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The Omega Thing is Stressing Me Out!

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  • The Omega Thing is Stressing Me Out!

    I continue to learn more and more but lately have gotten hung up on this omega 3/6 ratio. I hadn't really considered its importance before but now that I can track it on Cronometer I'm anxious about the ratio at the end of the day! Omega 6 is always higher and I'm finding it very hard to match with O-3. I take fish oil (sardine oil) equal to 2.5g a day. I eat fish every once in a while (salmon, tuna). I do not eat "quality" protein and thats because of cost. Single income family with 3 growing kiddos-can't do it. I do the best I can...but this ratio is a nightmare.

  • #2
    I can sympathize with that. It's difficult to get an ideal ratio and stay on the horse. I'm just so convinced that a decent ratio and mostl likely net-intake is critical to overall health I've forced myself into close to a 1:1 ratio.

    Some tips:

    -If you're an egg-eater but can't afford the expensive free-range eggs, at least get conventional flax-fed ones. They'll be a little more expensive but they'll have a much better ratio and will have a lot more nutrients in general
    -Perhaps add a plant-based omega 3 like chia seeds. Plant-based omega 3 is in no way a substitute for animal-based but it does have some utility in blocking the absorption of plant-based omega 6
    -Favor beef, wild fish and lamb over chicken and pork. I understand that a lot of people can't find/afford pastured stuff but even regular conventional beef is relatively low in omega 6 compared to other conventional animal products.
    -borage oil provides a lot of the same effects as EPA from fish oil with its GLA content.
    -ginger and green-white teas are effective in down-regulating inflammatory eicosanoid production and preventing peroxidation in tissues
    -if you must have nuts, make them macadamias.
    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!


    • #3
      Just try to do the best you can!

      Getting more O3:
      I do tinned herring and salmon, avocados and chia seeds and I think that is a great source for me. I believe the n-3:n-6 (O3 : O6) ratio of grassfed beef is 2:1. In grainfed its 4:1 (as I recall...?) so if you just get lean cuts of meat you wont be ingesting a lot of total fat. What I would do is just buy fat/tallow from a grassfed animal (I get it for like $2/lb) and keep the conventional meat lean. That way, youll still get the the benefits of eating grassfed fat (woot)!

      Getting less O6:
      Avoid all manufactured foods. Cook with tallow/butter/lard/coconut oil/avocado oil not veg oil/margarine. I would avoid nuts as they are generally pretty high in O6 (with exception of hazelnuts, macadamias and cashews).

      FYI the normal n3:n6 ratio for americans is like 30:1... so if youre even in the single digits I would call that a success!!!
      Life on Earth may be punishing, but it includes an annual free trip around the sun!


      • #4
        Expanding upon Tara's suggestion...

        I like grass-fed cow tongue. Cheap cheap cheap! And yummy. People are such snobs when it comes to their cuts.

        Just a thought.
        Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

        Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!


        • #5
          In my opinion it would be unrealistically difficult to reach a healthy omega 3/6 ratio through food. Supplemental O3 IMO is necessary for optimal health.

          Now, if you can handle the cost, you could realistically achieve a 1:1 ratio, but it would cost a but load, especially since you should be emphasizing a toxin -free high quality omega3 supp. But, for most, it won't happen. And that's totally fine.

          Because you're also minimizing inflammatory foods, ingredients, chemicals, additives, preservatives, pesticides, ect... You're minimizing your intake of polyunsaturated fats, and you should be living a healthy lifestyle.

          The o3/6 ratio is important, very important, but like most aspects of health, it is just one factor. So if you can't achieve the "perfect ratio", then improve other aspects of your life such as stress and sleep.
          In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!:


          • #6
            ARGH!!!! I am so confused. First PUFAs are good, then they are bad...what ARE they?!?!?! And what are examples of the food they are in???

            I read that o3 from animals is superior to supplements. where can I find the os6 ratios of all of the sources? If I am NOT taking a supplement and do not want to eat organs, what should I eat daily or weekly to achieve a better ratio?


            • #7
              I doubt anyone here thinks polyunsaturated fats, at-least in our modern society, are GOOD. Omega 3's are polyunsaturated fats, and they are great for you, but they don't make up the majority of intake of the American public. Most PUFAs are omega 6, and not so great.

              My stance on this is supplementation Buk, so maybe someone else can help you a little better.
              In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!:


              • #8
                I disagree that it is unrealistically difficult to reach a healthy omega 3/6 ratio through food. I do it daily. Lots of fish and only grass-fed beef.

                I'd say for most people, the trick is not so much to increase O3s but to limit O6s. This is a good start though you should probably ignore all plant-based O3s (flaxseed and such) as they're high in alpha-linolenic acid (aka, ALAs or 18:3) which is a polyunsaturated Omega-3.


                • #9
                  Oh and one more thing - you can't change your Omega 3:6 ratio overnight - it takes a long time and you should look at the big picture of your averages rather than obsess about the lipid profile of everything you put in your mouth.