Omega 3 and 6 Oils
Omega-3 fats found in fish oil and cod liver oil have been found to be essential for human health. The typical American consumes far too many omega-6 fats in their diet whole not getting enough Omega-3. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1.
A large part of our health, physical and mental, is related to the types of fatty acids that make up our cells and tissues. In a study conducted on over 48,000 U.S. men for 14 years, 26 percent were less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer.
Another fact that was discovered is that when it came to alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, men were about twice as likely as those with the lowest intakes to develop advanced prostate cancer. Like the two fish-oil based fats, ALA is an omega-3 unsaturated fatty acid. However, it is found in vegetable sources such as soybeans, canola oil, walnuts and flaxseed, and to a lesser extent in meat and dairy products. It was also noted that the risks were increased regardless of whether the ALA came from vegetable or animal sources.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fats found fish appear to provide the most benefits. Fish based fats contain 2 fatty acids critical to human health, DHA and EPA. Studies have shown that these acids play a role in preventing heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. DHA play an important part in human brain activity. Low DHA levels have been linked to depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's. Studies have also shown that there is a link between inadequate intake of these omega-3 fats in pregnant women and premature birth and low birth weight. These studies have also shown a possible link to hyperactivity in children.
Research has also pointed to the important role these acids play in maintaining proper kidney function, as do the omega-3 fatty acids. The kidneys play a prominent role in maintaining blood pressure.
Fats provide the kidneys with two important functions, energy and cushioning. It has been shown that kidney fat normally has a higher concentration of the important saturated fatty acids. These saturated fatty acids are myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. When are diet consists of various polyunsaturated fatty acids in large amounts they replace these fatty acids at the expense of oleic acid.
Test rats prone to strokes and high blood pressure have been shown to have a shortened life span when fed improper oils. It was reported that feeding oils high in omega-6 fatty acids without omega-3 fatty acids resulted in renal injury, and that feeding oils rich in the omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil, perilla oil, and flaxseed oil prolonged the survival time of this animal.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- Suarez et al, Lipids 1996;31:345; Taugbol and Saarem, Acta Vet Scand 1995;36:93
- Miyazaki et al, Biochim Biophys Acta 2000;1483:101