The human diet today is vastly different from that of our ancestors. For early mankind, hunting, fishing, and food gathering were imperative, and as a consequence, human beings evolved on “natural” foods. These foods supplied a diet that was low in total fat and saturated fat, but contained a balance of omega-6 and omega-3s, which are Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).
In the past, we have eaten foods containing omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of about 2:1. Over the last 50 years, we have increased our reliance on cereals, processed foods, and most significantly, vegetable oils and spreads, and decreased the consumption of oily fish and grass-fed meat. Because of this, our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is at least 10-20:1.
The modern Western diet is thereby deficient in marine sourced omega-3 fatty acids, throwing our optimal nutritional ratio out of balance.
Every area of the human body is susceptible to problems if the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is disrupted. The point at which this imbalance becomes a problem is not yet known, and in practice, will probably vary from person to person.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) provide energy, and their caloric value is similar to other fats and oils, but unlike saturated fats, they have important health roles. As their name suggests, they are essential and must be consumed daily because the body has limited storage for them.
It has been shown that omega-3 EFAs are involved in normal physiology including:
- Regulating bodily secretions and their viscosity
- Dilating or constricting blood vessels and in regulating blood pressure
- Regulating collateral circulation
- Directing endocrine hormones to their target cells
- Regulating smooth muscles and autonomic reflexes
- Being primary constituents of cell membranes
- Regulating the rate of cell division
- Maintaining the fluidity and rigidity of cell membranes
- Regulating the inflow and outflow of substances to and from cells
- Transporting oxygen from red blood cells to the tissues
- Maintaining proper kidney function and fluid balance
- Keeping saturated fats mobile in the blood stream
- Preventing blood cells from clumping together
- Mediating the release of inflammatory substances from cells that may trigger allergic conditions
- Regulating nerve transmission and communication
- Maintaining normal neurological function especially in the brain and retina
- Regulating the formation of new tissue with emphasis on growth and development (prenatal newborns , and beyond)
Thus, a diet deficient in Omega-3 EFAs may contribute to the onset of certain long-term degenerative illnesses or conditions. This deficiency is listed as the 8th leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States1.
1Danaei G, et al. The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors. PLos Med 2009;6(4).
In chronic illness, it has been shown that an increase in the omega-3 EFAs of marine origin can improve a range of conditions, both physical and mental. Research is continually producing positive findings supporting the use of omega-3s for a variety of health conditions.
Choosing the right omega-3 ensures you receive necessary nutrients for optimal relief of certain symptoms and overall well-being. Omega- 3’s rich in EPA and DHA in their natural triglyceride form provide an excellent natural approach to general wellness. PRN Physician Recommended Nutriceuticals® provides the purest, most therapeutically potent omega-3 based nutriceuticals possible. All of PRN’s omega-3 based products, when taken as recommended, deliver a therapeutic amount of omega-3 EPA and DHA as recommended by the American Heart Association.