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Omega 3s and 6s

by Cody Barkhouse 4 years ago in health

It's all about balance!

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Everyone has heard of omega fatty acids! That’s the reason everyone is recommended to take some kind of fish oil. It’s to get these essential (which means your body can’t make them) fatty acids. I’m only going to talk about Omega 3 and 6 but there are 3, 6, 7, 9 but Omega 3 and 6 are the only ones your body can’t produce, they’re the most common and also the easiest to supplement and understand how they work! Like almost everything else in life, it’s all about the right balance when it comes to these 2 essential fatty acids, so let’s see what the deal is.

In the correct balance these amazing fatty acids have a number of benefits: Less joint pain, mood stability, a healthier heart, a better working brain and many more! Although, in the wrong balance (which is where most of us sit) they can do pretty much the opposite of all those things I mentioned above, which are all just symptoms you could call inflammation: sore and stiff joints, mental fog, a heart that isn’t functioning at 100%. Nobody wants any of these things but a lot of us have these symptoms and are so used to feeling this way that we think its “normal”…it’s far from it. Okay, so what do you have to do to get all the benefits? The simple answer is taking in more Omega 3 but we’ll dig a bit deeper for the sake of why.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are both needed in your body but there is a limit on how much of these your body can use, this causes them to compete with one another for the chance to get used in your bodies many processes. Without getting too technical, Omega 6 fatty acids are inflammatory (but still needed so don’t be afraid!) while Omega 3 are anti-inflammatory so too much Omega 6 can lead to all kinds of problems which is why the correct ratio is needed for everything to run smoothly! The ratio is ideally going to be 1:1 (1g of Omega 6 to 1 g of Omega 3) BUT with this misinformed, low fat craze and the extreme use of hydrogenated vegetable oil in most food items that get mass produced, the average person’s ratio ends up being closer to 10:1 or even 15:1(Omega 6 to Omega 3)! This is terrible for our bodies! Having Omega 6 levels that high will contribute to many metabolic diseases and inflammation; chronic joint pain, onset of heart conditions if this is continued for a long period of time (along with other unhealthy lifestyle habits), unstable moods, mental fog during the day and many more. It is very likely that you get enough Omega 6 in your diet from the foods you eat and the oil you cook your food in so I’m not too worried about that. What I am concerned about is that everyone is getting the right amount of Omega 3!

There are 3 kinds of Omega 3 fatty acids ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid). ALA is the only one your body cannot make on its own (it’s an essential fat!) and your body can use ALA to make DHA and EPA but it only produces small amounts this way so including foods rich in DHA and EPA will benefit your overall health. The foods that contain the best amounts of Omega 3s are somewhat specific but the best way for your body to take in and absorb pretty much anything is through the food you eat! The most common foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids are cold water fish (such as herring, anchovies, wild caught salmon etc.), seeds (such as hemp seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds), and there are also trace amounts found in eggs and other varieties of seafood. Incorporating these foods (particularly the fish) and getting proper amounts of Omega 3 and reduced amounts of Omega 6 will generally make you feel better all-around but the purity of most fish oil supplements is questionable at best, whole food sources are always the best option.

Quick Tip! A great way to check the purity of your fish oil capsules is to put them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes and if the oil looks cloudy, those are all the fillers that are freezing because we all know that pure oil doesn’t freeze, if the capsule is clear you are good to go! High purity usually means high price as well, FYI.

This is not intended to be medical advice. You should always consult a licensed physician before taking any new supplements.


Cody Barkhouse

A martial artist and health nut living in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Operating out of Motiv Fitness and obsessively researching everything health and wellness related with a focus on increasing performance through nutrition and supplementation!

Read next: A Walk With Moldavite, the Stone That Fell to Earth

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