obtain these fats from dietary sources.
Not all essential fats are created equal
However, not all essential fats were creating equally. While both the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats need to be consumed, the ratio (rather than the quantity) of Omega 6: Omega 3 fats is of vital importance.
Omega 6 fats are inflammatory, whereas Omega 3 fats have an anti-inflammatory effect. Omega 6 fats are abundant in the standard western diet (SWD). However, the same cannot be said about Omega 3 fats. The human beings evolved with an Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio between (approximately) 4:1 – 1:1, whereas the SWD yields an Omega 6: Omega 3 of approximately 15:1.
Omega 6 and the pathogenesis of disease
The increased amount of Omega 6 about Omega 3s, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
An immense change in Omega fat ratios can be traced back to the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago. Before this, humans were hunter-gatherers and as such, only consumed fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and limited amounts of nuts. During the stone age, the Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio was as between 4:1 – 1:1. As we started to grow and harvest crops, our Omega 6: Omega 3 ratios began to decline and as such our health suffered.
Fast-forward approximately 9950 years and technological advances again cause a significant reduction in our Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio’s (i.e. our Omega 6 intake increased and our Omega 3 intake decreased), with the advent of vegetable oils. Vegetable oils have only been a part of our diet for the last century. Before this, the technology required to process the oil did not exist. Vegetable oils contain very high Omega 6 levels and very low levels of Omega 3. The Omega 3 fats that they do contain are mainly Alpha Lipoic Acids, which is the least beneficial source of Omega 3, with only a tiny percentage of ALA converted into the usable DHA and EPA Omega 3s.
Grass Fed Meat vs Grain Fed Meat
During the last century or so, livestock and meat production have undergone a paradigm shift of note. Motivated by greed, factory farming was implemented. Instead of having the ability to roam the pastures as nature intended, animals live in prison-like conditions, without access to the environment in which they genetically developed.
The result of this is that sickly animal that needs antibiotics to live long enough to be slaughtered. Not only are they fed antibiotics but instead of having access to grass, they animals are forced to feed grains. The result of feeding livestock grains is that the animals Omega 6: Omega 3 ratios change dramatically. Grass fed beef has an Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio of 3:1, conversely grain-fed beef has a 6:3 ratio of 10:1.
Best sources of Omega 3 Fats
Eating grass-fed meats as well as supplementing omega 3 fats with 1-3 grams of high quality fish triglycerides is recommended.