How Too Much Omega-6 and Not Enough Omega-3 Is Making Us Sick

How Too Much Omega-6 and Not Enough Omega-3 Is Making Us Sick


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In the last article we discussed the problems humans have converting omega-3 (n-3) fats from plant sources, such as flax seeds and walnuts, to the longer chain derivatives EPA and DHA. Since EPA and DHA (especially DHA) are responsible for the benefits omega-3 fats provide, and since EPA and DHA are only available in significant amounts in seafood, it follows that we should be consuming seafood on a regular basis.

But how much is enough? What does the research literature tell us about the levels of EPA and DHA needed to prevent disease and ensure proper physiological function?

I’m going to answer this question in detail in the next article. But before I do that, I need to make a crucial point: the question of how much omega-3 to eat depends in large part on how much omega-6 we eat.

Over the course of human evolution there has been a dramatic change in the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats consumed in the diet. This change, perhaps more than any other dietary factor, has contributed to the epidemic of modern disease.

The historical ratio of omega-6 to omega-3

Throughout 4-5 million years of hominid evolution, diets were abundant in seafood and other sources of omega-3 long chain fatty acids (EPA & DHA), but relatively low in omega-6 seed oils.

Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1. It also indicates that both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers were free of the modern inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, that are the primary causes of death and morbidity today.

At the onset of the industrial revolution (about 140 years ago), there was a marked shift in the ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids in the diet. Consumption of n-6 fats increased at the expense of n-3 fats. This change was due to both the advent of the modern vegetable oil industry and the increased use of cereal grains as feed for domestic livestock (which in turn altered the fatty acid profile of meat that humans consumed).

The following chart lists the omega-6 and omega-3 content of various vegetable oils and foods:

efa content of oils

Vegetable oil consumption rose dramatically between the beginning and end of the 20th century, and this had an entirely predictable effect on the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the American diet. Between 1935 and 1939, the ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids was reported to be 8.4:1. From 1935 to 1985, this ratio increased to 10.3:1 (a 23% increase). Other calculations put the ratio as high as 12.4:1 in 1985. Today, estimates of the ratio range from an average of 10:1 to 20:1, with a ratio as high as 25:1 in some individuals.

In fact, Americans now get almost 20% of their calories from a single food source – soybean oil – with almost 9% of all calories from the omega-6 fat linoleic acid (LA) alone! (PDF)

This reveals that our average intake of n-6 fatty acids is between 10 and 25 times higher than evolutionary norms. The consequences of this dramatic shift cannot be overestimated.

Omega-6 competes with omega-3, and vice versa

As you may recall from the last article, n-6 and n-3 fatty acids compete for the same conversion enzymes. This means that the quantity of n-6 in the diet directly affects the conversion of n-3 ALA, found in plant foods, to long-chain n-3 EPA and DHA, which protect us from disease.

Several studies have shown that the biological availability and activity of n-6 fatty acids are inversely related to the concentration of of n-3 fatty acids in tissue. Studies have also shown that greater composition of EPA & DHA in membranes reduces the availability of AA for eicosanoid production. This is illustrated on the following graph, from a 1992 paper by Dr. William Landis:

percentage of n-6 and n-3 in tissue associated with

The graph shows the predicted concentration of n-6 in the tissue based on dietary intake of n-3. In the U.S. the average person’s tissue concentration of highly unsaturated n-6 fat is 75%.

Since we get close to 10% of our calories from n-6, our tissue contains about as much n-6 as it possibly could. This creates a very inflammatory environment and goes a long way towards explaining why 4 in 10 people who die in the U.S. each year die of heart disease.

(Note: the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 matters, but so does the total amount of each.)

In plain english, what this means is that the more omega-3 fat you eat, the less omega-6 will be available to the tissues to produce inflammation. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 is neutral. A diet with a lot of omega-6 and not much omega-3 will increase inflammation. A diet of a lot of omega-3 and not much omega-6 will reduce inflammation.

Big Pharma is well aware of the effect of n-6 on inflammation. In fact, the way over-the-counter and prescription NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin, Celebres, etc.) work is by reducing the formation of inflammatory compounds derived from n-6 fatty acids. (The same effect could be achieved by simply limiting dietary intake of n-6, as we will discuss below, but of course the drug companies don’t want you to know that. Less profit for them.)

As we discussed in the previous article, conversion of the short-chain n-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in plant foods like flax and walnut, to DHA is extremely poor in most people. Part of the reason for that is that diets high in n-6 LA inhibit conversion of ALA to DHA. For example, one study demonstrated that an increase of LA consumption from 15g/d to 30g/d decreases ALA to DHA conversion by 40%.

Death by vegetable oil

So what are the consequences to human health of an n-6:n-3 ratio that is up to 25 times higher than it should be?

The short answer is that elevated n-6 intakes are associated with an increase in all inflammatory diseases – which is to say virtually all diseases. The list includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
  • macular degeneration
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • asthma
  • cancer
  • psychiatric disorders
  • autoimmune diseases

The relationship between intake n-6 fats and cardiovascular mortality is particularly striking. The following chart, from an article entitled Eicosanoids and Ischemic Heart Disease by Stephan Guyenet, clearly illustrates the correlation between a rising intake of n-6 and increased mortality from heart disease:

landis graph of hufa and mortality

As you can see, the USA is right up there at the top with the highest intake of n-6 fat and the greatest risk of death from heart disease.

On the other hand, several clinical studies have shown that decreasing the n-6:n-3 ratio protects against chronic, degenerative diseases. One study showed that replacing corn oil with olive oil and canola oil to reach an n-6:n-3 ratio of 4:1 led to a 70% decrease in total mortality. That is no small difference.

Joseph Hibbeln, a researcher at the National Institute of Health (NIH) who has published several papers on n-3 and n-6 intakes, didn’t mince words when he commented on the rising intake of n-6 in a recent paper:

The increases in world LA consumption over the past century may be considered a very large uncontrolled experiment that may have contributed to increased societal burdens of aggression, depression and cardiovascular mortality.

And those are just the conditions we have the strongest evidence for. It’s likely that the increase in n-6 consumption has played an equally significant role in the rise of nearly every inflammatory disease. Since it is now known that inflammation is involved in nearly all diseases, including obesity and metabolic syndrome, it’s hard to overstate the negative effects of too much omega-6 fat.

In the next article we’ll discuss three different methods for determining healthy intakes of n-3 that take background intake of n-6 into account.


Join the conversation

  1. You can find these fats in a variety of sources, including spinach, mustard greens, wheat germ, walnuts, flaxseed (and flaxseed oil), soybean and canola oil, and even pumpkin seeds. But the very best source is fish.

    • That is actually not true, fish have 20 and 22 carbon fatty acids (mostly Omega-3) which are derivatives, soybean and canola are highly processed and adulterated and should never be eaten. The others are sources of 18 carbon Essential Fatty Acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 (and other non-essential fatty acids).

      • And, yet, just because rapeseed has to be processed does not, in an of itself, make canola oil just as awful as corn or safflower oil. If (the other) Chris’ data is correct here, Canola oil emerges as more balanced than most vegetable oils, although I suspect it still is not as good of a choice as olive oil.

        Nobody should be cooking with any vegetable oils, even olive oil: coconut oil and butter are far better choices, so is lard and tallow!! The former also have to be “processed”…but we just call that “churning” with butter 😉

        Getting omega3:6 ratio down to 1:1 (which is likely optimum) is very tough in our food environment, but not impossible. I just don’t see the need in villifying almost every single oil on the market: I think it ignores other aggravating circumstances, like excessive consumption of sugar, highly processed grains (and wheat of any processing level), and even too much consumption of carbohydrates in general (especially for the insulin resistant among us).

      • Dr. Jeff

        I was given this article which I find very interesting. So, I was a big believer that we need healthy Omega 3’s. So I purchased organic Omega 3’s. Then I met Dr. Matheson who represents . He was telling me, that our body needs Omega 6’s. He claims we need more Omega 6 than Omega 3’s. He went further and stated that many manufacturing company’s are pushing Omega 3 consumption because it brings in profits. You can view his website and information from the link above. He claims we are not getting the proper amount of organic Omega 6’s.
        What is your take on this?

        Thank you!

        • Hi Philip, it appears you are asking me to comment on myself, which, I admit, has never happened before. The real answer lies in how you feel and your performance taking the “right stuff” versus the “fish stuff”. Your body will give you the right answer.

  2. Hello everyone. I would just like to ask if walnuts are an acceptable source of omega 3’s in our diet? I have seen comments about conversion of ALA, DHA and EPA and I am not sure what to do? I know Chris mentioned on another thread about reviewing his thoughts about walnuts and omega 6 as the omega 6’s were in a more natural form and not processed, so I guess it’s just the conversion rate I am ‘concerned’ with. I am reluctant to go anywhere near fish/seafood because of the pollutants in our oceans and grass fed meat is too expensive for me (I also can’t be sure about lamb anymore as I read even this meat is not guaranteed to be 100% grass fed) Any help/advice would be much appreciated,
    thank you,

    • I think the benefits from eating seafood or fishoil by far outweights the drawback of pollutants, but I believe one should look for good quality products with low numbers of such pollutants.

  3. Hi Chris. You claim that “omega-6 is pro-inflammatory” but I don’t see how you support this with studies. You do provide studies that indicate that the more n-3 we consume, the less n-6 fatty acids we have in our tissues but what about the inflammatory effect? How do you prove this assertion? I would appreciate if you take a look at the following paper. It’s a systematic review of no less than 15 randomized control trials on the effect of omega-6 on markers of inflammation and the conclusion is that there’s no evidence that omega-6 causes inflammation. Does this paper change your mind? Can we say now that this whole omega-6 scare if just a myth?

    • Been saying this for years, all this nonsense about Omega-6 being bad is ridiculous. It is an ESSENTIAL Fatty Acid, we require it in large amounts. It is the processing that kills it, not the Omega-6 itself. Thank you for the article, I missed it in my readings somehow.

      • Jeff, I followed your writings in this thread. Very interesting stuff. Thanks for spreading the word.

        It would be interesting if some big paleo name would dare to answer you on this one.

  4. Hi Chris & co! I was wondering about my avocado craving (and sometimes binging!)… Normally I eat one avocado per day, just before taking my onehour morning walk on an otherwise empty stomach. But somedays the avocados are small and my hunger big so then I eat two before I go. And somedays I eat one in the afternoon as a snack. To sum up, there can be days when I eat four avocado. But the “normal” is two or three. However I eat herring every day, at least 200 grams, so I thought this might balance up… What’s your take on this? Cheers, Caroline

    • Ps I forgot to say I don’t eat any seed oils. I’m on a 100 % paleo diet since five years. Thanks!

  5. Dear Chris Kresser and other lovely members of that topic.

    I read this topic and went through all the comments.
    There are already so many things you do and believe. So many of you using different products and different diet. Discuss about so many articles and different problems you have.

    But seriously. There are easy way to make a simple dry blood-spot test for home sample collection which identifies levels of 11 fatty acids in the blood with 98% certainty. You will learn your blood levels of omega-3 and your ratio of omega 6:3 for balance, plus receive report to increase your health and dietary awareness. So you will get easy & correct answer. Does the product or diet you are using, gives you the results you are looking for.
    If I encourage you, Mr. Kresser, and all others who are looking for answers to accept this opportunity would you be willing to know how to make it?

    • I did just that, – one dry blood test, and got answers. I was not too bad, because I am generally interested in what I put in my mouth, but my ratio was about 6:1. I have made second test, waiting for result. Exiting to monitor the effects of what you eat, both food and supplements.

  6. Too little Omega-6 seems also to be a problem for me. I was getting none, or as little to that as possible. My oils came from fish, bovine, home rendered lard, and coconut oil. I supplemented for a while with Flax seed oil and then stopped, about seven months ago.

    My eczema (adult onset, age 55) became rampant a little over three months ago. The skin from my elbows and knees down, fell off.* The itch, dryness and sting was merciless. I was forced to return to chemicals but I used them sparingly for about ten days to get control. Then I stopped. (I would like to add that I mixed the cream 1-to-7 parts water. Shaking it thickened and I was able to apply very little cream extremely thinly. The rest of the container sits in the fridge for the next emergency.)
    * I water fasted 31 days over the winter holidays with no improvements to my skin. In early January I gave in and visited an MD.

    Now, with the addition of Sunflower oil and the re-addition of some Flax and chia seeds, and flax oil, my skin is improving. I use it on my skin and I imbibe it raw.

    I have quite a complex formula including full spectrum oils, MSM, Vitamin C and a small amount of alcohol, both of which are said to stimulate or enhance MSM; along with vitamins, minerals & other supplements recommended for the skin. I homogenise everything together with water in my juicer. I apply the oily mixture over every centimetre of my skin, and I also imbibe the same mix of supplements with my two daily paleo meals. The change has been spectacular; after almost four months of pain, this concoction has improved my skin considerably with noticeable improvements daily. Note: I also bath twice a day, after each meal, and then pat dry and immediately apply my concoction. My meals are designed to be skin enhancing using every possible skin beneficiary.

    Compared to other guys my age, 64, I have good skin, other than the problem of eczema, and very few wrinkles; but this could be due to genetics & diet.

    I suspect there is no one magic formula that works for all. Stress is also a definite factor in my skin problem: my stress comes from my eczema—they feed upon each other.
    Namaste and care,

  7. I’ve been scanning this blog for a couple hours and would like to make a comment. Approximately 15 years ago, small fatty deposits, (lipomas ?) began to form on the inside of my skin, mostly on my face. The only way i could remove them was to take a pointed knife or object and dig them out. I did this for a few years but they always returned. As a confirmed type 2 diabetic, my right eye had developed slight retinopathy and my legs below my knees began to feel cold even in warm weather. I struggle continually to maintain normal A1C and bg levels.

    A well known biochemist, whose name I cannot recall, recommended fish oil as a viable treatment for type 2 diabetics. He apparently, in co-ordination with medical personnel, successfully treated diabetic patients whose legs and feet were in various stages of necropsy and neuropathy.

    I began a daily regiment of 2000 mg fish oil a day for about 8-10 years and still use about 1000 mg a day. After a few years of fish oil, the fatty deposits completely disappeared; no more cold legs. My retinopathy has remained unchanged. There have been other beneficial results.

    Well, this hardly constitutes a scientific study, from a dietary and exercise view, fish oil is the only real change i have made in the past 15 years. At 70 years, I am often told I look 50. Recently, during an ultrasound examination of my legs, (checking for a blood clot which turned out to be a staph infection) I was told my veins appeared to be in very good condition. Fish oil to me appears to have remarkable medicinal value.

    • Hello George, thank you so much for making the post about Fish oils as a possible lipoma cure. If it’s ok with you I’d like to copy and paste your post on a lipoma blog to give the members something to research further. I’ve heard that fermented cod liver oil is supposed to be excellent. If you get a moment, could you let us know how many years before the fatty deposits resolved? You say ‘after a few years’, would this be about 3 years? Thanks again.

    • George, when you took 2,000 mg of fish oil a day, was that the amount of fish oil in the capsules, or was it 2,000 mg of DHA and EPA. From what I understand 1,000 mg of fish oil contains around 300 mg of DHA and 200 mg of EPA.

      Hence, I wondered if the 2,000 mg you took was fish oil, or the omega 3 content. Thanks. And I’m glad you’re in good health. Long may it continue.

      • Hi Marisa

        Here in the UK you would expect at least a combined 600mg per 1,000 capsule. A common one is 950mg per 1,360 capsule. A great practictioner with a couple of decades of dosage knowledge is Dr Barry Sears (of OmegaRX Zone fame). His maintenance dose is 2.5 grams of EPA+DHA combined (ratio 2:1). My concern with high doses is to stick to fish oils of a pharaceutical grade also NOT fish liver oils as these will have too much vitamin A. This is why I wrote this to you. It does not have to be guess work as you are seeking to have your Eicosanoid hormone system in balance and you can get a blood test to see where you are with omega 3 levels (also relative to omega 6 ) and then judge if you need to start with a higher dose, re-test and then go to the maintenance dose.

        • Thanks Paul. I had no idea about the maintenance dose of omega 3s. I’ve been trying to self-educate on nutrition and health for 7 years now and feel I’m just chipping away at the tip of an iceberg. I’ll heed your caution about excess Vitamin A. Thanks again.

        • Since you are from the UK, you may also be familiar with the work of Dr. Paul Clayton, which also advocates the importance of omega 3’s, and the balance. In addition to that, he speaks highly of polyphenols and beta-glucans. His books about these subjects are fascinating.

  8. I am taking Nordic naturals Complete omega and also 2 pills of evening primrose oil. Do you think Im getting too much 6? I eat a good diet w/ only oil oilve but do eat alot of Sunbutter, would that also be high in 6? I am trying to fix inflammation with my joints and my scalp.

    • Why Nordic Naturals? You don’t need fish fatty acids. The evening primrose oil is great. You can’t get too much Omega-6, we need and use lots of it, we need far less Omega-3, but it needs to be the 18 carbon version from plant sources, not the 20 and 22 carbon versions from fish.

      • Dear Dr Jeff
        Thank you for your comments. There are several different biochemical processes involved in your comments. Rather than choosing between omega 3 and 6 ratio and damaged / processed nutrient intake, both are important. Key processes are artificial trans fats, oxidised cholesterol, and omega 3 and 6. I would also add high sugar and high insulin. My reading agrees with the dangers of oxidised small dense LDL cholesterol which causes an immune response in arteries. Oxidised cholesterol can be consumed but it is also more likely to happen with excess sugar in the body as this glycates or damages the protein outer shell making it more prone to oxidation. The omega 3 and 6 and artificial trans fats is all about Eicosanoids which are the oldest hormone system of the body and the ‘command and control’ centre of the immune system. These vital hormones can only be made from long chain omega 3 and 6’s. We need both those made by omega 6 and omega 3. But too much omega 6 relative to omega 3 leads to too many of the pro inflammatory ones. Also two classes of Eicosanoid hormones called Resolvins and Protectin are made from long chain omega 3’s. Just google Harvard Medical School Resolvins for the centre of excellence on this. Many many drugs act on the Eicosanoid hormone system, it is well studied. Also conversion of short chained omega 3 (plant derived) is inefficient outside of the range of 6months old and child bearing age, hence breast milk is so rich in long chained omega 3. The Eicosanoid production is also messed up by artificial trans fats and by high insulin (sugar and carbohydrate intake). If the human studies also listed participants on drugs affecting the Eicosanoid system, (including statins) those overweight hence not balancing their insulin, and those eating artificial trans fats, then you would have great data to analyse. The biochemistry however is clear. Learn to eat without spiking your insulin, avoid artificial trans fats then the fish oils will work properly, and there is a great by-product – weight control.

        • That’s great but in real day to day terms, isn’t it better to put the 2 essential fatty acids in at the top of the cascade as mother nature intended and let the body balance itself, rather than forcing the issue with excessive amounts of derivatives that participate much lower in the cascade?

          • CAUTION. Red Flag!!!

            “Dr Jeff” Is trying to hawk his Supplements. Any respectful MD would not troll health forums and post his medical advice along with links to his website that sells the “cure” in supplement form.

            Disgusting! If you believe his advice, just consume whole flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. Eat some from fresh coconut and maybe a supplement a source of GLA or eat more oatmeal.

            Don’t buy a magical “proprietary” blend of “parent” essential fatty acids oils in capsule form. Eating capsules of oil multiple times a day is a joke for nutritional medical advice, unless your making a profit on selling those capsules.

      • Dr Jeff

        I have a green smoothie every morning. I used to make it using homemade organic almond milk.

        I didn’t overblend it and I didn’t strain it because I loved the partially unblended almonds and the thickness of the milk.

        Then I read that it isn’t good to have this too often because of the ratio of 2000:1 of omega 6 to 3 so I stopped using it.

        It now appears from what I’m reading on this blog that I can safely go back to using Almond milk.

        Is it safe to have this every day?

        I don’t eat processed food and only use organic coconut oil and olive oil.

      • That confuses me. Yes, we do need omega 6 in a fresh version of it, but the fishoils too. And as it doesn’t need to be converted, it is far more useful.

    • Stick with Nordic Naturals as part of a nutritious, wholefood diet. There is overwhelming evidence that we need to consume marine-derived omega-3s. Plant sources of n3 (e.g. from flax seeds) are next to useless because there is a multi-stage conversion process; the rate-limiting (initial) step from alpha-linolenic acid to stearidonic is highly ineffective; detracting further from this is the fact that there are several more steps before EPA and DHA are actually synthesised and the yield of omega-3s (5% EPA!!) is of negligible benefit. Professors Michael Crawford (Seafood Human Evolution & Health), John Stein and Dr Paul Clayton have excellent credentials as does Dr Stephan Guyenet.

    • Stick with Nordic Naturals to supplement a nutritious, wholefood diet. There is overwhelming evidence that we need to consume marine-derived omega-3s. Plant sources of n3 (e.g. from flax seeds) are next to useless because there is a multi-stage conversion process; the rate-limiting (initial) step from alpha-linolenic acid to stearidonic is highly ineffective; detracting further from this is the fact that there are several more steps before EPA and DHA are actually synthesised and the yield of omega-3s (5% EPA!!) is of negligible benefit. Professors Michael Crawford (Seafood Human Evolution & Health), John Stein and Dr Paul Clayton have excellent credentials as does Dr Stephan Guyenet.

      • You have a naive understanding of biochemistry, these are steady state reactions (as most processes are) so the rate of conversion means nothing. The reason so little is converted is because nature doesn’t want it converted. The overwhelming majority of Omega-6 and Omega-3 stays in its natural 18 carbon state and is incorporated into cell membranes. Why would nature after millions of years make us deficient of fish oils? It defies reason. As to the “experts” listed, try reading this,
        and none of them are biochemists and don’t understand how the human body really works.

      • I agree with you. What we can see today is that the ratio between omega3 and 6 is very different from how it was just a couple of generations ago. It seems also pretty clear that plantbased omega3 does not do the trick. Even many omega3 products don’t do the trick. Because of the quality of the product and the rest of the diet. I’ve read some from those you mention, along with others. I even read my own test-results, frequently monitoring how my inner life is doing.

  9. I really enjoyed your article. There’s one extraordinary statement that you make that I can’t find the reference for and I would love to have it if you can send it to me: “One study showed that replacing corn oil with olive oil and canola oil to reach an n-6:n-3 ratio of 4:1 led to a 70% decrease in total mortality.”

  10. We’ve really screwed up the Omega thing. It’s not the ratios that are important, it’s the fact that the processed Omega-6 (linoleic acid) from canola oil, soy oil or corn oil is highly dangerous. The processing changes it so it can’t absorb oxygen ( won’t rot on the shelf, in your salad dressing, potato chips, French fries), so when it gets into you cell membranes (especially the mitochondria), your cells can’t absorb oxygen either! This is very dangerous, leading to inflammation, heart disease and cancer. Just adding more Omega-3 is NOT the answer, you need a lot more unprocessed Omega-6 in your diet to compensate for the processed crap that we are getting. Again, it’s not ratios! On average, our body is 11:1 Omega-6 to Omega-3, 60 percent of the Omegas we consume ar used as fuel. We need a lot of fresh, unprocessed Omega-6 everyday, the Omega-3 is just not as important.

    • Hello Dr Jeff, just wondering if you’re a medical doctor (or whether it’s just a screen name) and whether the info you cite is based on research you’ve come across. If it’s true that the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 isn’t the issue, then this is really important. Could you post the names of any research articles stating that the issue is nothing to do with the ratios, please? I’m not issuing a challenge, by the way, I’m genuinely interested. I’m hoping to do a raw vegan diet next month (for bowel issues) and I don’t want to overdose on Omega 6, which I was worried about given all the nuts I’d have to eat to get enough protein. If it’s true that the ratio isn’t an issue, this would be a tremendous relief. Thanks.

        • Many thanks for your reply. After asking this question I clicked on your name and found your website. Thanks for the link to Brian Peskin, I’ll take a look. Just as a long shot – and I apologise if I’m out of order for asking here – but do you know anything about the cause and any natural cures for lipomas?

          • I should have added that one of the reasons I ask is because since lipomas are abnormal growths of fat, I wondered if any imbalance of fatty acids in the diet were responsible for them, or maybe an inability to digest/process fatty acids? Hence the link with Omega 6 and 3 link.

            • Well it’s interesting but my clinic manager used to get a lot of breast cysts and they have completely resolved. Can’t promise anything, but it won’t hurt.

        • Hmmm . . I’m not sure “Prof.” Peskin’s assertions that fish-derived n-3s are deleterious to human health will hold much water if he comes up against some serious academic clout (please see 2nd link below). As for the ‘very well researched and opinionated and he is correct about everything he says’ aspect, I’m afraid I would have to contest this vigorously!

          • Remember, it’s up to the fish oil industry to prove it’s good for us and that we suffer from “a fish oil deficiency”. Hardly seems likely given that they live in water and we don’t. Our physiology is totally different.

            • REMEMBER, the PUFAs in oily fish / fish oil should be consumed synergistically, as part of a comprehensive, protective diet . . not by loading up with it and perceiving it to be a magic bullet of sorts. The naysayers should prove their point, perhaps? “Hardly seems likely given that they live in water and we don’t. Our physiology is totally different.” Our physiology is utterly different from many things but they are still highly nutritious.

            • I function and feel better, taking n3 PUFAs, thanks. Have a look into Nutrishield Premium, a superbly researched and very well designed comprehensive supplement with an independently awarded and “stellar” ORAC rating. DHA and EPA included.

                • No need to imagine. Like I said, “I function and feel better, taking (the right stuff) n3 PUFAs, thanks. Have a look into Nutrishield Premium, a superbly researched and very well designed comprehensive supplement with an independently awarded and “stellar” ORAC rating. DHA and EPA included.

              • Nutrishield, one of the best looking products out there, I’m using something else, but very similar. I think the polyphenols are very important as well. But it’s a big big fight, as big parts of food industry and big pharma has built their system of bad diets, followed up with bad pills.

  11. It is too bad that opinions differ so much.

    1) There is not a clear statement what the ratio omega-3 to omega-6 should be. Some sai 3:1 others say something else.

    2) There is also no clarity about the amount of omega-3 per food source. We have taken a mean from several researches and made the following table:

    The important thing is that we all need enough omega-3 fatty acids and we need to get them preferably from our diet and only supplement when needed.

    Second of all we should be aware of our overall diet and avoid omega-6 rich foods.

    We also don’t need to know the whole anatomy of water to know it’s essential 😉 We should also go towards understanding that omega-3 fatty acids are essential.

    • I’m apoligise for my English!
      There are different claims about ratio in different countries or regions. Scandinavians going to 3:1, Japan 2:1 (of course), EU 5:1 & I think USA is 5:1 or better.
      When I talk with some of scientists in this area they recommend to keep ratio under 3:1 to keep cells fluidity and O3 level in blood around 8%.
      There are 75000 blood tests done in EU and USA on various type of people and just 5% is in balance no matter you are vegan, vegetarian, fish freak or like 🙂
      Average for US=25:1 & Average for EU=15:1 after first tests. What’s interesting India 27:1 …biggest vegeterian country in the world.

      I’m not a doctor but the point in my opinion is not the ratio claims in each country but to know your own ratio on today. So you know where you are and how bad it is 🙂
      Another question is how to get in balance as many nutritionists opines that it is almost immpossible to get in those 3:1 just with food and attempts are quite expensive for middle class. These times has passed with no return.

      P.S. Interesting is that in table of O3 level in various fishes krill does not appear. Why that?

      • About the results – the ratio in India, it is said to be much better in the countryside, but very bad in some cities. Some bad new habits with fast food in the cities, I would guess to blame.

    • It does say the ratio, 1:1

      I, for one, want to know why. I was taught who, what, where, when and why. I’d rather have too much info (if that’s possible) than not enough. Having a better understanding is more convincing.
      As for knowing what is in the food sources it really depends on the soil. There is no definitive answer for numbers with depleted nutrient soil. Not to mention what they fish may have in them.
      Something else interesting is the ratio of potassium vs sodium. Our diets are no where near the 4:1 ration. Then we wonder why there are so many kidney and heart problems. Yes, the heart works off a sodium potassium pump.
      Just a thought.

      • Balance is important in many ways. The potassium / sodium balance is just another, and good, reason to quit processed food. Wrong oils, wrong salts…. I eat some greens cointaining potassium, – most frequently avocados. I never measured how I am doing when it comes to that balance, – now you made me wanna do that.. 🙂

  12. re the coconut oil, one can determine if its natural or hydrogenated by its difference in setting ‘change of state’ temperature
    VCO is 24degC and hydrogenated is 36-40degC

    • Hi Douglas, the fatty acid content actually varies depending on where the oil was produced (and in the case of Canola, the effects of genetic engineering, which further alter the ratios). You’ll notice this if you read the labels of different brands of the same oil.

    • Canola oil is simply rapeseed oil that was specifically bred/engineered to remove a fatty acid which was believed to cause heart lesions. The sad fact is that it only causes lesions in rats. The study that made people think the fatty acid was unsafe was done on rats alone & not humans. Specifically breeding the plant to change it’s fatty acid complex likely screwed up the oil & made it far less healthy than natural rape & as previously mentioned means there are plenty of variables in canola now depending on the companies that produce them & where they’re sourced from.

  13. My understanding of omega 6 is that it causes inflammation which causes the body to use oxidized cholesterol to put a “bandaid” on the inflamed area forming a clot in the artery which in turn causes heart damage. I guess less intake of omega 6 oils would the “prescription”…

    • If that is the case, then why is Jamieson selling Omega 3-6-9 supplements? I’m now trying to determine if these are doing me more harm than good; i/e: If I should simply be taking Omega 3 supplements instead?

      • OK, Omega-6, 18 carbon, unadulterated source, called Linoleic Acid is involved in making PGE-1, the most potent anti-inflammatory in the body. It is adulterated Omega-6 from cooking oil that causes the deposition of oxidized cholesterol in the intima of the arterial wall. I don’t know why Jamison would sell Omega 3,6,9 as that is a derivative and not useful for the human body. We need a balance of 2.5 to 1, 18 carbon, plant-based or animals that eat plants (not fish) Omega-6 to Omega-3. When you try a supplement with this, you will be surprised at the results.

        • Dr.Jeff
          Quote: “We need a balance of 2.5 to 1, 18 carbon, plant-based or animals that eat plants (not fish) Omega-6 to Omega-3.”

          So you mentioned we do not need Om3 from fish oil.
          Could you please provide us with proven references of it as all I know that human (mammals) body can absorb only 5% of ALA. Women bit more. As I know fish oil (20, 22 carbon) with Poliphenols are best known combination to bring Omega 3 to our cells and bring body in balance. There are many studies about it and I know many good results of individuals who struggled before with skin problems, high blood pressure, lack of energy, migraine and allergies, asthma of youngest generations and children. Many of those problems are got far more better or gone.

          • OK, the 2 essential fatty acids are LA and ALA, they are 18 carbon, plant-based versions of Omega-6 and -3. They are very well (almost 100%) absorbed. The conversion rate into the derivatives of EPA/DHA is less than 2%, fish oil is predominantly DHA/EPA and is a physiologic overdose of these derivatives.

            • But what does all this mean in real terms? According to this website: adult males did not show a deficiency when they were consuming 13g of LA daily and 1.3g of ALA daily which appeared to provide 160mg of DHA + EPA + DPA (not sure if I’m interpreting the table properly). I have a bottle of cold pressed hemp seed oil in the fridge which states that it contains 52g of LA and 20g of ALA per 100ml of product. This presumably means that if a man consumes at least 25 ml (5 teaspoons) of hemp seed oil a day, he’ll be getting 13g of LA and 5g of ALA daily (enough to prevent deficiency according to the Australian government). But does this mean that less than 2% of the 13g of LA, and less than 2% of the 5g of ALA is converted by the body to provide 160mg of omega 6 and omega 3 combined? Moreover, is 160mg of Om6 and Om3 daily enough?

              • Hemp seed oil works because it has the proper 2.5 to 1 ratio of La to ALA in it. Remember the designation “Omega” refers to families of fatty acids, Omega-3 has the initial double bond at the 3rd carbon of the chain and Omega-6 has the initial double bond at the 6th carbon of the chain. The fatty acid can be 16, 18, 20, 22 or more carbons long but would be still called Omega-3 or Omega-6. The body only requires the 18 carbon Omega-6 and -3, it converts what it needs on an as needed basis only. DHA/EPA are derivatives, non-essential fatty acids that we do not need from our diet.

                • Thanks for all your replies Dr Jeff, I appreciate it … but, I thought you’d said previously that the ratio of LA (om6) to ALA (om3) we consume didn’t matter, as long as they weren’t oxidised?!?! In your post above you say that hemp seed oil works because the ratio of LA to ALA is correct.

                • If you really want to be precise, then the optimal ratio is 2.5 to 1 Omega-6 to Omega-3, but in pursuit of this ratio, we have gone crazy trying to up the Omega-3, leading to this fish oil craze, not realizing it was the wrong Omega-3 all along. The body has incredible tolerances for variety in the diet, don’t be too obsessed with proper ratios, it’s more important to get the processed, adulterated Omega’s out of our diet than trying to achieve a balance.

        • Just so we don’t confuse LA with GLA and anti inflammatory properties; GLA is metabolized to dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA), the immediate precursor of PGE1, an eicosanoid with known anti-inflammatory properties.

      • But what’s the problem with Jamieson selling Omega 3-6-9? If they’re cold-pressed, I understand why there’s an issue.

          • The Omega-3 is from fish (that’s the wrong source), borage oil has poor bioavailability of Omega-6, the flax is ok. Omega-9 is a non-essential fatty acid, so you don’t need it in a supplement.

            • Thanks for that. I’m not a fan of flax seed oil due to its phytoestrogens and phytate content.

            • I still don’t understand why fish oil is a ‘wrong’ source. I could understand it if you meant that fish oil supplements tend to be rancid and therefore are no different than the oxidised vegetable fats on the supermarket shelves. But I would have thought that consuming fresh oily fish was a good source of omega 3?

              • Fish oil contains non-essential, 20 and 22 carbon fatty acids. We don’t need it in our diet. We only need the 18 carbon, plant based versions that are essential (i.e. the body cannot make them). The vegetable oil on the shelf is highly processed, therefore destroying the Omega content, leading to the myriad of chronic health problems we see today.

              • Eating fatty fish does not have much benefit since most of the more unstable DHA/EPA of the fish will oxidize when cooked anyways, probably a good thing, because if you have too much EPA/DHA put into the system it causes a negative feedback loop, impairing production of PGE1, the most potent anti-inflammatory prostaglandin in the body.

                • This is really interesting, thanks so much for your contributions to these posts. I’ll have to do some more research into this. I’ve been eating fish oil pills like candy for the last 2 years. Someone else asks whether krill oil is in the same league as fish oil, I was wondering the same thing too.

                • Krill oil is less potent than fish oil but it’s still the wrong Omega’s. Also, krill would never be part of the human diet and they are incredibly cheap to raise and harvest, so in reality, it’s all about money.

                • Thanks for all the posts you made today Dr Jeff (Friday 6th Feb). I’ll be copying and pasting all your posts onto Word to research further. If the things you write are true, then it looks as though we’ve got the whole thing wrong. What a catastrophe. Thanks for sounding the wake-up call. I wish you every success and good health.

      • Until I started to take the Balance Oil I was sick and broken. My fatty acid test of Omega 6/3 ratio came up 19.7:1. Four month later I did control test and that ratio is 3.5:1. Not only my test rezults are much better, but my health is so improved…I feel like a new person. Not to bore you with long story, I will mention what improved. I had back problems that kept me going to chiropractor every other day (talk about expense). Now it’s gone. Sciatic nerve pain no longer bothers me. Lost 10 lb in three weeks. Wounds heal so quickly, it’s amazing. The biggest benefit to me is, I lost cravings for sweets. My skin also improved.

        My husband said I am much nicer to him ever since I started taking Omega 3. I feel that I can handle lives challenges better.

        No argument or article will ever change my opinion about how important Omega 3 is and that we can not get enough from the foods that are available and affordable. Of course I am talking about high quality, delicate Omega 3, that contains right antioxidant that may not be available at the stores. I am so happy someone told me about this:)

  14. So…the sunflower seed butter that my kids like is NOT a good substitute for nut butter sandwiches. My picky eaters love my home made walnut butter that I make with small amount of Brazil nuts, mostly walnuts, ground flaxseed and vanilla extract. They say it tastes like cookie dough which is good because we don’t do grain flours, However, they sometimes want variety and are always bugging me for peanut butter. I try to stay away from peanut (legume) butter, so cashew butter is one option and I thought sunflower seed butter would be a good option.
    Now, looking at this chart, I see there is NO omega 3 at all! What a disappointment! They like it too. Wonder if I should just add some ground flaxseed to it to offset the Omega 6.

  15. I have heard great things about coconut oil and how good it is for you. I have also heard nutritionists say otherwise. I have read that is it good for an average person to have about 2-3 tsp daily. It is also an oil that turns solid. SO….it is good or bad?!?!?! I am hoping good…since for generations and eons island people have used coconut in different forms and you don’t see a lot of unhealthy islanders.

    • Hi Trish,

      Re: your questions about coconut oil – it depends on the type you’re taking.

      • Coconut oil that has been hydrogenated is very bad or people.
      • Organic coconut oil (non-hydrogenated) is an excellent, heart-healthy food that also kills parasites
      • Nutritionists have been trained for decades that the ideal diet is low fat, high carb. Hundreds of studies have revealed that this is incorrect – such a diet is actually damaging. But nutritionists and dieticians are still trained in a mistaken idea, and can be very defensive about it.
      • “Turning solid” has to do with its melting point and doesn’t mean it’s bad. Coconut oil turns solid below 78 degrees fahrenheit. This means it’s always liquid in the human body, which tends to be around 98.6 (a temperature at which it is always liquid). Some solid oils, like hydrogenated fats, are bad for the body, but natural saturated fats like coconut oil are very good for people.
      • Also be aware that one reason coconut oil got a bad rep was because of a huge advertising campaign by the vegetable oil industry trying to equate it with heart disease (so they could sell us soy oil and corn oil as supposedly healthy substitutes). As you point out, most islanders, who eat a lot of coconut oil, are traditionally very healthy. Heart disease was unknown among them until coconut oil was replaced with sickly vegetable oils like corn and soy.

      • NIIs is correct. I want to add some more.
        Coconut oil is mostly saturated oil (<90%) and 6% mono-unsaturated fatty oil. Hydrogenation (adding more hydrogen) is done to make double bonded (chemical bond) mono unsaturated acids to saturated. This is mainly done in cosmetic industry.
        The advantage is that coconut oil is small chain fatty acids, the main component is just 12 carbon atoms. Whereas in Olive (Oleic fatty acid) has 18 Carbon atoms. What is the advantage? It is easy to break down a smaller fatty acid than a long fatty acid. So Coconut oil can easily digested, compared with other long chain mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids.
        Having said that, since coconut oil contains saturated fat, over consumption is not advised.

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