Biochemists, nutritionists and other scientists have determined that an ideal omega ratio is a balance between 1:1 to 1:2 of omega 6 to omega 3. Multiple sources show that the standard American diet (s.a.d.) has an omega ratio of 6:1, with some estimates as high as 20:1. Why is this ratio so important? While it is true that both fats are essential, proportionately higher levels of omega 6 fatty acids in the diet trigger systemic inflammation. Inflammation is your bodies natural response to damage and is meant to heal and protect the damaged area. However the inflammatory process itself causes a huge drain on your immune system and creates metabolic end-products that need to be excreted from the body.
Systemic inflammation means that your bodies immune system is constantly taxed because it is trying to repair all of the chronic damage that is cause by the omega 6’s in your diet, which has spread its effects to all areas of your body; joints, bones, organs, blood vessels, skin, muscles, including the heart, connective tissues, ect. It is well understood that systemic inflammation is usually involved in diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, irritable bowl syndrome, high blood pressure, some cancers, memory and cognition related disorders, autoimmune diseases and other health related issues such as acne, menopause related symptoms, migraines, general aches and pains, poor recovery and increased susceptibility to colds. Need I go on? The bottom line is that in order to avoid disease and achieve optimal health, unnecessary inflammation is to be avoided like the plague. Proper intake of omega 3 can heal existing inflammation and moderate the levels of omega 6 to prevent future inflammation.
Convinced yet? You need to be taking an omega 3 supplement no matter your health status, age or gender. Similar to the multivitamin, any drugstore brand fish oil will be sufficient. But with everything, you get what you pay for. There are high quality, purified fish oils that are available in higher concentrations, but at a higher price. You can expect to spend between $10 to $40 for a bottle of fish oil. I recommend buying the biggest bottle you can afford right now. Buying in bulk is the smartest choice for fish oil (keep it in the fridge), and many other supplements. Recommended brands include Jarrow Formulas, Kirklands, New Chapter, Cormega, Carlsons and NSI.
The general dose for most people is 2-4 grams of DHA/EPA (keep reading what that means). Note; Better brands will allow you to get this dose with 1-5 pills. If your bottle of fish ooil requires you to take 6+ pills to hit this dose, it’s probably not a pure or concentrated enough formula. Taking many pills in one sitting may seem ridiculous, but can be remedied by spreading out your doses with each meal. Liquid fish oil is available and often has much higher concentrations that the pills do. Although liquid fish oil is available in fruity flavors, some may have a hard time swallowing it. Be careful when determining how many pills of your particular brand you need. Just because the label says 1 gram of fish oil, it might not all be from omega 3 fatty acids. Additionally, just because the label says, for example, 800 mg of total omega 3’s, some brands use fillers. What you really want to go by is the amount of DHA and EPA. It is not uncommon for a 1 gram pill to have just 300 mg of DHA+EPA. So you would need 3 pills to equal just under a gram of true omega 3. This is not a daunting process, it just requires a little bit of initial investment to determine how many grams you need, and how many pills you need to take daily. Once this has been determined, all you need to do is simply remember to take them every day.
More Reading: Learn more about how omega 3 fatty acids work in the body here
PS – Taking an herbal based anti-inflammatory is often just as good as supplementing with fish oil. As long as your dietary fats are balanced, tumeric and curcumin products will work very well for you.