Omega-3 and omega-6
The balance between omega-3 and omega-6 acids is a determining factor in physical and mental well-being.
Homo Sapiens probably appeared first around the great lakes in East Africa, and at that time, when the brain of early man was forming and developing, his diet was perfectly balanced between omega-3 and omega-6 acids (and was also low in saturated fats).
The theory is that this balance allowed the brain membranes to develop with exactly the right flexibility and fluidity to conduct messages between neurones.
Today in the West, the ratio of omega-3 acids to omega-6 in the diet is weighted 1:10 in favour of omega-6 - to up to 1:25 in some areas. In addition, our diet is very rich in saturated fats like butter and animal fats that are solid at room temperature. When our bodies absorb these less mobile fats, the cell membranes lose flexibility and this can affect the way they work.
Finally, the proportion of omega-3 to omega-6 acids has a profound influence on all the body's inflammatory responses. The results of a number of scientific studies suggest that omega-3 acids contribute to measuring and restricting inflammatory symptoms, whereas omega-6 acids (and saturated fats) give free range to inflammatory responses and amplify allergic reactions. (Simopoulos, 2002)
It is very important that a lack of balance in the essential fatty acids is corrected by eating them in the right proportion.
For proper functioning, a 4:1 ratio of omega-6 acids to omega-3 acids is generally considered the optimum.
|Disturbing the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 can change the way the body functions and encourage some pathological states. In the same way, a diet with the optimal 4:1 ratio of omega-6/omega-3 seem to help prevent these pathologies.|