2

votes

Question about omega 3-6 balancing

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 01, 2012 at 11:16 AM

When people talk about their omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, are they comparing recommended percentages (RDA?) of each, or the actual grams? In other words, would a 1:1 ratio equate to, say, 3g of omega-6 and 3g of omega-3? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm fairly new to this.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on November 03, 2012
at 10:42 AM

I just read this whole article, plus comments. Very helpful, and especially enlightening to me as a vegan. Thanks for sharing.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 01, 2012
at 05:43 PM

If you wade through the comments, you'll see Chris' reply to one of my comments. He's modified his thinking about the importance of the O6:O3 ratio and the harms of getting O6 from foods. Based on other statements he's written more recently, I infer that he's more concerned with the absolute amount of O3 we eat and just eliminating O6 from industrial seed oils. I wish he'd update the main article you link to so his readers would have some explicit guidance.

81181cab058dd652659e4bb2e6f25843

(528)

on November 01, 2012
at 03:04 PM

I too am skeptical about the daily limit on PUFA. I need to be presented with a reason why eating an arbitrarily large amount would have any adverse affect as long as they are not oxidized. sorry for the use of arbitrary....again.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on November 01, 2012
at 02:54 PM

It matters, yes. PUFA are very easy to oxidize, so some experts say that you should keep your total intake down. Overloading with O-3 won't compensate for eating too much O-6, especially if you're still eating industrial oils. http://paleozonenutrition.com/2011/05/10/omega-6-and-3-in-nuts-oils-meat-and-fish-tools-to-get-it-right/

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on November 01, 2012
at 11:34 AM

It is a ratio, so total grams are irrelevant. However, outside of the context of a ratio, total grams of PUFA probably do matter, but the RDAs recommendation is also irrelevant. What matters is the ratio in context with the rest of your diet

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on November 01, 2012
at 11:33 AM

It is a ratio, so total grams are irrelevant. However, outside of the context of a ratio, total grams of PUFA probably due matter, but the RDAs recommendation is also irrelevant. What matters is the context of the rest of your diet.

  • 0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

    asked by

    (1237)
  • Views
    1.7K
  • Last Activity
    1403D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

5 Answers

best answer

1
F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on November 01, 2012
at 02:15 PM

Your omega-6:omega-3 ratio should be measured in grams, not RDA.

Also, there are three forms of omega-3: EPA, DHA, and ALA. For various reasons, EPA and DHA are more beneficial than ALA, so what really matters is your ratio of omega-6 to EPA and DHA. ALA can be converted to the other types, but in humans, this conversion is extremely inefficient. Here's an excerpt from Chris Kresser:

While ALA is considered essential, the long-chain EPA & DHA are responsible for the benefits we get from eating omega-3 fats, and they form the denominator of the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. A common misconception is that we can meet our omega-3 needs by taking flax oil or eating plant foods containing ALA. It???s true that the body can convert some ALA to EPA & DHA. But that conversion is extremely inefficient in most people. On average, less than 0.5% of ALA gets converted into the long-chain EPA & DHA, and that number is even worse in people that are chronically ill or have nutrient deficiencies (common in vegans and vegetarians). [Source]

This means that flaxseed (and flax-based supplements) are considerably less effective at balancing your O3:06 ratio than seafood (and seafood-based supplements).

4
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 01, 2012
at 12:05 PM

Talk of ratios deal with absolute quantities not RDAs. Consuming 10 grams O6 and 3 grams O3 is a 3.33:1 ratio.

Folks like to advocate for extremely limiting PUFA intake (pick some arbitrarily small number), but that doesn't make logical sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Humans ate plenty of non-ruminant non-coconut fat, PUFAs are always there.

81181cab058dd652659e4bb2e6f25843

(528)

on November 01, 2012
at 03:04 PM

I too am skeptical about the daily limit on PUFA. I need to be presented with a reason why eating an arbitrarily large amount would have any adverse affect as long as they are not oxidized. sorry for the use of arbitrary....again.

2
D7854f42e1c1d92f22b3903cd5d4a438

on November 01, 2012
at 01:59 PM

What Matt said, it's grams:grams.

Some people believe that our ancestors naturally had a more balanced ratio then SAD people today. In order to produce a more balanced ratio you can either limit O6 or increase O3. Most people tend to try and reduce O6.

Interesting study about O6:O3 ratios: http://ebm.rsmjournals.com/content/233/6/674.long

1
4886d3390cb1de913ecc198e72cc072c

on November 01, 2012
at 05:01 PM

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 01, 2012
at 05:43 PM

If you wade through the comments, you'll see Chris' reply to one of my comments. He's modified his thinking about the importance of the O6:O3 ratio and the harms of getting O6 from foods. Based on other statements he's written more recently, I infer that he's more concerned with the absolute amount of O3 we eat and just eliminating O6 from industrial seed oils. I wish he'd update the main article you link to so his readers would have some explicit guidance.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on November 03, 2012
at 10:42 AM

I just read this whole article, plus comments. Very helpful, and especially enlightening to me as a vegan. Thanks for sharing.

0
0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on November 01, 2012
at 02:39 PM

Thank you everyone. I was confused about this because I use cronometer and thought people might have been using the percentages thing as a metric to measure their omegas ratio.

Another noob question: Does actual quantity of O-6/O-3 matter at all? As in, I could have mega high or mega low amounts of each as long as the ratio is balanced? Can anyone link a good noob-friendly introductory article on this stuff? Cheers.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on November 01, 2012
at 02:54 PM

It matters, yes. PUFA are very easy to oxidize, so some experts say that you should keep your total intake down. Overloading with O-3 won't compensate for eating too much O-6, especially if you're still eating industrial oils. http://paleozonenutrition.com/2011/05/10/omega-6-and-3-in-nuts-oils-meat-and-fish-tools-to-get-it-right/

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!