The following information comes from a website with information that was published in 2003 by Dr. Cosmos Ho, who worked as a medical doctor and an entrepreneur in Newfoundland Canada.
Omega 3 / Omega 6 Balance
Degenerative diseases that involve fats prematurely kill over two thirds of the people currently living in affluent, industrialized nations. 68% of people die from just three conditions that involve fatty degeneration: Cardiovascular disease (43.8%), Cancer (22.4%), and Diabetes (1.8%). These deaths are the result of eating habits based on ignorance and misconceptions. Since we are natural biological organisms, we must attain, maintain and regain good health through natural approaches – through foods and lifestyles in keeping with the biological needs that nature genetically built into us. If we get the right kind of fats in the right amounts and balances, and prepare them using the right methods, they build our health and keep us healthy.
Throughout human history mankind has ingested an approximate equal proportion (1/1 ratio) of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. The Omega 6 and 3 are two of the forty-nine know essential nutrients. As essential nutrients they cannot be synthesized by the body, but must be ingested directly in foods or in the form of dietary supplements. The relationship of equivalence between the two Omegas is critical because they self – check each other in a delicate balance to regulate thousands of metabolic functions through prostaglandin pathways. Nearly every biologic function is somehow interconnected with the delicate balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3. Omega 3’s are intimately involved in the control of inflammation, cardiovascular health, myelin sheath development, allergic reactivity, immune response, hormone modulation, IQ, and behavior. A seemingly minor, yet major change in Omega balance dictated by dietary ingestion has absolute deleterious health effects. The rapid change in dietary fat ingestion within only the last 50 – 100 years has bewildered human biophysiology created to function optimally on equal proportions of dietary omegas.
Diets that provide Omega 6 oils at the expense of omega 3 stimulate pro-inflammatory pathways in the body. While Omega 3’s on the other hand stimulates anti-inflammatory pathways. As a result Omega 6 has been coined as “bad” and Omega 3’s as “good”. In fact both are essential for human health and its balance of the two in relation to each other that is important. Dominant Omega 6 in the body can create a situation that promotes chronic inflammation, propagation of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and auto immunity. The body’s inflammatory response is intimately regulated by Omega 3’s. The inflammatory response was created to respond to acute injury or microbial attack. However, if the inflammatory response is needlessly provoked, damage to tissue and organs of the body occurs. The reduction of Omega 3 in the diet of the industrialized nations has created a situation of chronic inflammation in these people. In this case, the symptom of inflammation precedes the disease. However, as inflammation leads to disease a vicious circle of inflammation of disease is formed.
How important is the balance between omega 3 and Omega 6?
A deficiency of Omega 3 is positively correlated with over 50 diseases and illnesses including the dreaded diseases of Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Stroke, and Arthritis. The so-called western degenerative diseases have risen in a near perfect linear fashion with the elimination of Omega 3, and the over-provision of Omega 6 in the food chain. In many regards saturated fats may have been ruled guilty by association as the genesis of cardiovascular disease appears to be more closely related to a rise in vegetable oil ingestation than it does to saturated fat. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that supplemental ingestion of Omega 3 greatly improves all of the 50 known Omega 3 deficiency conditions.
In a landmark study, Japanese researchers have discovered the leadings cause of westernized degenerative diseases in Japan, if not in the world. Their work has gone far to confirm the landslide of emerging scientific research which is beginning to reveal that the genesis of degenerative diseases is owed to a drastic reduction in the ingestion of Omega 3 in relation to increased ingestion of Omega 6. Their findings came after an exhaustive review of over 500 peer-reviewed studies and after accounting for all known and suspected causes for degenerative illnesses. Perhaps having the most impact are the words of the Japanese researchers themselves excreted from the study summary:
“We summarize the evidence that increased dietary linoleic acid (Omega 6) and relative Omega 3 deficiencies are major risk factors for western type cancers cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and also for allergic hyper-reactivity. We also raise the possibility that a relative Omega 3 deficiency may be affecting the behavioral patterns of a proportion of the young generation in the industrialized countries.” It is proposed that dietary intervention with Omega 3 supplementation and the reduction of Omega 6 in the diet could successfully reverse rising trend toward westernized degenerative diseases in Japan, and the world. The dietary transition to a westernized diet in Japan occurring in the last fifty years and the subsequent rise in degenerative disease is merely a microcosm of the transition, which occurred in the United States beginning with the Industrial Revolution.
A modern dietary shift unprecedented in human history favoring the ingestion of Omega 6 at the expense of Omega 3 if being owed as a primary, if not the leading cause of westernized degenerative diseases. In light of this information it is highly advisable to make conscious dietary choices to reduce the amount of extraneous Omega 6 in the diet and to ingest Omega 3’s in an effort to return the body to balance.
Click on the link below to read about the 50 modern diseases that positively correlate with an Omega-3 deficiency.