Matrix Nutrition’s James Pickering gives us the low down on the world of Omega
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential fats; we need them to build healthy cells, maintain brain function and protect against heart disease.
But unfortunately, our bodies can’t produce them, we need to get them through food.
The benefits of omega fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial to the human body as they reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as enhance brain and joint function. They also have muscle-building and fat-loss properties, which is ideal for athletes.
Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential in our diet, and help skin and hair grow, maintain bone health and regulate metabolism. However, if you chomp down on a standard western diet, chances are you’re already getting plenty of omega-6 by way of vegetable oils and grain fed meat.
Getting the ratios right
Generally speaking, we lack omega-3, and have enough, or in some cases, too much omega-6 in our diet. When this ratio gets higher than 4:1, it can be very dangerous.
Consistently eating a diet that is higher in omega-6 to omega-3 can cause a host of unwanted side effects such as prevention of growth and recovery. Sadly most western diets are higher than the dangerous 4:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, instead we should aim for a ratio of roughly 1:1.
A good dosage for your omega-3’s from fish oil is about 4-5g everyday split between two or three doses of 1-3g a piece.
And omega-9 fats
Omega-9 fats are not essential fatty acids – meaning your body can produce them on their own. Not only this but omega-9’s are also found in olive oil and vegetable oil which are commonplace in western diets and as such supplementing with omega-9 fatty acids may not be necessary.
Supplement the necessary
In a nutshell you should supplement what your diet lacks. Most diets will lack omega-3 but be relatively high in omega-6, so why supplement it? My advice is to skip the omega-6 supplementation and focus on supplementing with omega-3’s in the form of fish oils.