Balancing the amount of Omega-6 to Omega-3 in our diets is essential for reducing inflammation and maintaining overall health. Unfortunately, the typical North American diet is heavily skewed towards Omega-6, with a ratio of over 20:1. This imbalance is a major contributor to the chronic inflammation that is at the root of many of the diseases we face today.
Eicosanoids are a class of signalling molecules that play a key role in the inflammatory response. They are produced from the essential fatty acids found in our diet, specifically Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. The balance between these two types of eicosanoids is critical for maintaining a healthy inflammatory response.
When we consume too much Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3, we tip the balance towards pro-inflammatory eicosanoids, which can lead to a chronic state of inflammation in the body. This inflammation has been linked to a wide range of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's, dementia and more.
One of the key ways to balance the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio and reduce inflammation is by increasing our intake of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), an Omega-3 fatty acid that has been shown to be particularly effective at reducing inflammation. EPA works by competing with Omega-6 fatty acids for the same enzymes that produce eicosanoids. This competition leads to a shift towards the production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, which can help to reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
In addition to increasing EPA intake, there are several other strategies that can help to balance the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio, including:
Balancing the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio is critical for reducing inflammation and promoting overall health. By increasing our intake of EPA and other Omega-3 fatty acids, while limiting our intake of Omega-6, we can help to shift the balance towards anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, which can help to reduce chronic inflammation and the risk of many diseases.