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Which ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is best?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 11, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Do you have a personal goal for the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in your total food intake? We know that the ratio in the SAD is so bad (perhaps 20 n-6 for each n-3) but what should be the target? I mean 1 to 1 seems quite unrealistic to me if you observe that eggs, meat, dairy, olive oil, almost every significant fat source is more loaded on n-6 than n-3 (with the only exception of fish and seafood) and therefore we are much more likely to be at a ratio of 3 to 1 or perhaps 2 to 1, but as I said before, do you have a target ratio, in terms of intake, and which ratio do you think is optimal?

F3fc2e0a9577e7e481a387d917904d1e

(1070)

on August 12, 2011
at 01:49 AM

I think that if you look at your n6/n3 ratio over the course of, say, a week it becomes easier to manage than if you try to balance it EVERY DAY. So say one day you have a bit more n-6 fats; you don't necessarily have to go overboard with n-3's to balance it THAT DAY, since that would just increase your total PUFA consumption. Maybe in the next day or two try to keep the n-6 low and have some salmon or a few extra fish oil capsules.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on August 12, 2011
at 12:22 AM

So would you go for a 1 to 1 ratio even at the cost of increasing your PUFA consumption? Because also having low PUFA is a goal, and often you would need to have extra fish to get really close to 1 to 1. I mean if your basic staple are ruminants meat (beef, etc) you are very likely to be on the 2 to 1 range should you aim closer to 1 to 1?

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on August 12, 2011
at 12:21 AM

So would you go for a 1 to 1 ratio even at the cost of increasing your PUFA consumption? Because also having low PUFA is a goal, and often you would need to have extra fish to get really close to 1 to 1. I mean if you basic staple are ruminnants meat (beef, etc) you are very likely to be on the 2 to 1 range should you aim closer to 1 to 1?

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on August 12, 2011
at 12:20 AM

So would you go for a 1 to 1 ratio even at the cost of increasing your PUFA consumption? Because also having low PUFA is a goal, and often you would need to have extra fish to get really close to 1 to 1. I mean if you basic staple are rumninants meat (beef, etc) you are very likely to be on the 2 to 1 range should you aim closer to 1 to 1?

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4 Answers

3
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on August 11, 2011
at 10:42 PM

As close to 1 to 1 as you can get......human studies show you can live well 2 to 1 all the way to 6 to 1. Some people need it lower if they have previously damaged their hypothalamus like the obese or the anorexics or bulemics

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on August 12, 2011
at 12:22 AM

So would you go for a 1 to 1 ratio even at the cost of increasing your PUFA consumption? Because also having low PUFA is a goal, and often you would need to have extra fish to get really close to 1 to 1. I mean if your basic staple are ruminants meat (beef, etc) you are very likely to be on the 2 to 1 range should you aim closer to 1 to 1?

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on August 12, 2011
at 12:20 AM

So would you go for a 1 to 1 ratio even at the cost of increasing your PUFA consumption? Because also having low PUFA is a goal, and often you would need to have extra fish to get really close to 1 to 1. I mean if you basic staple are rumninants meat (beef, etc) you are very likely to be on the 2 to 1 range should you aim closer to 1 to 1?

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on August 12, 2011
at 12:21 AM

So would you go for a 1 to 1 ratio even at the cost of increasing your PUFA consumption? Because also having low PUFA is a goal, and often you would need to have extra fish to get really close to 1 to 1. I mean if you basic staple are ruminnants meat (beef, etc) you are very likely to be on the 2 to 1 range should you aim closer to 1 to 1?

1
389b2d9a60883f68d40b29713817fe4a

on August 12, 2011
at 06:58 PM

If you consume a source of omega-3s, and not too many omega-6s at every meal, your enzymes will take care of the rest and you don't need to worry about absolute amounts of 6s or 3s or acheiving a 1:1 ratio. BTW, no one knows if that 1:1 ratio in the diet produces the healthiest outcomes. The idea that early humans consumed such a ratio is a guesstimate at best. The Japanese, with about a 4:1 ratio, have the longest life spans and lowest overall incidence of disease. B/c of the preference for omega-3s of our desaturase and elongase enzymes, that 4:1 ratio in the diet results in close to a 1:1 ratio of long chain PUFAS in the tissue.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 12, 2011
at 12:26 AM

My question exactly ignacio: should PUFA quantity be increased as the cost paid for a nearer to equal ratio of 0-fats? I asked this question previously today...no answers yet. At what level does 0-6 become significant assuming a 'skewed ratio'? How many grams? for the average person, etc.? ALso: how does anorexia damage the hypothalamus and why shoudl this incline people to equalize the ratio or up 0-3?

0
Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

on August 12, 2011
at 01:27 AM

It seems to me that this is a question for which the paleo-practice still does not have a good answer. The paleo-theory, I believe says: "as close to a 1 to 1 ratio as possible" and I would agree with that. But since this ratio is just one important goal, and we also have other goals, such as keeping a low PUFA intake overall, then the answer is not straightforward: If I am, say at a ratio of 2,5 omega 6 for each omega 3, should I INCREASE my consumption of fatty fish, RAISING my total PUFA in order to get to a ratio closer to 1 to 1? Would this make sense for everybody on paleo diet, for none, or just for those with a specific health condition? I hope someone corrects me and shows me some evidence one way or another. In the meantime I will keep thinking that we still do not have a good answer for this question, beyond that we should , at most, be at perhaps a 4 to 1 ratio of n-6 to n-3, but then in the range of less than 4 to 1, it looks like a personal choice for each of us, so far!

F3fc2e0a9577e7e481a387d917904d1e

(1070)

on August 12, 2011
at 01:49 AM

I think that if you look at your n6/n3 ratio over the course of, say, a week it becomes easier to manage than if you try to balance it EVERY DAY. So say one day you have a bit more n-6 fats; you don't necessarily have to go overboard with n-3's to balance it THAT DAY, since that would just increase your total PUFA consumption. Maybe in the next day or two try to keep the n-6 low and have some salmon or a few extra fish oil capsules.

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