If I consume some vegetable oil, how much fish oil should I take to balance it out and for how long?

Answered on September 10, 2014
Created August 06, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Hi everyone,

I follow a pretty strict PHD-like diet most of the time, minimizing my omega-6 and getting enough omega-3. It consists of grass-fed beef, wild salmon, pastured chicken, sweet and white potatoes, bone broth, lots of coconut oil, ghee and vegetables, some olive oil and fruit, and no nuts or eggs (sensitive to both). I also supplement with 3.5 grams of DHA/EPA on days I don't eat salmon. So most of the time, my omega3-6 balance is dialed in.

But sometimes, I can't help it and treat myself to some potato chips or french fries. I know, it's not the smartest thing, especially since I still deal with some minor acne and asthma. And I understand you can't dig yourself out of a deep "omega-6 hole" by taking a bunch of fish oil, and I should just avoid bad oils no matter what, but I'm only human.

So my question is: how much extra fish oil should I take to balance out the extra omega-6 I might consume once in a while from industrial seed oils? And for how long? I was thinking I'd take an extra teaspoon for a couple days (each teaspoon has 1.75g of EPA/DHA). Or do you think I already consume enough fish oil and salmon on a regular basis that I don't have to worry too much about the extra omega-6? Any advice would be great. Thanks :)

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4 Answers


on August 06, 2012
at 05:08 PM

I'd not worry about the occasional deviation from your strict regime/diet. As long as it's the exception, not the rule, the damage is likely minimal (if any at all). If you do want to 'balance it out' you'll need to calculate how much O6 you gained from the veggie oil, and then add an appropriate amount of O3 to match whichever O6/O3 ratio you subscribe to. It'll be a lot of tedious work, which is why I'd not worry about it ;)


on September 10, 2014
at 01:10 PM

Personaly, I am very susceptible to acne, and I can link an outbreak very clearly to a major imbalance in my consumption of Omega 6 versus Omega 3. 

For example, I cannot eat chips, chocolate or avocados in large amount because I just can't seem to compensate even with sufficient Omega-3 supplementations. These three foods contains excessive amounts of O-6 in comparison to 0-3  (Chips 30-60:1, 70% chocolate 35:1, avocado 15:1).

Carrots, sweet potatoes and onions also have a bad ratio, but they do not contains nearly as much O-6 per 100g, making it easy in practice to "cancel" it out with supplementations or a good amount of delicious greens. 



on August 06, 2012
at 07:21 PM

Just go back to your normal routine the next day, if you are otherwise healthy the impact will be minimal. I don't think you can "balance" by adding more, when what seems to be the issue with n6 oils is exceeding a certain caloric threshold (4% or so is the number I've heard thrown around). The bad juju from the oil food is fried in in restaurants I think may have less to do with n6:n3 ratios, as it does with the processing and oxidization of the oils used, those are going to be inflammatory no matter how much fish you eat, but like I said above a healthy body can handle the occasional insult, so don't sweat it too much if this isn't routine.

I also don't think we need to worry as much about the ratio quite as much as we sometimes do if the oils are cold pressed, and served unheated because the vitamin E in the oil seems to be hepa-protective, and less inflammatory.


on August 06, 2012
at 05:10 PM

Omega-6s are essential to good health. Why worry about it? The added stress of focusing on your o3:o6 ratio is probably affecting your health more than the insignificant amount of extra PUFAs you're taking in.

If you're already supplementing with o3s regularly, don't even bother worrying about it. And btw, o3s and o6s compete for absorption in some ways.

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