How Too Much Omega-6 and Not Enough Omega-3 Is Making Us Sick
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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. So on reading all these articles and spending a good deal of time on the subjects, and thinking how informative they are, I now read on the blog below that the information is incorrect quite majorly on the N6 Omegas. Sigh !! So what is the truth here. Its seems to be absolutely impossible to get reliable information these days. Too many people making too much money. So is Omega 6 important or toxic? Omega 3 is good or bad, from fish, not from fish. Disappointing to say the least. The people reading these blogs care what is written and so did I, and now I am questioning everything you have written Chris. Update your site so our time, which is as precious as yours, is not wasted.

    • You ideally (on a DNA level) want to be in balance at a 1:1 ratio. The world health organization says we should be 5:1 at max. Most Americans (%83) are 25:1 or higher. 16% of Americans average 12:1 and those are the ones one omegas 3 supplements. Our intake of omega 6 is off the scales and can easily be balanced byou including a high intake of omega 3. There are a lot of products out there but most have been proven not to work very well due to the fact that most fish oils are rancid.
      Stat healthy and keep researching. It’s great to know more.

  2. I’m wondering why The Microbiome Diet by Hellman recommends sunflower seed butter and oil given it’s high omega 6’s and no omega 3’s?

    • Completely agree with your comment. Noticed the same confusing and seemingly sketchy recommendation regarding Sunflower oil too… So many of these articles seem to be pushing a product based on greed and hidden agenda vs, non-contradicting health facts and honest product recommendations!

    • Your intestinal microbiome needs complex carbohydrates, especially in form of fiber. Oil does nothing for your microbiome. If you want to build up a healthy gut flora, you should focus on fiber-rich leafy greens, inulin-rich veggies like chicory and onions, and fermented foods with living lactobacillus cultures such as sauerkraut (raw and non-pasteurized) or kimchi.

  3. I am looking at giving my autistic daughter omega oils. I am looking at the Nordic Naturals CLO which contains 1050mg omega 3 (autistic kids recommended dose for 60lbs = 600-1800mg omega 3). The research I read said about 1/4 much omega 6, although from what you are saying this seems inaccurate. Therefore would it be safe to give her the My Kind Organics D3 (she would need 5 sprays to get her recommended dose of D3) which would mean 1000mg Omega 6 in the form of organic pumpkin seed and cranberry seed oils? Thanks for your help.

    • Anything below an omega-6 to 3 ratio of 5:1 is healthy compared to the mainstream diet, which is closer to 16:1. It’s almost impossible to reach the 1:1 ratio of our distant ancestors. You’d have to eat like the Inuit, the only modern day population that comes close to this ratio. The best modern diet in terms of n-6 and n-3 balance is the seafood-rich Japanese diet with a ratio of 4:1. Incidentally, Japan is the country with the highest life expectancy. I think if you get close to a 4:1 ratio, you’re in the green zone.

      • That is such an interesting comment. I totally agree. I’ve been logging my food intake on Cron-o-meter, and I eat a lowish carb, high fat, moderate protein diet and include sardines for another source of omega-3. I do not eat any oils, refined carbs or packaged/refined/processed foods. I have never been able to achieve the 1:1 ratio recommended. Today, for example, I’ve eaten 4.0g omega-3 and 9.3g omega-6. That’s a ratio of 1:2.3 if I’ve calculated that properly (I’m a bit of a dunce when it comes to math, so maybe it’s wrong)?? Anyway, the utopia that is 1:1 would be, as you say, almost impossible to achieve daily, consistently or even at all.

    • Have you ever looked into ZinZino? It has done wonders! I would highly recommend giving it a try!

  4. You say that “Throughout 4-5 million years of hominid evolution, diets were abundant in seafood and other sources of omega-3”

    What about the large population groups that lived and still live large distances from the oceans, or even rivers?

    • …and what about crappy American farmed fish that are raised on a wholly unnatural diet of grains and banned in other countries?…

        • YES! Farmers are feeding farmed fish grain, such as corn…..It’s unnatural and terrible for us and the fish (or other animal). Corn is being used to feed almost every livestock because it #1 Fattens you up and #2 Is CHEAP…..

        • The point of fish farming is size and weight not the impact it will have as a natural food source on people. So they feed the fish whatever will make them the biggest and fattest over time. Same goes for livestock and chickens. Many cows barely make it to market they are so diseased. The diet they get makes them that way and it makes us that way too. Makes sense doesn’t it.

    • They ate meat rather than seafood. The thing is, the omega-6 to 3 ratio in meat varies dramatically even within the same species depending on the n-6 to 3 ratio of an animal’s diet. Venison, meat from grass-fed cattle and free-range poultry is higher in n-3 than n-6. With corn-fed livestock, it’s exactly the other way around. That’s why meat only exacerbates the problem nowadays, unless you can afford to buy grass-fed beef and non-grain fed free-range chicken.

      • I agree about the cattle, but I’m not sure about the chickens. I mean, isn’t the natural diet of a chicken bugs AND seeds (omnivores)? And, just a thought, if an animal’s biological diet includes seeds, and we eat a chicken that has consumed seeds as PART of its natural diet (so, I guess we’d be talking about free-range birds only), then the mechanisms in the bird, the way they process those seeds may not render it as harmful as, say, a steer raised solely on grains? Just a thought. I don’t know anything much, I’m just thinking out loud. What do you think?

        Btw, I’ve lost 43.6 kilos over the last year going lowish-carb (under 100g daily), cutting out all refined sugar and highly processed foods, grains, nut and seed oils. Just saying because I’m tickled about it. Still blows me away! I’ve about another 15 kilos or so to lose. But I really don’t know because I can’t remember ever being this light before, so not sure what my goal will be (but I’ll know when I get there :o) ).

      • Many more within a population’s succumbed to infant mortality, infectious diseases, and early death from fighting and predators. So yes, average age of death was low. However, there were still many individuals that reached old age, and the important point is that they had a more healthy older age (healthful longevity) than we do today.

  5. The conspiracy theory about big pharma is unnecessary.

    Its supply amd demand.
    Peiple want to eat like ahot and take a pill to reduce inflamation.
    Besides is their a direct correlation between say arthritis and omega 6 amd 3 fatty acids?

    • This cannot be true. I’m from Ukraine and they specially emphasize on consuming sunflower oil which is above 70% LA, and always did. It’s well known that in Ukraine they have wide sunflower farms and that’s one of the reasons (I’m speaking as a citizen, what I hear on the street and the news in the real life). Actually, doctors recommend the sunflower oil. In addition, I personally don’t trust any fact coming out from Ukraine because of the enormous corruption issues.

    • what it actually says is . . .
      “nations in the former Soviet Union, particularly Ukraine, had the highest rates of heart-disease deaths related to low consumption of heart-protective omega-6 polyunsaturated fat”

      this is almost certainly an error
      Please check the original paper before quoting an abstract
      Can you review this please

    • sorry mr Dr Jeff …
      I cannot find any research or even speculative reports by any organisation authoritative or casual that would support your claim above about the Ukraine.

  6. I’ve read that avocados are high in omega 6. Are avocados safe to eat for people who have inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis?

    • One should always keep a balance in his nutrition, specially when choosing or making up diet yourself.
      Omega acids are essential, be sure to recheck any program before using it.

      • Yes, so far it looks like omega 3 & 6 fats & oils in a balance/ratio of 1:1 seems to be the sweet spot based on a lot of studies. (Oh & tell everyone to stay away from all HYDROGENATED fats & oils…they are evil!) It really should be no surprise that science is finding out moderation is key! Those who are Biblical Scholars (not necessarily religious) will tell you moderation is not a NEW concept and that Moderation in all things was handed down from on high for a very good reason… To help, not to hurt! 😉

  7. The fact that this article doesn’t even mention coconut oil, I won’t share it on any social media because it is glaringly incomplete. Pity.

    • A late response but nevertheless, coconut oil isn’t polyunsaturated. Therefore it’s negligible to quote it when discussing Omega 3 & Omega 6. Much the same as the author not mentioning raspberries.

      • Dear Dr.Jeff

        May I ask you to explain me how fish oil become wrong?

        Human body does not accept ALA so it should convert ALA (Omega-3 from plant oils) to EPA & DHA. Conversation ratio is less than 5%.
        Marine food is rich with EPA & DHA with the same lipid names.
        So as we eat more marine food (fish oil, krill oil, finest supplements, etc.) we get more EPA & DHA. And there are so much articles with tables where shown that marine food is much more with EPA and DHA.
        Of course another story is how to get those EPA and DHA to our cells as without good antioxidants it is immpossible, but please. In my opinion you are like going against the current of all scientists in this area.

        And have a great day to you!

      • I made the mistake of clicking on your name which makes me think that you’re just a bot from that site just because you don’t want people to eat or use animals doesn’t make your vegan pill any better than snake oil. What a charlatan you are. I can’t believe people after clicking your link can actually be that naive to believe anything you post. I originally thought to ready your opinion until I say you site was just pushing vegan based products that probably have little or no use what so ever.

        • Did you actually read the comments Marie it looks like you’re making a mound out of a comment on a WHOLE food not a derived vegetable oil. Marie have you even read the other comments. His change in opinion did not say walnut OIL it said whole walnuts quiet a difference. How many walnuts would you have to eat to get a quarter of a teaspoon of walnut oil?

  8. In Chris’ other article “how-much-omega-3-is-enough-that-depends-on-omega-6”, you might notice in the comments my frustration that Chris says one thing, and then if you look far down in the comments, he says that he is changing his opinion since he wrote these articles.

    If his opinion is changing then he should change or pull the articles or at minimum, put a little note at the top of each one, stating which points his opinions are evolving since the article was written.

    He pushes everyone in one direction. It’s only the people who troll through all the comments that find out that even he doesn’t entirely believe what he says.

    You can particularly see this in the discussion of damaged omega 6s vs healthy whole food omega 6s, olive oil, etc.

    He seems to write these sensational headlines which pulls people researching the topic to his site and then only a few people find out that in reality doesn’t fully believe everything he has written.

    Just for further reference, here is a quote from Chris which is buried deep in the comments below, that I believe should be put added as a new addendum note at the top of his articles
    “omega 6 in their natural state most often are found beneficial. e.g. look at the studies with nuts , almost every study finds benefits of nut consumption, and most nuts are much higher in omega 6 than omega 3.
    most studies that found omega 6 are harmfull, are done with damaged omega 6, which are added to various foods, spreads etc. These omega 6 are heated, partially hydrogenized, so no wonder their consumption is associated is with diseases. However, omega 6 in their natural state most often are found beneficial.
    IÕve changed my view somewhat on omega-6 from natural sources since writing this article. I think itÕs somewhat unlikely that n-6 from walnuts would cause harm, and of course nuts and seeds have health benefits as you pointed out. Walnuts are also quite high in n-3, which probably explains their effect on arterial flexibility.
    Yes, there is quite a bit of conflicting research on the n-6:n-3 ratio. I may need to revise this article based on what IÕve been reading lately, but the jury is still out.”

    It must be tough to keep articles current. A quick addendum note added at the top of the article would be more fair to readers and do the job.

    • Thanks Mary.

      I completely agree. The lack of management from this perspective leads to confusion and worst-case poor decisions.

      It is a serious problem for authors like Chris who write about complex topics that are in flux with changing knowledge.

      Even your solution has its own issues. It would be ideal to have a “live” document which allows one to understand the current position of the author, with the ability to see the historical evolution.

      Unfortunately, I think Chris’s most prolific work was during his education. Now that he practices, he no longer has the time to be as effective and present in this community.

      • Thanks for your thoughts.

        It’s frustrating to do all this reading and then after digging deep down in the comments find out, oops ….. all this is slightly wrong.

        • Here’s an article pointing to recent studies showing that over concern on the 3-6 hypothesis isn’t completely right.

          I am not a scientist but I have a common sense gut feel that the comments below stating they have to cut out healthy foods rich in omega 6 because they need to reduce this value to get some theoretical balance right just doesn’t pass the smell test for me and in a few years science will say oops… and go the other way again.

          For example, some comments below are getting deep into the math and talking about cutting out nuts, which I think are very good for you. Also other things like modest amount of avocado.

          I believe the problem is mainly with damaged seed oils at high heat and feeding grain to animals that eat grass, which are obviously unhealthy.

          I believe people should keep eating healthy omega 6 foods in reasonable amounts.

    • I’ve been vegan for years, relying on chia, flax, and walnuts for omega-3s. Reading about alarmingly low conversion rates to EPA and DHA has me sadly considering adding salmon and omega-3 eggs to my diet. I would hate to do so but risking Alzheimer’s would be unfair to my spouse and children.

      After reading several articles, is it safe to assume that avoidance of inflammatory-causing foods allows increased bio-availability of plant-based omega-3s?

      • Don’t worry about conversion rates. It is a common misperception, even among scientists who should really know better. Millions of years of evolution would not have made a silly mistake. The body can speed up conversion if needed, but in reality, we need far less of the longer chain Omega-3 than has been commonly thought. Stick to your plant-based Omega’s. You’ll be fine and so will your kids.

    • Marie, Science changes, the world is not flat, since you seem to claim that Chris did a 180 proof it what he stated was the eating a WHOLE FOOD not a vegetable oil was probably good for you. You are basing your argument on a non-issue. When people read your quote they are thinking is she crazy? Unless of course you’re selling Snake Oil like “Dr. Jeff”.

      Do you know what the difference is between God and a Doctor? God doesn’t go around trying to prove he is a Doctor.

  9. Seems like a moderator needs to step in and shut Dr. Jeff down. This is the problem with non-moderated posting. Now every person that visits this page will conflate Kresser’s hard earned reputation with this ass-clowns dubious product.

    Dr. Jeff, please provide a link to:

    1. Definitive studies which have established which isomer(s) of 18:2 linoleic acid are the holy grail of health.

    2. The evidence that your product actually contains the “magical” unadulterated form(s) of linoleic acid that we so desperately need.

    Also, why doesn’t the omega 6 content of cold pressed high quality oils like EVOO and canola oil etc. adequately meet our dietary needs?

    My favorite sucker line on your site….. “Fact: Oxygen turns oil rancid” Lol.

    I must admit, you have invested virtually nothing in your website (and I would be willing to bet in your actual product), but have managed to craft enough language to convince a gullible person that the garbage you are hawking actually has any value. There is a special place in hell for people of your ilk.

    I suggest to anyone reading this thread that this is a complex topic which requires a great deal of effort to even begin to understand.

    For example, there is a evidence that the ratio of omega 6/3 may not matter for those who have a diet rich in pre-made EPA/DHA (fish).

    You can start with the following link.

    Now learn how to use Google. It is your friend. Go check out someone like Stephan Guynet’s site and read what he has to say about polyunsaturated fats.

    Then Google Dr. Jeff Matheson and check out what he has to say about polyunsaturated fats. You will notice that there is nothing of substance. Just marketing material. Quite embarrassing.

    Consider this a valuable lesson in critical thinking in the age of the internet.

    • Well to answer question 1, I would hope your biochemistry background taught you that only the cis,cis form of LA exists in natural substances, as to question 2, the process is a patented, cold-pressed process done under a nitrogen blanket to ensure non-oxidized product. Every batch is tested for per-oxidization.

      The topic is less complex than you think if you realize that 95% of LA stays in its native form and is incorporated directly into cell membranes, they do not go down the fatty acid pathways. It’s the big picture versus the small picture story here. We’ve been inundated with pathway features of fatty acid metabolism, failing to realize that’s it’s a small component of what cells do.

      Cold pressed canola is certainly available but it is a GMO product and EVOO is an Omega-9 product, containing little of the 2 essential fatty acids.

      And I’ve never said the ratio is most important, the sourcing is most important.

      If you are going to make comments on this board, you are free to do so but get your science correct.

      • Here is a little lesson in science Jeff:

        1. Your statement that cold pressed canola is a gmo product is a certifiably false. 1 TEASPOON of the following will provide 839 milligrams of cis-cis form LA for 10 pennies.

        2. In order to get the equivalent amount of LA from your supplementary product you would have to take 4 capsules at the grand total price of 2 dollars, assuming you were on the subscription plan.

        3. 10 Cents versus 2 dollars, how does that calculate in the world of “science”?

        4. Heck, 1 ounce of steam treated California almonds give you everything you need with 3.5 grams of LA.

        5. You did not address my 2nd question. I don’t care about your “magical” patented process. Give the readers here a link to the evidence that a reputable 3rd party has verified that your product does indeed contain ~100% pure cis-cis LA.

        Class dismissed,

        • From the Canola Council of Canada It explicitly states that canola is a GMO product. “Canola was developed using traditional plant breeding techniques, so it was not developed using biotechnology. However, about 80% of the canola grown in Canada has now been modified using biotechnology to make it tolerant to some herbicides. Using these specific herbicides has reduced the amount of chemical needed for weed control in the fields”

          The rest of your points are not relevant as most oils are heat processed, destroying their Omega content. All one has to do is try it.

          The product is tested by Health Canada and has an NPN number, which is not a requirement in the USA.

          • I am a software developer with a degree in Biochemistry. I have zero financial interest in anything except my own software company.

            Spectrum’s canola oil is cold pressed and non-GMO certified.

            Steam treated almonds are just one of many natural whole foods which more than provide our daily requirement of LA. It is far cheaper than your supplement, and it is a whole food. You do not refute this, because you can’t.

            Again, and this is getting repetitive, please provide a link from Health Canada or any reputable 3rd party which provides a verifiable analysis of the content of your supplement.

            I think it is pretty telling that the only thing apparent from your nutrition label is that 2 capsules contains 2 grams of fat.

            How do you sleep at night?

            • It is hard to have a cogent discussion with you as you already have an opinion, but yes almonds are a good source of Omega’s in the right ratio, too bad California where most of them come from is going dry. And don’t heat them, it damages the fats.

              BTW, my patients who do supplement sleep much better than before.

              I hope the world is a better place because of your software and I bet you do not give it away for free.

          • Please “Dr.” Jeff, – Could you consider to bring your marketing and spam elsewhere?

        • I looked at this product, it is sold as a cooking oil. Very dangerous to heat oils with high Omega-3 and 6 content, should only be used raw.

            • If it’s so great, why don’t you see bags of canola seeds for sale? The myrosinase enzyme will make it taste like wasabi, probably not what you want in mayonnaise.

        • BTW, if it is cold pressed, how do they deactivate the myrosinase enzyme which creates toxic products as a defines against herbivores? Usually the canola seeds are cooked to prevent this, which would damage the Omega content. I tell all my patients to avoid canola oil but maybe there is something I don’t know.

        • BTW, if it is cold pressed, how do they deactivate the myrosinase enzyme which creates toxic products as a defence against herbivores? Usually the canola seeds are cooked to prevent this, which would damage the Omega content. I tell all my patients to avoid canola oil but maybe there is something I don’t know.

    • Thank you, much it was obvious to anyone reading Chris’s post that he did not completely turn around the article was about oils, not whole foods. If high omega 6 content were the only thing wrong with vegetable oils I might be tempted to use them.

  10. I don’t know if anyone is reading these old comments, least of all, Chris, but I have been abstaining from nuts seeds grains and legumes (AIP for SLE) for 3-4 years now and have been having a recurrence of at times, severe eczema. It suddenly dawned on me that I might be needing *some* Omega 6. It is an *essential* fatty acid after all. So I would love to hear an informed opinion on this and a suggestion of what would be the best way to bring a little Omega 6 back into my diet to see if that helps my eczema.

    • Omega-6 is far more important than you think, that’s why it’s essential and it is exactly the 18 carbon, plant based one you are currently excluding in your diet. Eczema is the result of this as there is no Omega-3 in the skin, it is all Omega-6. I supplement with it (click on my name for website) but there are lots of ways to get it, just make sure you avoid the processed oils that kill the Omega-6, canola, soy and corn oils are the worst.

      • Thanks Jeff

        I’m in Australia so easier to get some oils here. But I appreciate your input. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this much sooner! What does your “Dr” stand for? What Kind of doctor are you?

  11. I recently read an article about the multiple benefits and uses for coconut oil. It also indicated 4 oils to avoid, specifically canola, rapeseed, sunflower, and safflower I believe. It exposed the dangers of utilizing these other oils. Are you aware of this article and could you help me locate it. I feel it would be great beneficial to our readers as well. Thank you.

    • Yes, Omega 6 is important. We just need a balance between Omega-6 and Omega-3. There is also one Omega-6 (GLA) that is anti-inflammatory and benefits skin. Try taking a GLA supplement from Borage seed oil or Evening Primrose oil.

  12. Hi Chris
    My husband and I are looking at formula milk for babies and they all seem to have omega 3 & 6 in them. We are concerned about the omega 6. Is it dangerous in later life and will we be putting our children at risk of heart disease due to the intake of omega 6 ?

    • Hold on there, the essential Omega-6 is the 18 carbon, plant based version and is NOT dangerous but ESSENTIAL. Do not underfeed your child essential Omega-6, that is highly dangerous. Just google Omega-6 deficiencies and you will see how important it is for humans.

      • Omega 6 is not bad for you, if it isn’t prosessed too much, – it is in almost everything you eat anyway, so no need to stress much about it, one way or another. But making sure your omega 3 intake is good enough, is crusial. In your case, no need to worry.

  13. I noticed in one of your comments you recommend to stay away from statins. I have hypothyroidism and my cholesterol normally runs between 300 and 400. After taking the statins it has come down to below 200. Can my cholesterol be controlled by diet alone? I am now worried about what the statins may be doing to my body.

    • You are holding the rope of the journey that will get you to old ages that you will be having ten medications ( the least numbers) at the breakfast table. Let go of that rope and start the journey of make yourself healthy with traditional approach that was natural. One place to start is

    • Susan, after eating a paleo diet for about three months, I was able to get off my statins. Good luck!

  14. I take 1200 mg a day of Evening Primrose Oil. It completely gets rid of my fibercystic breast pain. Is it doing me harm? Also my son has Pyroluria disorder and is recommended he take 2000 mg of Omega 6 daily for the disorder. Can you advise on this subject?

    Thank you.

    • The daily dose of unadulterated Omega-6 should be 3000 mg a day. Your son will come to no harm and you can safely increase your dose.

  15. I am so confused. I have many problems from NF 1, high b/p, arthiritis, a 3x cancer survivor and now IBS. Recently read an article about the benefits of Hemp Oil. I got myself some and it contains 185mg Omega-3, 535mg Omega- 6 & 105mg Omega-9 (9?). Please advise, after reading all of these things I’m wondering if I just wasted my $$ and just throw it in the trash!!

    • You have not wasted your money. The Omega ratio in hemp oil is correct, although hemp is not usually used in the diet. The Omega-9 is of no consequence. From what I’ve read, it is safe and could be very effective and well worth trying. You need at least 3 grams a day of the Omega-6, so take 6 doses a day, see what happens.

      • THANKS, I’ll do that. The IBS makes it almost impossible for me to eat right. My GP has me on D3 because my blood work showed I was very low, and he did comment that even though CHOL levels seemed fine, my TRIG levels seem to be slowly creeping up. He had nothing to offer but seeing a dietician. I get an annual checkup @ NIH sometime the end of June; they rarely are interested in these kind of supplements…but I have been feeling so tired and run down…I want back in the game! So if you’re interested in how this plays out, I’ll keep you posted.

        • I’ll be very interested. If you have IBS, I hope you’re gluten and dairy free (except butter is usually ok). Keep away from those statin medications as well, they cause havoc with muscles, brain function and your entire hormonal cascade (vitD3 is, in fact a hormone)

          • Thanks for being a Doc, and advicing against things like Statins. Some drugs are really horrible and unneccesary!

        • Hemp oil is a very good oil, not so much for the ala, but the gla. Some Ala is good, but as the convertion rate are poor at best, I would say the gla in hemp oil are more beneficial to you, when it comes to balance the fatty acids. Personally, I use a fishoil oliveoil mix, where the protection of the fat acids is being taken care of by polyphenols. Further, I sometimes take a bit of hempoil, – mixing it together with dark chocolate in my mouth – for the epicatetchin. One supplement on top of this provides me with quite a lot of more polyphenols, some vitamines and minerals, and something called beta-clucans. My diet and exersice regime are not regular or ideally in any respect, but my health at my age of 47 seem to be good for my age. Tests of cholestrol, triglycerids, fatty acid balance, confirms what I feel. I have strong faith that I will not be a very good customer of big pharma. Best of luck and health! Stian

        • if You have IBS get some good Probiotics to take and get a Fecal test done for parasites and change your diet as cancer treatments and antibiotics will cause IBS as can parasite that live in your gut or intestines. Look up H.Pylori and Blastocystis Hominis. These are 2 very nasty bugs than can kill you amongst other things !!

  16. Can anyone present som hard-to-argue-with logics why there has to be a 2:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6?

    For be that just sounds plain stupid. So far no one has ever provided evidence good enough for everyone to fall for this so called fact.

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