What is the importance of the proportion of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids?

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

Western diets are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids and have excessive amounts of omega 6 fatty acids compared to the diet in which humans evolved and their genetic patterns have been established. Excessive amounts of omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a very high proportion of omega 6/omega 3, as is found in western diets today, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Proportion of omega 6/omega 3 fatty acids

Western diets have the ratio of omega 6/omega 3 from 15/1 to 16.7/1. Agribusiness and modern agriculture have led to reductions in omega-3 fatty acids and increases in omega-6 fatty acids. Such practices led to excessive amounts of omega 6 fatty acids, disrupting balance. Therefore, the increase in omega 6 food intake changes the physiological state to a prothrombotic, pro-constrictor and pro-inflammatory state.

Many of the chronic conditions, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, obesity, autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and depression, are associated with increased production of thromboxane A2 (TXA2), leukotrien B4 (LTB4), IL-1, IL-6, tumor necrosis (TNF) and C-reactive protein. All these factors may increase due to the increase in omega 6 fatty acid intake and in the reduction of omega 3 fatty acid intake. The optimal dose or ratio of omega 6/omega 3 ranges from 1/1 to 4/1 depending on the disease.

Studies show that the diet when balanced in omega 6/omega 3 decreases the dose of the drug. This is therefore essential to decrease omega 6 intake by increasing omega 3 in the prevention and management of chronic diseases. In addition, the balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids is very important for homeotase and normal development. The amount of omega 6 to omega 3 is an important determinant of health. Therefore, its ideal proportion corresponds to about 2/1 consistent with the recommended intake.


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Omega 3 and Omega 6
: Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79. doi: 10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00253-6. PMID: 12442909.

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